College of LAS « Illinois

College and Campus Trivia

First Building

Local residents gave the University’s first building this nickname because of early delays and uncertainty in its construction.

What was the nickname?

Answer: The Elephant

Construction on the building began in 1861 but was delayed by the Civil War. The Morrill Act paved way for construction to resume, and it served as the University’s first building when the school opened in 1867. Officially named the University Building, or Old Main University Building, it would eventually house enough classrooms for 400 students, and dormitories for 130. The building was demolished in 1880 after suffering extensive storm damage.

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