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Introduction

Origins

The City

Collegeville (1887, 1895)
College Delta (1898, 1899)
Oakwood (1899)
Cedar Banks (1900)
College Grove (1903)
Fairview (1904, 1905)
College Heights (1904)

Charter of 1907

Avondale (1913)
Bungalow Knolls (1916)
Chesterfield Hills (1916)
Ardson (1919)
Ridgeley Park (1921)
Strathmore (1925)
Glen Cairn (1926)

The Campus

Chronology

1855–1870
1871–1885
1886–1900
1901–1915
1916–1927

 

Interactive Map

Sites on the National and State Historic Registers

Complete list of
Significant Structures

Sources

Faculty Row

The community that ultimately became the City of East Lansing got its start on campus, in the form of a row of brick “cottages” built to house the college’s professors and their families. A total of ten houses were built along what is now West Circle Drive, with an additional house just north of the row. The eleven houses were built in three phases.

The first phase was built in the summer of 1857, a few months after the first classes commenced. Four houses were built, three in a row and one across the lane; they were designed by F. J. Scott and R. W. Bunnell of Toledo, Ohio. Historians refer to these as № 4 through № 7, but for most of their existence they were simply known for the professions of their occupants.* Bricks for these houses were made out of clay dug from the banks of the Red Cedar and fired in a temporary kiln that stood in the hollow between the river and the west entrance road (about where West Circle and Beal Entrance meet today).[Minutes, 23 Jul 1857, p. 27]


Faculty Row, the early years. The President’s house (№ 7) is at left, facing №s 4–6 across the road. The one-story addition to № 7 was built in 1863. Photo Credit: M.S.U. Archives.


Clockwise from top left, №s 4, 5, 6, and 7, circa 1913. № 7’s front porch was “added much later.” Photo Credit: Beal, pp. 32–35.

The second phase of construction occurred in 1874, as the row was extended to the west by three more houses. All three were designed by famed Detroit architect Elijah E. Myers—creator of Michigan’s Capitol building, as well as those of Texas and Colorado. The fanciest and largest of these, a brick structure which we now call № 1, stood at the west end of the row on the present site of Gilchrist Hall and served as the President’s House from 1874 until 1915. The two smaller houses to the east were wood-framed and identical, built according to a single set of plans by Myers.[Minutes, 11 Nov 1873, p. 248]


Faculty Row № 1, late 1800s. Photo Credit: M.S.U. Archives.


№ 2, circa 1913. № 3 was “of same style.” Photo Credit: Beal, p. 78.

Over time the row was extended by three more houses to the east: № 8, designed by Watkins & Arnold, built in 1879; № 9, designed by William Appleyard, built in 1884; and № 10, also by Appleyard, built in 1885.[Minutes, 24 Jun 1879, p. 350; 11 Jun 1883, p. 436; 21 Apr 1885, pp. 470-471.]


Left to right, №s 8, 9 and 10, circa 1913. Photo Credit: Beal, p. 78.

An additional building, often overlooked because it stood north of the main row and was not given a number in Beal’s history, was built in 1884. This building was the college apiary prior to its conversion in 1893 into, appropriately enough, the residence of the Professor of Entomology.[Beal, p. 76. Kestenbaum, p. 117. 39th AR, p. 17]


“Dwelling for the Entomologist,” circa 1913. Photo Credit: Beal, p. 76.

Finally, Howard Terrace was built in 1888 at the east end of the row. This was a faculty residence hall “for use of small families.”[Beal, p. 87]

In his history of the campus park, Professor Harold Lautner reprinted a campus map and key from the college catalogue of 1899, which enumerated the houses as assigned to the following faculty members:

House
Map #
Occupant
№ 1
1
President
№ 2
2
Mathematics
№ 3
3
Zoology
№ 4
4
Mechanical Engineering
№ 5
5
Chemistry
№ 6
6
English
№ 7
7
Botany
8
№ 8
9
Agriculture
№ 9
10
Horticulture
№ 10
11
Secretary
12
13
Prof. Longyear (off campus)
14
Entomology
 
 
[Lautner, pp. 80–81]

By the dawn of the twentieth century, off-campus development had started to gain momentum, and there was no need for additional faculty housing to be built on campus. Faculty Row was gradually used for other purposes, and then almost totally obliterated. For example, the President’s house was converted into a dormitory for senior women in 1915, then housed the College Hospital from 1925 until 1939. From 1939 to 1946 it was a women’s cooperative house known as Alice B. Cowles Hall—a name later applied to Faculty Row № 7.[Minutes, 19 Oct 1939, p. 1553]


Faculty Row № 1, c. 1940s. Note the replacement windows and truncated chimney.
Photo Credit: M.S.U. Archives.

In 1919, № 9 made the first of two moves away from Faculty Row. In 1922 №s 2, 3 and 6 were vacated by their professors (H. K. Vedder, Civil Eng.; W. B. Barrows, Zoology; and W. W. Johnston, English) to be converted to housing for female students. E. A. Bessey and family moved to their new off-campus home from № 7, which was given over to Board Secretary Halladay, who vacated № 10. Also in 1922 Howard Terrace was demolished to make room for the Home Economics building.[Minutes, 12 Jul 1922, pp. 456, 546]

The Entomologist’s residence, “so closely guarded by trees… that many people who spent a long time on the Campus never knew of its existence,” was razed in 1926 to clear the site for the new Weather Bureau building now known as Wills House. [MSC Record, 31(25), 12 Apr 1926, p. 406]

When Robert Shaw was named the eleventh President of the College in 1928, he and his family moved from № 5 to № 2. Upon his retirement in 1941 President Emeritus Shaw and his wife May moved to a newly built home in Shaw Estates. № 2 became a women's cooperative house aptly named “Shaw House.”

In 1946, houses № 1 through № 5 were torn down and replaced with the West Circle residence halls of Gilchrist, Yakeley, and Landon. In its last year-and-a-half, № 3 had been used as the original International Center.[Thomas, p. 219]

№ 8, known as the “Taft house” after former resident Levi Taft, persisted in its position just west of the Union’s (original) south entrance until 1931. From 1921 on it was used as a Home Economics practice house.[Beal, p. 271. Minutes, 16 Oct 1931, p. 970. Kuhn, pp. 292-3. Physical Plant 1934 survey]

№ 10 was assigned to President David Friday during his brief term 1922–1923, then also became a Home Economics practice house. Somewhat confusingly, in later years it was labelled “Home Economics House No. 8,” and housed the H.E. nursery school. Although the south addition to the Union (completed 1949) does not occupy the site of № 10, which stood in the open space midway between the Union and Home Economics, it was removed by 1947 to accommodate the Union’s expansion.[Kuhn, p. 85. MSC Campus Map, 1942. Minutes, 21 Apr 1949, p. 2725. Dressel, p. 367. MSC Campus Map, 1947]

The final house to be demolished, № 6 survived until 1970, standing on the corner between Campbell and Landon halls. In 1922 it was given over to the M.A.C. Union, presumably until the memorial building could be completed, but was soon reassigned “to house student women.” That assignment also did not last long, as it became the President's house for Kenyon Butterfield’s term, 1924–1928. From 1946 to about 1957 it served as the International Center.[Thomas, p. 219. Smuckler, p. 27. Minutes, 19 Apr 1922, p. 534; 12 Jul 1922, p. 546; 15 Mar 1957, p. 3776. Kestenbaum, p. 3. MSC Campus Map, 1947]

Only Faculty Row № 7 remains on campus today, in much modified form, as Cowles House.