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(A)First Boiler House and Power Plant on campus 1880 or 1881

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(A)First Boiler House and Power Plant on campus 1880 or 1881
(A)First Boiler House and Power Plant on campus 1880 or 1881
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Subjects: Buildings
Description: With the founding of the college in 1855, campus consisted of uncultivated forest. After two years of brutal tree clearing and building construction, the first students arrived in 1857. Two buildings existed on the land and college life contained no amenities. At first heat was provided by wood fed pot bellied stoves, no electric lights, telephones, or indoor toilets or baths existed and students carried their own water from wells outside each building.

Since classes met in the winter months heat was a serious concern. After the first several years College Hall installed two wood furnaces into the basement, yet Madison Kuhn, MSU historian, states that “so inadequate were those furnaces, however, that on the coldest days [Professor] Abbot dismissed the boys from his freezing classroom that they might seek the warmth of the pot-bellied stoves in their dormitory rooms.” By 1859 the college abandoned these furnaces and placed stoves in the classrooms and chemistry laboratory.

As the college began to expand and draw greater number of students, the technology and facilities available improved. Although pot bellied stoves continued to be used by this time they were most likely all fueled by coal and in 1884 a new boiler plant was erected behind Olds Hall with the resulting steam heating Wells and Williams Halls, the chemistry building, the library and museum.

This photograph pictures the first Boiler House & Power Plant on campus taken in 1880 or 1881.
Date: 1880
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Black and white photograph
Resource Identifier: A001905.jpg
Language: English
Rights Management: Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by Michigan State University and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.
Contributing Institution: University Archives & Historical Collections
Relation: MSU Photograph Collection
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
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