Campus master plan

In the last post I shared a picture of campus in the 1930’s and promised that I would address a master plan created in the late 1920’s and known as the Wabash Plan.

This plan was created by the architect who designed the Pioneer Chapel and Goodrich Hall on the Wabash campus, Jens Frederick Larson. As the college architect, Larson created a plan that turned the campus 180 degrees. The Chapel was the first bulding in the new plan and would serve to turn the focus from the “Old Row” of Yandes (now Detchon), Peck (where Hays Hall is now), Center Hall and South Hall (where Baxter is now). The campus was built, originally, to face onto Grant Street. With the coming of the Chapel, that focus changed and the Mall became the lawn of campus.

Larson’s plan created a series of quadrangles on campus. In the drawing above, existing buildings are in black and proposed buildings or new expansions are crosshatched. Here is a rundown of the drawing numbered clockwise, starting with Yandes Library (Detchon Hall).

1 Yandes Library was to become an expanded library combined with a student union by the addition of two wings. Each wing resembled a slightly smaller Goodrich Hall.

2 Peck Hall which was torn down two decades later and replaced with Waugh Hall.

3 Proposed languages academic building.

4 Center Hall’s proposed change was the addition of a steeple which, according to Larson, was envisioned when Center was built. Due to a perennial lack of funds as Center was built and the College never completed the steeple.

5  South Hall, the oldest building built here, was to stay the same, with some sprucing up of the interior.

6 Proposed social sciences building

You will note that the changes proposed for the east campus included the addition of two academic buildings at right angles to Peck and South Halls. This formed a quadrangle, one of three Larson envisioned in his campus plan.

7 Pioneer Chapel which was designed by Larson and is still the same as it was when built.

8 The Chapel was to serve as the anchor for the dormitory quad, which was to be built on a portion of the athletic fields. Three new buildings were to be added south of the Chapel.

9 A hall for the sciences was placed on the new mall and that became Goodrich Hall. This is the only other Larson building actually constructed on campus.

10 The Gymnasium was to stay the same.

11 The swimming pool. It would be another few decades before Wabash had a pool on campus.

12 This proposed building (exactly where the Campus Center was built) was to be a Little Theater.

13 Listed simply as “Future Group”

14 “Future building” is the spot on which the Lilly Library was built.

15 “President’s House” is the Caleb Mills House.

This “Wabash Plan” was to be the framework for an ambitious fund raising plan for the “Wabash of the Future” in connection with the college’s centennial in 1932. Following the crash of 1929, many things changed, and the big campaign withered in the face of the Great Depression.

In 1940 both President Hopkins and the President of the Board of Trustees, James P. Goodrich, died. The new president of the college Frank Sparks and the new President of the Board of Trustees, Lee McCanliss, took over the college just as WWII hit. Following the war, when money began to flow to Wabash again, Sparks and McCanliss chose a different architect – Eric Gugler – to design the new Wabash and only a few small pieces of the Larson plan were implemented.

I often wonder how Wabash would look had the Larson plan been implemented. An example might be Colby College in Maine. Larson designed an entire new campus for Colby which was implemented. Dartmouth has a number of Larson buildings as well. For more information on the connections between Wabash, Larson and President Hopkins, here is a link from a previous post:


Beth Swift
Wabash College

Campus 1930’s

Yesterday I did a presentation to a class on the history of the campus and this was one of the images I used. It is a good image as it shows the new Chapel, but no Goodrich Hall yet. The Football field has a true north/south orientation and the the skylights in the gymnasium roof are very visible. There is no Sparks Center or Lilly Library, even Waugh Hall is still more than a decade in the future. This is Wabash at 100!

The early 30’s were a tough time for Wabash as for most of America. The great plans for a huge fundraising campaign were put on hold. The campus master plan created by the architect of the Chapel, J.F. Larson was set aside and the lawn was left to grow. Dick Ristine always talked about a cutting just before classes started in September and another in the spring. Maintenance items were postponed and still President Hopkins couldn’t balance the college budget. Frustrated with the deficits, President of the Board of Trustees and former Governor of Indiana James P. Goodrich offered to build a “Hall for the sciences” if the budget were balanced for two years in a row. It was a struggle and more economies were implemented, the Faculty even took pay cuts. The balanced budget was achieved and there was a groundbreaking for Goodrich Hall on March 18, 1938 with the dedication a year later.

I hope you enjoy this aerial photograph as much as I do. Next time a little more on the campus plan as envisioned nearly 80 years ago.

All best,
Beth Swift
Wabash College


Piggy Lambert and a passion for sport

Ward Lambert [W1911] ranks high in any listing of Wabash men in sport more than 50 years after his death in 1958. Ward was born in Deadwood, SD but raised in Crawfordsville. It was here in town that he earned the nickname “Piggy” for the pigtail on his sledding hat. Piggy was always small, it is said that when he played football, basketball and baseball for

Lambert is second from the left on the front row.

Wabash he only weighed 114 pounds. Living in Crawfordsville and hanging out at the old YMCA brought this boy into early contact with the game that would occupy the remainder of his life. Crawfordsville was one of the earliest YMCAs to institute basketball. The local “Y” director brought the game directly from James Naismith, the inventor, and the story goes that as a young boy, Piggy’s job was to knock the ball back out of the peach basket.

At Crawfordsville High School, Piggy, though small, played a tough game of basketball and ended his high school career as a top scorer on the team.  Ward then came to Wabash College where he was a chemistry major and a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He also played on the football, basketball and baseball teams while a student. Known for his feisty approach to basketball, Piggy was named the assistant coach in his senior year in college. Following graduation in 1911, Ward went to the University of Minnesota to further his study of chemistry. As so many graduate students are, he was hard pressed financially and so returned to Indiana where he accepted a job at Lebanon High School. While there he taught chemistry and physics and coached basketball for four years.

In 1916 Lambert was called to Purdue to serve as head basketball coach. Lambert’s Lebanon teams had posted an impressive record and perhaps even more important, the coach leaving Purdue was Piggy’s old CHS team member, Robert “Pete” Vaughan. Pete left Purdue to join the military and, after WWI, Pete Vaughan returned to Crawfordsville to coach the Little Giants in basketball. Ward too served in WWI as a lieutenant in the field artillery in France. He made it home in time to coach the Boilermakers in their 1919 basketball season.

At Purdue, Piggy had an astounding record in basketball with 11 Big Ten titles won outright or shared. Lambert perfected the fast break and was known for his ability to take boys of indifferent potential and grow them into amazing players. In a January 1941 Esquire magazine article, Lamberton shared his philosophy, “You must create respect in boys but never fear…Impress upon your players their own capabilities. Don’t allow them to be affected by the success the opponent may be enjoying.

“Make yourself good and don’t worry about the other fellow. You can’t do more than play your best but if you permit the other fellow’s good breaks to worry you, you destroy your own capabilities.”

Perhaps Piggy’s greatest legacy was that of a player turned coach, John Wooden. A powerfully successful coach at UCLA, Wooden was another Hoosier boy. He played four years at Purdue under Piggy and was the captain of Purdue’s 1932 national championship team. Coach Wooden was often quoted as saying that the single most important coaching influence on him was Coach Lambert.

Piggy was fiercely competitive and yet as proud as he was of Purdue, I was delighted to read this last week from the Wabash Record-Bulletin of 11/30/1922, “Piggy Lambert went to the Butler [football] game to scout Wabash for Purdue, but before the first quarter was over he forgot scouting, succumbed to the excitement of the game, and from then until the finish there was no harder rooter for the Scarlet in the Wabash stands.” Like so many Little Giants still today!

Beth Swift
Wabash College