This Day In Minneapolis History - Old Main ruins after the fire on September 24, 1904

Old Main The University’s first permanent building, Old Main, was erected in 1858 in the area now known as the knoll.

Six months after Old Main opened in 1858, hard economic times after the Panic of 1857 and the impending Civil War forced the school to close. Old Main became a refuge for squatters. A legislative committee that visited the building found a family living in it. The family became surly at having their privacy invaded. Turkeys were in one room, hay in another, and wood-splitting had ruined the floor in the central hall.

In 1867 the legislature voted $15,000 to repair the building and begin instruction in it. The governor signed this act, reorganizing the University, in February 1868.

Old Main was destroyed by fire Sept. 24, 1904. A plaque in front of Shevlin Hall on Pillsbury Drive marks the site of Old Main’s front door.

Photo via the Minnesota Historical Society, information found at University of Minnesota website.

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    Here are two drawings of Old Main from our Minneapolis Photo Database. 1879 1886
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