With every whir of a drill, every slam of a hammer and every wire fence wrapped around a construction zone, MU’s history continues to be sculpted.
These changes are especially apparent when looking at a map from the 1914-1915 MU University Catalog.
The map, dated January 1914, shows a very different campus from the one Columbia knows today. It is undoubtedly smaller, an MU with 3,839 students instead of around 30,000.
The map divides campus into a main campus, a science quadrangle, horticultural grounds and a farm quadrangle.
Much of the rest of the space — namely, the unlabeled rectangles that pepper the areas between clusters of black blots that symbolize buildings — were not university owned property, said Kristopher Anstine, archives assistant at the University Archives.
The map shows a state farm where MU Health and the Student Health Center now stand, a golf course along Providence Road and a proposed lake roughly where Faurot Field is now located.
There are other, smaller changes that Anstine points out.
• “Jesse Hall didn’t have its current auditorium,” he said. “Tate Hall hadn’t been built, and the old law building eventually became part of Reynolds Journalism Institute.”
• At the time, there were only 19 buildings on what the map considers the “main campus,” including a medical building, an elementary school, a tool house, a power house, academic hall and a “new library” — the building not yet named Ellis Library, which Anstine said was finished sometime between 1914 and 1915.
• Perhaps most surprising to current students would be Lowry Mall, which looked nothing like the structure they walk today.
“It used to be a regular street,” Anstine said. “We have pictures from when Memorial Union was under construction, and you can see cars on the street.”
• Still, some buildings may be familiar: Jesse Hall, Pickard, and Switzler — the oldest academic building on campus — remain. The Residence on Francis Quadrangle, then called the President’s House, still stands much as it did in 1914.
“A lot of those buildings are still here, or are part of buildings that are here now,” Anstine said. “They’ve just added buildings and filled in spaces.”
Anstine, who attended the university in 1993 and returned in 2004 to finish his degree, said the changes to the campus — even within a decade — were jarring.
“The amount that it changed in ten years was substantial,” he said. “I had a hard time finding my way around.”
According to Anstine, those changes are noticed by others as well.
“We hear that from alumni, too,” he said. “They come back and they say, ‘that building is torn down, that one is added.’”
It appears, at least in part, to be part of the college campus circle of life: old buildings are torn down, while other features, like the construction the campus is undergoing now, are added.
“It’s sad to see some of those buildings get torn down,” Anstine said. “But some, you’re glad to see them go.”