SPEAKER 1: This is a production of Cornell University.
SPEAKER 2: So when Carol and I first talked about making this presentation, she said she could talk for at least three hours. And I assure you that I could show you magic lantern slides from the early years of this campus for another three hours. So clearly, what you're going to get today is abbreviated version of the contents of our tool chest.
The-- I'm sure you all know Carol from her stalwart articles about local history that have been appearing in the Ithaca Journal since 1977, in conjunction with her work as Tompkins County Historian. The-- she's recently retired as senior lecturer in the Department of History after informing hundreds of Cornell students about the campus and its development and personalities have been associated with it. She retired a few years ago. But as I will indicate, she has not been inactive in her research.
Witness these publications-- Cornell, Glorious to View, published in 2003. First Person Cornell in 2006 to appear next February. Past and a Park and a Park, The Black Experience at Cornell. And from this postcard that I received from the history center this very evening-- this is still on, I trust-- this very County Historian Carol Kammen will discuss her new book, Jessica, A Brief History. A question and answer session will follow.
Today, Carol is going to start out here and talk about the early years of the campus, a vision that our founder and co-founder Ezra Cornell and Andrew D. White had for this campus. Carol Kammen.
CAROL KAMMEN: I hope you can hear me. Can you? It sounds weird from up here. When Gould suggested this, I did not say I knew enough for three hours. I knew enough for about 10 minutes, and I'm going to try to just give an introduction to what Gould's going to do. And Gould knows all sorts of things I don't know anything about.
But what I'd like to do is to talk really briefly about our two founders and their vision of what Cornell should be. Ezra Cornell was self-educated, had very little formal education. He wanted a university that would be open to poor boys because he believed they needed the opportunity that an education would bring them. So he was very interested in a practical education.
He was a practical man himself. Carl Becker said he said little, and that little dryly. And I think that's probably right. He was interested when he was-- when the campus was being discussed in buildings that would be utilitarian. What did students who were going to school need with frufras? He wanted utilitarian buildings. So I want you to think of Cascadilla Hall and Stone Row, sort of straight, solid buildings.
And his other concern was that the buildings would be fireproof. Because fire was the great danger to American colleges. Usually, an American college in the 19th century consisted of one building. And when it burned down, which about 400 did before the Civil War, the college disappeared. So he wanted fireproof buildings.
And you can go to McGraw Hall which was built in thirds, so that if you were the student living on the fourth floor of McGraw at one end and you wanted to visit your friend at the other end, you had to go all the way down the steps, outside, and then all the way up the other steps. Because that way, the building-- you would only lose a third of the building at a time. And so that was his idea.
He was-- Ezra Cornell I think was an admirable man, but his vision of what the buildings should be were practical. And I think that's the best word for it. Andrew Dickson White was a very different kind of person.
The university doesn't talk about White very much. The students all come here knowing about Ezra Cornell. They don't know much about White and they really should. It was White who wrote the charter for the university in 1865.
He was one of the most educated men in the United States. He had gone to Hobart College, graduated from Yale, had gone and attended a number of European universities. He had traveled widely. He was very influenced by the rise of the German Research University in the mid-part of the 19th century. And he was also a man looking for a great work for himself.
So along came the opportunity to create the Morrill Land Grant College for New York State, and this presented White with his platform. And White really shaped what Cornell became. He shaped it in terms of how radical it would be. And it was radical. He shaped it in terms of what it physically was going to look like, except for the utilitarian buildings that Ezra Cornell insisted on.
White, in his charter, created one of the landmark institutions in this country in terms of turning the American University away from a set curriculum, a university-- or college that would be open to men of some privilege with enough money to attend, or those who were going to become ministers. White opened up this university to persons. Persons meant men and women, people of all races, and people of all nationalities.
And all of these kinds of persons did come. And it's White's vision that did this. He also wanted the University to be a place of scholarship. He wanted exciting teachers. He didn't want teachers reading from a book and delivering material to the students. He wanted the teachers to be teaching from their own research, which immediately turns over the old model.
If you are teaching from a book and delivering information to students, the students are then expected to learn what you give them. If you are teaching from your own research, as you all know, you are excited about what you've done, to begin with. But in the second place, you are then pushing the boundaries of what White called, known knowledge, the stuff in books. He loved books. But he wanted us to continue to ask questions and to further knowledge.
And this was very important to him. And he thought the teaching would be better here. It also overturned the idea that the teacher knew everything, because he wasn't the only person who could ask questions. The students were invited into the whole enterprise of asking questions. This was very exciting. You all take for granted because that's the way you've all taught, but this was very exciting at the time. Which meant that we had a fairly-- a batch of fairly radical young professors who first came to Ithaca.
He also wanted the University to be non-sectarian, not bound to any religious faith. And White-- the other thing about White that was important is that he was a historian. He loved history. He loved the past. He loved tradition. And he wanted this University-- and this is something we don't talk about anymore. He wanted this University to be full of beauty.
He thought Yale was lacking in its practice-- lacking a poetical element. He said, Yale looked a little more than a bunch of barracks. He thought Brown and Harvard had put nothing on the campus for any other reason than utility. White believed that nature might nourish us, which it does. But that man's creative input, our artistic vision, that which we have fought and considered, mattered greatly. So he was a marvelous humanist.
He thought it was important to recognize and appreciate the earnest agency of human beings. That's a marvelous way of thinking about an educational institution. He wanted the University where the buildings would be inspirational and instructional in themselves. He wanted the students inspired by what they lived among. He wanted impressive stone buildings that echoed the greatness of the past.
So I want you to think in terms of White building on the original campus, Sage College, Sage Chapel, the white-- and the white mansion, which is today the Society for the Humanities. He wanted the place full of tracery, capitals, columns, and corbuls. Nothing could be more important or of more influence than beauty to the moral and intellectual instruction of students. This is sometimes something we forget.
He fought every trustee economy. There would be a building proposed. The trustees would say, well, let's take off this much of the money so we don't need all these extras. And White fought the trustees when they became Scrooge-like. He wanted a university that was more than a hard, dry, unattractive boxes. He thought beauty would uplift students. This is a very nice thought.
So White bought for the University portraits, casts of ancient statuary, models, books-- books. This university opened with a library of 35,000 books. I don't have figures for other libraries, but I know at the University of South Carolina, they had 300 books. They were all in the dining room of the President of the Library. You had to go in and sit in his dining room and read the books. We had 35,000 books. And from the beginning, the idea was the students would have access to all of this.
He also put in the stone bench that overlooks the valley. He installed the eddie gate, which was called Andy White's chocolate layer cake. He saw that the stone bridge over Cascadilla Creek would be beautiful. And you should go-- I know you've seen it. And I know you've walked over it. But you should go look at it. It's a beautiful bridge. We don't appreciate it enough.
He bought the Venetian stone wellhead that's outside of Sage College-- Sage Chapel right now. It's now covered over for the winter. But when they uncover it again, go look at it because there's a wonderful story attached to it. He thought it would be beautiful and he thought it would have a significance to the University.
He gave the University his vast architectural library, which was the best in the country. And in 1912 before he died, Andrew Dickson White saw to it that when Risley Hall was built, it would be built as the most beautiful building he could think of, echoing the past, but serving women, right? This was wonderful.
He wanted quadrangles and courtyards, and he brought in a landscape architect, even though the trustees said we couldn't afford it. White believed that our surroundings mattered. That we would be enriched by beauty. He recognized that some students wouldn't notice, but it didn't matter. It would still be beautiful, and it would rub off in some way.
And then he thought some students really would notice, and they would appreciate what had been done for them. But he thought it was very important that our surroundings-- that our surroundings would influence us to think more highly of ourselves and of our own endeavors. A nice way of thinking about a University that was going to overturn the old traditional ways.
In so many ways, Andrew Dickson White was revolutionary. And much of what is beautiful about this campus is beautiful because he wished it to be so. Now, it is my pleasure to introduce Gould to you. This is big introduction day for you. I have known Gould as long as you have, probably longer. And Gould really is Mr. Cornell. Not only because he has been university archivist, but because he has linked the alumni back to the University. And he's been very significant in creating the marvelous collections that we have in the library.
Gould oversaw the Department of Manuscripts in university archives, which is now called the Rare and somebody thing-- collection, which I never remember RCM or MC rare in manuscript collections, I'm sorry. And Gould saw to it that the alumni had the feeling that what they had collected, what they had created, was important to be brought here. And it's because of his effort with them that our archive is so very rich. So it's my pleasure to introduce Gould and his slides.
SPEAKER 2: Yeah. OK. Over to me.
CAROL KAMMEN: Deal with it worse than I do, don't you?
SPEAKER 2: And about the same, I think.
CAROL KAMMEN: There. OK. Got ya.
SPEAKER 2: So can you hear me out there? Carol is good to be reminded of all the good stuff that I've done back there. I'd sort of forgotten.
What I'm going to do is this point-- Bill, will you be time keeper on this? Because I really could show you magic lantern slides for three hours or longer. These are glass slides about 3 and 1/2 by three inches, either black and white or hand candid that were one of the principal teaching devices at this and other universities here from 1868 until about 1940.
Many professors, particularly in the sciences, had a set made by the University slide maker. As these were slides made by Mr. Troy. So let's see the first one. And this, of course, is Cascadella. Can we improve the focus a little? I think-- there we go. Well, this is a view right over here of the university pig pens on the present side of the parking garage and college town. Cascadella Hall has had a fire since 1868. It's the first building at the university.
It was there-- it had been a failed water cure establishment as Cornell was a trustee. And so they were able to latch onto this building for both instruction and living purposes. The faculty-- the initial faculty lived there during the president, along with a number of students.
This is the Cornell University. You'll notice down here this is the first Cornellian, and it was presented by the Secret Societies. For many years, that publication was managed by the fraternities and the sororities initially were called fraternities, I'll point out. The buildings you'll see faced west over the valley.
And if you look at this door right there in the center of McGraw, you'll see a mail slot. That-- no mail has gone in there since 1947 when I arrived as a freshman on the campus. But if you will go and examine it, you'll see this was obviously the front door of the university for Ezra Cornell. Not for Andrew D. White, who was very much inclined to want a quadrangle so that we would have a sort of an Oxford here in Ithaca.
And here is the university about 1869, one year after it opened, with South University, now known as Morrow, over here. North University and now White over there. The fence here is part of Ezra Cornell's farm, because you'll remember that it was a farm that Ezra Cornell gave to the university, along with a half million dollars and speculation in Western land that turned out to be very fortunate.
Notice the chimneys that have now been removed or truncated. This building was heated with stoves. The students obtained coal, which the university treasurer said was being provided at the lowest feasible cost. And they were also instructed about where to place the ashes. With a coal fire, there are often hot ashes and live coals. And they were to bring them down to a small building on this end of the-- right back in there so that they would not ignite a conflagration.
Well, here we are a few year-- here you can see the entire campus except for Cascadella Hall. Notice the position of the chapel-- of Sage Chapel, the really center. This was not only a building for religious services. It was a political statement about the importance of Christianity. White would remind listeners that about every occasion that this was a Christian University, non-denominational. Its true. And to the president of Princeton, being non-denominational was equivalent to being godless. But as you can see here on this view of the campus from about 1879 that this is by no means a godless institution.
This is Central Avenue running through the campus, really being central. The-- nothing as yet along West Avenue. That trees down there and a few houses along East Avenue. This is a temporary chemistry building, an engineering building, which has since been removed.
Over here is the end of Sibley Hall, just not the entire building but just the western portion of it, which is-- which still exists. If you have any questions along the line, by the way, just-- or complaints, just speak up.
SPEAKER 2: Yes.
AUDIENCE: One interesting thing you might verify, that the original buildings that Cornell built were actually-- stone was actually taken out of Libe Slope [INAUDIBLE]
SPEAKER 2: Only partially true. The foundation stone, that's right, came from a Libe Slope, and you can still see outcroppings there as you move down the hill. The-- many of the stones came from a quarry Medina. Medina's in Western New York between-- on the Erie Canal, which is very important, between Rochester and Buffalo. The stone quarry at Medina is located right next to the canal.
The stone was loaded there, brought by corner-- by Erie Canal by a barge down to Ithaca, and then hauled up the hill. And many of those on the upper part of the building had come from that source.
SPEAKER 2: Yes.
AUDIENCE: It's Carol over here. What was that little white house in the foreground?
SPEAKER 2: I'm not sure what that little white house was. I was going to do some research and didn't get around to it. So--
SPEAKER 2: Oh, you're right. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Babcock was the professor of architecture and he designed a number of the campus buildings, including Sage Hall and the chapel. In fact, you'll see a bust of him as you go in the south door of the chapel. And that was-- that's right. That was his house.
I might point out that this tower back about 30 years ago, a Cornell undergraduate came to me and told me-- asked me if it was true that a cow had been brought into the library tower and taken up to the top. And I said, well, why don't you get the measurements of a cow and then come back and tell me if it's true or not. And of course, once everyone has seen a cow up close, you know very well they're not going to be able to get it up the library tower.
That story is related to this much smaller tower, which has long since been removed from the Sage Chapel. And the Chapel, of course, have been expanded many times. This is a small version of the building that we see today.
OK. And here is the Sage College, although both Ezra Cornell and Andrew D. White favored co-education, perhaps White left so waiting to see which way the wind would blow, being the diplomatic type that he was. But very, very ornate building supplied by Henry W. Sage. Ezra Cornell's successor as chairman of the board of trustees.
This little structure up here, some of you will remember was not there for perhaps 20 some-- 20 years or so. During the Malott administration, if a roof leaked, the easiest thing to do was to remove the offending structure. So when this building was revisited to make it the management school, the local historical preservation authority insisted upon that steeple cap being replaced in order to approve the project. Yes.
AUDIENCE: Why was it removed?
SPEAKER 2: Because it cost something to repair it. The same is also true on Franklin Hall is that that's been replaced in more recent years. Malott was not strong on architectural niceties.
AUDIENCE: This tower blew over in '57, I think. And that's why they didn't put it back.
SPEAKER 2: Yeah, a wind storm got the-- got the better of it. Now, this is a view inside Sage to give you a sense of how attractive this must have been at the time. This would have been a ladies college. Women came in substantial numbers once this building was there. This portrait of Henry W. Sage, I don't know whether that's still in the building or not. It did grace that scene for many, many years. I remember seeing it there.
OK. Here's another view of Sage with East Avenue. You can see this is about, let's see, this is about 1880. And I included this slide to point out this conservatory that was attached to the building. The Department of Botany was also located in that building. And many of the early women graduate students concentrated on that subject, in part because of the quality of our faculty, and in part because of the excellent physical facilities that were attached to that building.
Now, if I could-- do we have the lights fully on? Because I don't want to give you the impression that the only Cornell campus facilities are above ground. Some of them are-- we have steam lines that connect our buildings, and water lines, and the electronic transmission lines. So does anybody care to see the end here.
Water pipes, somebody said. Hey. Well, this is a pipe that provided water to the building that you just saw, the Sage College. It was immersed in the front of Bay Hall when the street was being repaired during the 1880s. Many of the workmen knew what it was, and so I was invited to offer an opinion.
You'll see how this end is tapered, nicely tapered. Now, keep in mind that the object you're seeing was underground for over 100 years. And you can see that it's still in pretty good shape. And yet, I understand that our common council wants to replace water lines under the present city that are much younger than this.
So perhaps we should go back to these. One of the limitations, of course, is valves. Valves and Ts are pretty hard to arrange with this material.
AUDIENCE: Where is that stored now?
SPEAKER 2: This is-- we have-- in archives is not just paper documents. We have Ezra Cornell's wedding socks, among other things. This is in the archives.
SPEAKER 2: Yes.
AUDIENCE: What is that made out of?
SPEAKER 2: It's wood. It's a wooden pipe. Now, as to what kind of wood, it looks like cypress. That's a guess. But I could guess by the striations here in the wood.
AUDIENCE: Have any idea how they would have hollowed it out without breaking it?
SPEAKER 2: They had to drill-- a long, long drill that they drilled, and you could see it. Imagine, the water source was a reservoir, which is now located about where Bailey Hall is now. And there was that reservoir, by the way, when we had a typhoid epidemic in Ithaca about 1807. That the students who got their water from that reservoir did not get typhoid fever.
SPEAKER 2: 1903, yeah. What'd I say, 18? Century off. Yeah, so the-- but imagine a number of these it took to get from the reservoir down to Sage. Moving along. I since-- it's a rare member of the faculty who won't say that the faculty is the most important part of a university. I would have been remiss to omit this picture of the university faculty in 1885.
Being president of the university was a part-time job. President White right there was also a professor of history. This gentleman, the Reverend Wilson, started out as a professor of philosophy, but hardly anyone could understand him and students did not want to take his course so he was made university registrar. But his writing was so bad that you cannot tell what grades he or his students got.
Over here on this end-- let's-- can we-- can you move the projector so we can see this guy right there? That's James Oliver, professor of mathematics. And there's Lucian Wait, another professor of mathematics. Way up in the top-- let's see, way up that corner. Is it possible to move the projector enough to introduce Hiram Corson, professor of Anglo-Saxon literature. Here he comes. Here he comes. Not very fast but he is-- he's right-- he's right-- he's right up there. He would go around the country giving lectures at high school commencements and talk for two hours. Now, keep in mind there is no air conditioning then and people have little fans.
But apparently, he could keep his audience-- oh, here's Charles Babcock, speaking of the first professor of architecture and the architect for the Sage College right there. There he is. The older gentleman, the senior gentlemen, all have beards. Witness these guys, Andrew D. White and Professor Oliver. The younger chaps you'll see don't have. But none of them, I think, are totally hairless on their face. Just the mustache.
AUDIENCE: Gould, have you got any of the walking sticks, did they seem to have all of them as sort of a badge in your archives?
SPEAKER 2: You better go to the archives and find out, because we have a vast assortment of paddles at fraternity. They had a certain amount of brutality used to be involved in joining a fraternity, and there's a number of those paddles. There must be canes there, although I don't specifically remember them.
AUDIENCE: We have canes.
SPEAKER 2: Thank you. Thank you. Oh, of course, Liberty High Bailey's canes are there. He was a-- he enjoyed collecting canes. He was interested in the woods and then the design. What a guy. Let's see, oh, yeah, this is Lincoln Hall. So now we're up into the '80s now. This-- I wanted to include this slide because of the trees that are on what's now the Arts Quad.
The College of Agriculture at that time was a pretty small affair. It consisted of two barns and an office in Morro Hall. But it had not yet surrendered this territory here, what later became the Arts Quad. And you can see some of the university apple trees. The stone work looks very new. I think this was probably taken the year the building was opened.
Yeah, now we're up to about 1900. This is Boardman Hall, a law school, original law school, which was raised in 1958 in order to make room for Olin Library. This was quite a controverse-- campus controversy at the time, because this building was veru-- it was very attractive. This is where I studied history as a graduate student.
But its footprint, the-- was very inefficient. Apparently now, one needs to measure the footprint of a building and see how many units of product it can turn out. And there were great vaulted ceilings in many of those rooms that were beautiful to behold. But did not allow people to sit or stand in that space.
This is what I wanted to point out. This is a trolley car waiting there for the end of class. When classes ended, the students and faculty could get on there and go downtown. This was a spur that goes up to East Avenue. And then the trolley made a loop going over Trip Hammer Bridge and down through to the Stuart Avenue Bridge, and then back down to the train station.
And that operated until the 1930s.
AUDIENCE: How was it powered?
SPEAKER 2: It was powered by a plant in Fall Creek, which generated electricity, but sometimes the creek flow was insufficient to provide sufficient power. So it was also a coal fired boiler on that location. And if you look carefully on that location, you can still find pieces of coal from 100 years ago.
But now of course, we have some much superior public transportation system that's not just limited to the campus. And yes, they're good, but goes to the far reaches of Tompkins County and Schuyler County, Hank [INAUDIBLE] assures me.
OK. This is my favorite map of the campus. This is a map-- this is a map from 1895 where the campus has a north, south orientation. East avenue. Here, Central Avenue being central. Nothing along West Avenue as yet. These are all faculty houses that you see here that they had lifetime use of those structures. Here's President White's house right here.
Here's the reservoir that I spoke of earlier up there. The University barns, this is a barn that Dean Roberts designed. And the south barn. Let's see. Here is the new university library that we now call Uris Library and Boardman Hall. The three original buildings here.
I added this arrow to this map to point out the building labeled 64. Does anybody want to tell me what that building is?
SPEAKER 2: This one?
SPEAKER 2: What do you think it is?
SPEAKER 2: Well, that's a good try but you're 10 years off. Keep in mind that this map is 1895. So that points to a non-existent building that the-- that the trustees authorized. And then-- but would not appropriate money for. That-- the stipulation was, this was to be the building of the College of Agriculture that would put the agriculture right on the same campus as the sciences and humanities. Roberts felt that agriculture was regarded as a very second rate subject, and he wanted-- it was very important to him to have that building there.
The-- it was to be constructed. The trustee legislation stipulates that the money is to be saved from the Federal Hatch Act appropriation, which came to every land grant university since 1887. But there, of course, is no way that they could both use that to conduct research, which was the purpose of the act. And at the same time, build that very sizable building.
There-- this part was built first, actually, as a dairy industry building with a state appropriation. This was the first substantial state appropriation. And if you look carefully at the portico on the north side, which is still there, you can see a pipette, part of the Babcock test for butter fat content, which was the original means of determining the value of milk. Richer-- the greater the butter fat, the more valuable the milk. How times have changed.
What else can I tell you that's fun about this? This is Sage with a courtyard inside, which has since been eliminated.
SPEAKER 2: Yeah, that's right, the Statler is right here. One of those houses, by the way, was Liberty Hyde Bailey lived in one of them. I forget--
SPEAKER 2: Who did?
SPEAKER 2: Robert Cushman and government in one of them. Yeah, I didn't know that. Yeah, that's-- up here by the way is the College of Engineering. In the 19th century, most land grant universities were primarily colleges of engineering. And this is a big-- look at all of the construction up there. Some of those buildings have since been removed that were north-- that were between Shibley and the University Avenue.
Yeah, a lot of--
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] reservoir on the-- where did their water supply come from for the reservoir?
SPEAKER 2: From Fall Creek. It's almost a gravity-- the intake was up the creek a ways. And so that was the-- that was the source of the water, relatively uncontaminated at that time. Since then, there's been a few septic tank systems located along Fall Creek.
OK. Yeah, there's the Bailey. Can you bring the image down a little ways so we can see the signs above his head? This is a little door of Moral Hall where he's standing. A little further. Want to see that sign right there. Guess we're not going to make it.
One of these says the College of Agriculture, and it was not the New York State College of Agriculture then, but the Cornell College of Agriculture. And over on the other side is another similar sized plaque indicating the headquarters for the College of Forestry. We had a College of Forestry here until Cornell got in a slug fest with Syracuse University, which at that time was a Methodist University and had Methodist preachers supporting it all across the state.
And they thought their claim to the College of Forestry was superior to Cornell's. And guess where the College of Forestry is today? Liberty Hyde Bailey, by the way, was-- stood over six feet tall. Here's another image, which is not very clear. I just want to show-- yeah, this is Andrew D. White.
This is breaking ground for Robert Hall. And there they are. [? Baylor ?] is very colorful. Always dressed for the occasion, and every moment was an occasion for him. Remarkable. Remarkable. Remarkable actor, as well as a remarkable scholar and teacher.
And this just illustrates my last statement. This is marking out the foundation for the original Robert Hall that was raised 15, 20 years ago. And a large group of students are pulling the plow. And here's Bailey at the-- the idea of community. We use the word community rather lightly today. To Bailey, this was a really fundamental concept for an interest for a higher education.
And he wanted-- and in fact, he created-- it had a schoolhouse here on the campus. But I got ahead of my story. Let's move along to another slide here. Yeah, yeah, this one. Which is the College of Agriculture, the New York State College of Agriculture now, supported entirely by the State of New York, even accessory of structure. So that if a ag college student took English, the University would be reimbursed for those hours of instruction.
And this lasted up to about the 1950s. But here is-- this is Garden Avenue, and there is a garden after which it's named, which was adjacent to Bailey's School House. Bailey had a schoolhouse erected on campus, with the idea being that the older students-- this is coming back to the idea of community-- that the older students would instruct the younger students. He did-- Bailey did not like segregation, whether it was by gender.
So he did-- he was instrumental in introducing Home Economics, which was for a long time a women's college. And he wanted younger people-- college age people instructing younger people. So that-- but the university trustees would never let him open that school. And-- but this was a school garden, which later became part of the Department of Floraculture under the administration of Lua Minns. The garden has since been relocated.
But what I wanted to point out here is this street right here. You'll see Tower Road did not exist. The College of Agriculture had a separate entrance. And so when Bailey went to the campus, he would go right down here. The university-- the College of Agriculture had its own heating plant. Some of you will remember its remains where the state fleet was located until the 1960s.
It had its own payroll. Its own personnel office. It was very much a independent institution which has gradually been integrated with the rest of the campus. Now, I think the only place where New York State name appears in large letters is on the School of Industrial and Labor Relations-- New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
OK. Next one. I think we're out of focus here a little. This is a foundry, a scene in the foundry. At one time, both agriculture and engineering had manual labor requirements. You had to do something. You couldn't just sit in front of a computer. And so see each of these is a forge along the wall in the foundry, and the students here are making chains.
I take it this was about the time of World War I from the US here, which is-- they put it on the floor for the photographers. This is the head of the foundry there. A man, I've forgotten his name, he looks kind of self-satisfied there, doesn't he, for the-- in that picture. Yeah. Education has changed, all right.
OK. The next one. OK. This is about 1875. States College has just open, and this is the building over here. I am-- I want to call your attention. This is the University gymnasium. It's-- I mean, today we might think of that as a barn. But that is not a barn.
This-- Cornell had just done something amazing. The Intercollegiate Regatta has just-- had just been held at Saratoga. And this little university, which had only about 400 students, in fact, for the first 12 years. It never got over 600. And in 1880, it still had only 400 students.
This little tiny university had defeated Yale and Harvard at Saratoga whenever-- and it had existed only seven years. An amazing feat. And that is a triumphal arch that has been erected to welcome the crew home. According to Bishop's history, that arch says good boys. But I-- there's many, many more letters in it than that. I haven't-- I haven't been able to figure out just what it does say. But that's the-- that's what's going on there.
AUDIENCE: It's welcome home.
SPEAKER 2: Pardon?
AUDIENCE: It's welcome home.
SPEAKER 2: Oh, welcome-- is that what it is? You think-- are you sure it's welcome home? Or is that a guess?
SPEAKER 2: In any case, I said-- I think Bishop's history has got to be wrong, because that doesn't say good boys. Look at how-- look at that ornate. Here, this is the layer, those front steps on Sage Hall. Although, there you are, these vases have been truncated. Look at that hat. Wow wee, boy. A well-dressed young lady.
But you can see that some care went into landscaping at that time. And again, today. We went--
AUDIENCE: Is that facing-- Is that the parking lot by Sage?
SPEAKER 2: No, no, you're facing west. This is the front entrance to Sage.
AUDIENCE: Oh, OK.
SPEAKER 2: And this is south. This is central avenue, which at that time was known to Houston Street once you've got down to the edge of the campus.
AUDIENCE: Tell us again the date?
SPEAKER 2: 1875, very young campus.
OK, let's take another. Can you move the projector up a little so we can shoot Triphammer Falls here? This is a very early image of the end of the campus, showing Beebe Lake before the dam had been elevated to its present height. The was a structure as Ezra Cornell originally created by building that dam to impound Fall Creek.
This is before the hydraulic lab had been constructed. That was once a very important part of the College of Engineering, where research was done for the Panama Canal locks and of course now only remnants of it remain. But what I wanted to point out, and let's see if we can get it here, is there's a stairway that begins right here and there's is a walk that leads to it, and it goes back and forth down into the gorge. This was of an important part of the athletic provisions for the university.
Hiking was a big deal. It didn't cost anything, or very little, to support hiking. But that was the principal expense in order to support that phase of athletic activity.
This is on the Arts Quad, what's now the Arts Quad. We're looking back up toward where Oldham and Rockefeller Hall are, back on that hill. Here are various spectators. You can see various members of the faculty, students here, townspeople.
A real sense of community. It is said, in fact, that from this site that you see here, John Ollen-- the great John Ollen, a benefactor of Cornell and a number of other universities-- hit a baseball on this site that went all the way to Sage Chapel.
SPEAKER 2: Yeah.
SPEAKER 2: Isn't that part of Cornell history, Carol? You don't know that. Well, I mean, I don't know that it actually happened. But it's part of the historical record. And one student, in fact, wrote that he had picked up-- we have over 200 so-called stump books in the archives. This was before the kids had radios and could go to the movies. And they would produce stunts. They would make the costumes, write the script, invite their friends to see the thing, and act it.
And one of the students in one of those books has recorded having picked up that baseball that John Ollen hit. So that's pretty good evidence. I guess it's true. OK, moving along here.
This shows the Cornell skating rink on Beebe Lake. It wasn't until the '60s that we had an indoor rink.
SPEAKER 2: What year?
SPEAKER 2: '57. Until then, they had the competition on Beebe Lake. Now as you know, we often have winter thaws. At one time the opposing team would come by train. And so if the lake started to thaw, telegrams would go out to turn around and go back home until the lake refroze.
AUDIENCE: The goal, the lake originally built for power, right?
SPEAKER 2: Yes, to power the first dynamo, one of the first in the United States, electric dynamos was in Sibley College. It was operated by a water wheel down in Fall Creek, a rod that transmitted the power, turning rod up the hill to drive the generator. And that was powered by the water from Beebe Lake that is Ezra Cornell impounded. Now, the lake was much smaller then than it is today.
Ah, yes, here's another. I'm fascinated by this again. Again, the idea community and what's happened to it is something I think about quite often. This is a toboggan slide. The toboggan lodge is still along the lake where the toboggans were stored.
Here's a faculty member, obviously. You see students here. The critical position was this guy on the back. These were not everyday tobaggans. They were toboggans made just for that purpose. And each one had a little numbered plaque on it. They would hit the surface of the lake at about 50 miles an hour.
So the person on the back had to know what he was doing, otherwise once they got out on the open area of the lake they were likely to tip over. The age of litigation came on. There were injuries. I mean, it was almost inevitable that there would be injuries with a facility like that. And so about 1939 or '40 was the end of the toboggan slide.
I think we have it here. We'll show you how they got up there. So here's toboggan lodge, which is there today. And then you can see the stairway over here on this side and a platform up there. This is from where the tobaggans were launched.
We have a slide showing President Sherman, he was our longest serving president from what? 1893 to 1922. And he had apparently navigated that slide successfully and was standing down at the bottom of the lake when photographed, standing beside his toboggan. And obviously feeling pretty good about himself.
This is the football field at that time, which was down on the-- this is [INAUDIBLE] Hill in the background. The field was Percy Field downtown where the high school is now located. But I want to show you the football equipment.
You see, you'll notice the helmets that they're wearing. And very little padding. And there they go at it.
But is Cornell's, by far, largest sport that you see illustrated there. You see what's happening? This is downtown Ithaca. That's right, they're getting ready for a crew race. As you can see, a lot of people are there. Tickets were sold. The tickets were identified by the car and the seat that they would occupy within each car. Those trains were quite long.
This could be about 10 cars or so. Each one had a little platform on it with an announcer who would call the action. As the crew moved down the lake, the crew train would move parallel to the crew. There were similar facilities on the Hudson at Poughkeepsie and on the Connecticut River at Yale. So this was very much a spectator sport, and was by far the biggest deal in athletics in the 19th century.
AUDIENCE: Is that a wider than normal rail, gate?
SPEAKER 2: No, no that's the regular track, what was the Lehigh Valley track. I have to be careful speaking of railroads in Ithaca about was and is.
This is another athletic event. This is Spring Day, which used to be a huge activity on campus. This is a booth where they were probably trying to get people to spend their money to go inside. This was one of the means to finance any athletic program at that time, a Spring Day. The coaches were not paid by the university until the 1930s.
And it's interesting that once the universities started to pay the coaches the quality of our football team went down remarkably. It was, I think, in 1939 Cornell beat Ohio State, and pretty spectacularly. And this was all funded through Spring Day activities, students and faculty bought books of coupons, which provided admission to the various events. You have to think about progress here sometimes and how it works.
This is another annual event. This is McGraw Hall back here. The annual military review, which was held on that scene until-- somebody help me out, I remember it quite clearly. 1950s?
Well, what ended it-- I remember what ended it-- the architectural students, that college used to be headquartered in White Hall, on the top floor of White Hall. And some students somehow rigged a loudspeaker in the tree. And so when the colonel of the head of the ROTC start his speech, the students played "Blah, Blah, Blah in the Fuehrer's Face" on the loudspeaker.
And when the campus police ran-- I mean, it didn't take them long to figure out where the wires led-- the students had locked the door and they dumped water out of the top floor down on the campus police. But that was pretty minor stuff. But of course, as we all know, the student activity became more intense thereafter.
Oh, here, my guy, there's only a couple more here. OK, this is a map from 1924. And you can see that over here, it was the part of the campus that appeared that earlier 1895 map. The College of Engineering is still located up here at the north side.
But what has happened is that the whole university has moved to the east and west with the construction of Tower Road. Now, the College of Agriculture no longer has a separate entrance. Constituencies are developing down here, an athletic constituency.
Here, College of Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, right in here, Drill Hall. Of course this is now the ILR. But if you look over this building here, you'll see animals over the doorway. And sometimes students will ask, well, what are they doing there in that school anyhow? And it's hard to believe that they're training lawyers there with those animals over the door.
AUDIENCE: Gould, on that map, it also shows the New York State Veterinary College, I think it's still labelled as that on the new campus. You had said because the [INAUDIBLE] Relations was the only called New York State. I think the Veteran College also is New York State Veteran College.
SPEAKER 2: Yes, oh, thank you. Thank you, and the name is actually on the veterinary college, New York State.
AUDIENCE: I think so. [INAUDIBLE] is down there.
SPEAKER 2: OK, it's very prominently displayed on the ILR school. And I'm glad to know that it's on the vet college also. As you see, the reservoir is still intact in this right up there. At that time, some of you may remember that circle. Martha Van Rensselaer had her house back along that circle.
There are some barns that burned down in I think the 1950s. OK, [INAUDIBLE] asked me if I was going to show you any images of buildings that did not happen. This is one that did not happen. This was a proposed college of engineering. Cornell had fallen back in engineering, behind its competition. But between the 1920s and '30s.
So a new campus was designed. This one on the original site of the College of Engineering. You can see the three stone buildings, Morrow, McGraw, and White over here. Well, this would have involved considerable dislocation to tear down the existing buildings and replace them with that structure. So Professor Hollister, who was dean of Colleague of Engineering had the bright idea of moving the campus to the south end and moving the engineering college to the south side of the campus.
And by 1940, he had seized part of the sage green, lovely, beautiful area in order to construct Olin library, a chemistry building. That was there before the war. And opened the way for moving the rest of the college to that end of the campus.
And the other building which-- laugh If you will, this was a big campus controversy at the time. This was the alternative to Olin Library. See the idea was to build the existing library, just it was now the undergraduate library, Uris Library in the background. And built down the hill with this additions.
And see, this would have left Boardman Hall intact. But instead, the final decision was to tear down a very attractive building, which at that time how's the Department of History and Government and create a building that has little architectural merit. And so that's what we have.
We don't have that. Although there has since been an addition to the library that moves down the hill, but it's far less spectacular than what you see there. And I think that is a collection of slides that I have brought with me today.
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Gould P. Colman, Cornell University archivist from 1972 to 1995, and Carol Kammen, a noted local historian and lecturer in history at Cornell, discussed the physical development of the Cornell campus—both what happened and what did not happen—on December 4, 2008 in the Boyce Thompson Institute auditorium.
The event was part of the fall 2008 Cornell Association of Professors Emeriti (CAPE) Lecture Series. CAPE fosters a social and professional community among retired faculty and facilitates the use of their skills and knowledge with service opportunities both at Cornell and in the surrounding area.