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Old Campus Map

This old map of campus is full of interesting tidbits…

Let’s start with the buildings shown. At the top of the map in the center is a cross-shaped building. That was the old Polytechnic Building which also served as the Hovey Museum.  About midway down the map we see the line of buildings of our historic campus. Starting from the left is South Hall, then Center with its wings, Peck Hall of Sciences (behind this building you see a small square building, the power plant about where today’s flagpole stands) and the Yandes Library. From this combination of structures we know that this map was made after Yandes opened in the early 1890s, but before the Polytechnic was razed to build the new gym and armory in the late 19teens.

Note that there is no Mall and no Chapel. These were both constructions of the 1920s. It is interesting to me that several of the sidewalks of today are remnants of the old campus as shown here.  The sidewalk that today runs from the Sparks Center and northeast at an angle is the same path as shown here.  Also the path from the northeast corner of campus through the Arboretum is the same. Lastly,  the rectangles scattered throughout the Arboretum. I believe that these denote the tennis courts of that time. There are other items sketched in here and there. I think perhaps this map was used in planning efforts to modernize the campus or master planning, as we call it today.  Whatever the reasons, this map has a lot to teach us about Old Wabash and we can learn a great deal about the campus by studying it closely.

Best,

Beth Swift

  1. Mark Decaroli '91

    Beth-
    Is that a pond in the Northeast corner of the arboretum? I think I remember that area as a low spot. I was wondering if you know whether is was ever a maintained pond, like a landscape feature of the arboretum?
    Mark D.
    Mark,
    You are exactly right! That area is a low spot. It still holds a water when it rains hard. I believe that area has always been wet. I think it was a sort of seasonal pond.
    We do have a landscaper’s plan put together in the 1920’s which intended it to be landscape feature with a quaint bridge over the small pond. That portion was never implemented. It also called for a swimming pool where the Campus Services building and powerplant are today!
    Beth

  2. Beth,
    You stated in the plans it called for a “swimming pool”. Is that also where the low spot is that holds water when it rains? If so, it’s a good thing they never put the pool in because excess water often puts to much strain on pools and causes pool leaks which could lead to a lot more problems. But I guess since the Campus Service Buildings and Powerplant are their currently they aren’t experiencing any problems.
    The low spot shown on the map is indeed where water still gathers. The plan called for creating a lagoon of sorts with a walking bridge over it.
    And yes, one plan had a pool where campus service is now. That never happened and so far as I know, the area is very well drained.
    Best,
    Beth Swift

  3. I am planning a college scouting trip to visit Wabash with my son in the fall. I wish there was a way to enlarge the map to see more details.
    When you visit campus…pop in the Archives and I will be happy to provide you with a photocopy of this old map.
    Best,
    Beth Swift

  4. Also the path from the northeast corner of campus through the Arboretum is the same. Yes i found that out.

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