Library–Museum (1881) SR
Linton Hall, November 2003. Photo Credit: Kevin S. Forsyth.
This building, the oldest on campus that survives in essentially its original form, was constructed in 1881. It was designed in the Romanesque style popular during the High Victorian era, and its elaborate façade with details in buff Indiana limestone and Michigan fieldstone makes it one of the most picturesque buildings on campus.
The Library–Museum originally served three purposes, being the administration building in addition to the library and museum. On the first floor, the President’s office was to the right of the entrance, the Secretary’s to the left, and the library occupied the east wing beyond. Above the front offices were a zoology lecture room and the laboratories and office of the Professor of Zoology. The floor above the library contained the natural history museum, which was illuminated by natural light from a large, windowed belvedere atop the east wing’s roof; it is partially visible in this picture beyond the twin chimney stacks.[Kuhn, p. 85]
Library–Museum, c. 1880s. Note the chimneys and the circle drive. Photo Credit: M.S.U. Archives.
As the College grew the library quickly overran this space, and a new Library was built in 1924. The museum and the President’s office also moved to the new Library, but after the zoology department moved out, the President returned here in 1938. An addition in the Collegiate Gothic style was built onto the back side of the Library–Museum in 1947. It is likely that at this time, the four ornate fireplace chimney stacks were lopped off, and the belvedere roof eliminated.
Once the offices of the President and the registrar returned in 1938, the Library–Museum was generally known as the Administration Building—until 1968, when the Hannah Administration Building was completed. The following year, it was renamed after Robert S. Linton (1893–1967, M.A.C. ’16), a “former registrar who worked for many years in this building.”[Minutes, 18 Jan 1968, p. 6031. Stanford, p. 61]
Originally, the circle drive was interior to the buildings surrounding the “sacred space,” and what we now know as Linton Hall, the Museum, and Morrill Hall all faced the drive. Between Linton Hall and the Museum is another construction that once stood along the drive: the gift of the Class of 1900.