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November 15, 2012

Hudson to Cleveland: Constructing the New Buildings - Year 2

We continue our description of Western Reserve College’s move from Hudson to Cleveland 130 years ago. Faculty member, Edward W. Morley, chronicled the event in letters to his parents. Extracts from those letters describe the September 1882 to March 1883 construction efforts.

Two of the three new Western Reserve buildings: the president's house is on the left. Adelbert Hall, the student residence is on the right.

September 25, 1882
“The dedication of our new buildings will be on the twenty-sixth of October. I do not suppose they will be entirely done then, but they will be habitable... Our numbers are now larger than they ever were at Hudson, although the delay in getting the buildings done doubtless kept away many who would have come in case we were ready to go into the new buildings.”

November 4, 1882
“The buildings are getting along in the same slow way. I think we are likely to get into them by Christmas. The dormitory will not be done much if any before that time so that students can get into it. This is a great disappointment to them, as many have not purchased stoves yet, in the hope that such purchase will not be necessary.”

December 16, 1882
“Our building is getting on slowly. We are going to occupy the lower floor for examinations tomorrow. We shall have prayers in the library room. I am making drawings for my lecture table, and hope to have it begun soon, so as to be done by the middle of the term, if possible. The table will be nineteen feet long, and I think will be one of the most convenient and complete yet devised. The arrangement for introducing gas, water, blast, and exhaust will be particularly neat and convenient.”

January 28, 1883
“The college buildings go on slowly. The carpenters are putting on the wood-work of the stairs. I think this is about the last work remaining for the carpenters. The man who puts in the stair rails has got his rails there, and is drawing plans. He can not begin putting up rails till the steps are laid. The painters are somewhat behindhand. The work of the carpenters is very poor work, not one of the men will ever do work for me. I have some work to be done, which they want to get; but there is absolutely no use in their talking to me about it. Our Mr. Freeman, who is Professor of Physics, has got his apparatus up from Hudson, by going down there and packing it mostly himself. He had it brought up on sleds during a few days of good going on runners. I wish very much that the chemical apparatus were packed and brought here. I cannot go and pack it up till the weather is so that I should not be likely to take cold; and I want it to use before very long.”

February 19, 1883
“Work is slowly going on at the building. The carpenters are putting up the stair rail; and have but little left now. I put in a guage [sic] the other day to show how much water was contained in the tank put in the attic. The plumbers put in one which would not work, though it was only designed to let a stream of water run down when the tank was full. Mine tells just how much water there is in the tank, and works all right.”

March 4, 1883
“The carpenters move as slowly at the college buildings as the hour hands of a clock. They put up the front doors the other day. The workmanship of the men left on the job is pretty poor. The boss carpenter want the job of putting up the tables in the chemical rooms, and of the shelves in the library. These he will not get if I have any influence on the decision. He has let he men deface and defile the building so offensively, that no men under his direction will every work for me. The man wants to do right, but he has no idea of work the grade which is required, nor of using care to keep things neat and clean till the building is turned over to the owners.”

Posted by jmt3 at November 15, 2012 11:15 PM

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