On January 20, 1820 (known as Founder's Day), The Indiana General Assembly passed a law to establish a state seminary. The school was not explicitly religious; many institutions of higher learning were known as seminaries at this time.
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0022518
The Madison Indiana Republican in Madison, IN wrote an advertisement for the new state seminary. It wrote that seminary buildings were in "a state of preparation" and "are erected on an elevated situation affording a handsome view of Bloomington, the county seat of Monroe County, and also a commanding prospect of the adjacent country, which is altogether pleasant and well calculated for rural retreats.".
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Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0022514
Compared to the Seminary Building, the Professor's House "was a similar but smaller structure enlarged somewhat by addition of a lean-to type of shed." The Professor's House cost $891. (1) The Early Years," 1970. The Professor's House originally stood alone, but when the first dormitory was built in 1838, it was attached to the Professor's House.
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0022520
The Seminary Building "was a two-story oblong brick structure with evenly spaced windows and the projecting mid-roof bell tower so characteristic of contemporary academic and public buildings. Originally it was intended to be a replica of Nassau Hall at Princeton." It cost $2,400 to build. (2)
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0022526
In January 1828, the Indiana General Assembly renamed Indiana Seminary to Indiana College. This act signified the state's ambitions to have a full-scale university with an advanced curriculum.
The First College Building housed the chapel, the library, and contained classrooms.
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0022542
The First College Building was completed in 1836. It stood for 18 years before it was destroyed by a fire in 1854.
<img="http://fedora.dlib.indiana.edu/fedora/get/iudl:699542/LARGE" alt="1850 image of First College Building.">
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0022519
The first dormitory building officially under university control was built in 1838. Before then students could only rent privately from local families. The dormitory was built next to and attached to the Professor's House.
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0022520
Shortly after President Andrew Wylie took over at Indiana College, the Indiana General Assembly renamed the school Indiana University. This served largely only to increase the prestige of the institution, because "[o]ne searches the record in vain for some expression of an enlarged educational philosophy, significant curriculum change, or faculty expansion" following the change. (4)
The next building on the original Seminary Square Campus was the First Laboratory Building.
<img="http://purl.dlib.indiana.edu/iudl/archives/photos/screen/P0042073" alt="Ground level floor plan of first Laboratory.">
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0042073
The First College Building burned down on either the 9th or 11th of April, and the fire's cause is unknown. One theory is that cigar-smoking students tossed their lit trash into the janitor's trash pile. Another theory that caught traction with the people in Bloomington was that some thieves lit the building on fire in order to draw attention away from the stores they intended to rob. No such activity had been reported earlier, however, leaving more credibility to the first theory. (5)
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0042083
On October 11, 1919, the Indiana Daily Student reported on IU's history, writing: "[I]n 1854 the new building, with entire contents in the form of libraries and collections, was destroyed by fire. The friends of the University came to its assistance and another and better building was erected. The structure, one of the most picturesque in Bloomington, is now known as the Old College; it was purchased by the Board of Education of the City of Bloomington in 1897…In 1874 a second large building of design similar to that of the Old College was erected for the libraries and museum; but in a second fire, in 1883, this building was destroyed with all its contents."
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0022516
The Bloomington World reported on November 30th, 1893, that the College Building burned on April 8th, 1854, contradicting accounts claiming April 9th or April 11th as the fire's date.
One year after the First College Building was destroyed in a fire, a Second College Building was built to replace it. Because this new building was the first built following Indiana College's change to Indiana University, it was also known as the First University Building.
<img="http://fedora.dlib.indiana.edu/fedora/get/iudl:699538/LARGE" alt="1889 photograph of First University Building.">
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0022515
The Bloomington High School had its origins in a "remodeled old tannery building on the site of what later became the Central School Building. At some time later the school was possibly moved to a brick building on the northwest corner of Washington and Sixth Streets." This building was built in 1863. (6) A new school was built in 1873 south of Third Street on the western side of College Avenue. It was known as Central School. It was built for $52,000. According to the Star Courier, the City of Bloomington purchased Central School in 1953 in order to pay for a parking lot.
<img="http://fedora.dlib.indiana.edu/fedora/get/iudl:1087506/LARGE" alt="1907 picture of Central School.">
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0034818
The Science Hall was built on the Seminary Campus.
<img="http://fedora.dlib.indiana.edu/fedora/get/iudl:699556/LARGE" alt="Science Hall, pictured in 1875.">
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0022533
"In 1883 catastrophe struck Indiana University. The new building, constructed in 1873, was set on fire by lightning at 10:30 P.M., Thursday, July 12. Fortunately a heavy rain had fallen and the roofs of neighboring buildings were wet. The courthouse bell was rung and volunteer firemen rushed to the campus, dragging behind them the new steam pump, but this machine quickly exhausted the water supply of the university cistern, and the engine had to be moved farther away to the creek on Walnut Street. The building burned quickly. Lightning had followed an underground telegraph wire into the structure and set the internal framing on fire so that the blaze was out of hand before the fire was removed." (7) Pictured left are the floor plans of Science Hall.
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0042080
"Unsuccessful efforts were made to remove most of the contents from the burning building. It contained the 85,000 specimens of the geological and archaeological treasures of the Owen Cabinet, the 14,000 volume library, David Starr Jordan's ichthyological collection, and the law library. The dollar loss was estimated by the Board of Trustees to be approximately $111,000." (8) The 1883 fire was a turning point in Indiana University's history, prompting the move from the Seminary Square campus to the current campus after a purchasing of land from the Dunn family.
<img="http://fedora.dlib.indiana.edu/fedora/get/iudl:1032564/LARGE" alt="1876 photograph of Museum on third floor of Science Hall.">
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0030991
From the IU Chronology website: ""Moses F. Dunn, George G. Dunn and Euphemia Dunn sell approximately 20 acres of land to the Trustees of Indiana University in the area known as Dunn's Woods. This tract of land allowed Indiana University to move from the Seminary Square campus to where it is located today."" According to the IU Archives: ""This map was drawn sometime between 1932 and 1935. It shows the original twenty acres of land purchased by Indiana University in 1885. The land was purchased so as to move the campus from its location at Seminary Square (Second Street and College Avenue).
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0037065
Although the campus did not yet butt up against what is today (2014) Indiana Avenue, a right of way was granted from the end of Kirkwood Avenue across land that was still owned by Dunn family members to the campus. Thus, technically, the front of the campus was along Third Street with the first buildings, Owen and Wylie halls, being built at the back of the campus."
The City of Bloomington bought the Seminary Building on the original campus in 1897 for $10,500, according to the Bloomington Morning World. The Seminary Building housed the high school shortly thereafter, as the Central School location was being overcrowded. In 1900 the building was damaged in a fire, but was restored. (9)
<img="http://fedora.dlib.indiana.edu/fedora/get/iudl:1682860/LARGE" alt="Floor plans of Seminary Building.">
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0042074
In 1914, to the east of the Seminary Building, a new building was constructed for $149,000 and used to accommodate more students at the High School. In 1923, the High School, once again overwhelmed, constructed more overflow housing "along Walnut Street extending south." (10) <img="http://fedora.dlib.indiana.edu/fedora/get/iudl:1090083/LARGE" alt="This 1915 photograph from the High School's Gothic yearbook shows the new Bloomington High School Building.">
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0034998
"In 1921 the Bloomington Evening World, in an article titled ""Facts Wanted About Buildings on Old Campus,"" wrote, "In 1858 three of the old buildings were sold. The Old Seminary Building erected in 1824 was sold to Heppert and Helton. The Old Laboratory Building was sold to Paul E. Slocumb. The Old Boarding House was sold to D.E. Hunter. As a matter of historical interest Mr. Cravens would like to know where the materials of these buildings were used in the construction of residences or business houses in Bloomington. Mr. Cravens would also like to know the year in which the colored school building was erected. This building was on the lot at the corner of Eight and Washington streets and was torn down a few years ago, when the City Library was erected. He would also like to know the name of the contractor."
<img="http://fedora.dlib.indiana.edu/fedora/get/iudl:2009065/LARGE" alt="Home of John W. Cravens. This image is from 1912.">
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0057157
In 1899, the Bloomington Daily Student wrote "If the weather remains favorable the ball team may get in more practice this week than was expected. The old college campus is found to be an excellent place to work. The men say they can field fly balls twice as easy there as on the regular athletic field. This being true, the success our teams have always had on the old campus may be in a measure accounted for." In 1917 Seminary Square was again referenced for a Fourth of July parade: "After the hungry picnickers have made a raid on the well-filled baskets and enjoyed a regular dinner, more games will be played on the old campus. Arch ball, Indian club race, straddle relay, flag relay, obstacle relay, toss and catch relay, and shuttle relay will be played by the youths of the city."
<img="http://fedora.dlib.indiana.edu/fedora/get/iudl:1141847/LARGE" alt="1893 Champions of the Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association.">
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0036835
In 1926 the Bloomington High School added a gymnasium to its campus at the site of the original Seminary Square campus for IU. It was built near the railroad tracks at the corner of Second and Morton.
<img="http://fedora.dlib.indiana.edu/fedora/get/iudl:1986912/LARGE" alt="1932 image of Gymnasium.">
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0056266
The March 1930 issue of Quarries and Mills details the 2-year journey of a vocational course at the High School that trained students to work with limestone. Students in the course built the very building in which the course would later be taught. From the article: "The mill is a structure 50 x 90 ft., 50 x 70 ft. is devoted to the machines and finishing equipment, while 20 x 40 ft. with its 2 floors, are devoted to the drafting room and lay out room, showers, toilets and lockers in the basement." (11)
This image, courtesy of the Indiana Spatial Data Portal, shows Seminary Square in 1939. The gymnasium is in the upper left corner. The Main High School Building is the large building on the center right. The football field is on the bottom.
<img="https://www.flickr.com/photos/145186649@N02/30966048136/in/album-72157675412205050/" alt="Seminary Square.">
Indiana Spatial Data Portal
"From the IU Archives: ""This image shows the original site of Indiana University in the block between Second & First Streets, and Walnut Avenue and Morton Street. This is now (2013) the site of Kroger grocery store, Wendy's Hamburgers, Seminary Park, the U.S. Post Office (formerly Ponderosa Steakhouse), ACE Pawn Shop, Bloomington Car Wash Center, and Rally's Hamburgers.
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0041254
Second Street is at the top of the photo, Walnut at right, First at bottom, and Morton at left. College Avenue is at top center. The large nearly square building at upper left is the old Bloomington High School Gymnasium. The building just to the lower right of that is the First University Building (a.k.a. Old College Building) built in 1855. The building to the right of that is Bloomington High School built in 1914. This is a detail from a 1949 aerial image of Bloomington that can be found on the Indiana Spatial Data Portal's Historic Bloomington Aerial Photos site here: http://gis.iu.edu/datasetInfo/local/bloomington_historic.php.""
All buildings were still intact in 1953.
<img="https://www.flickr.com/photos/145186649@N02/22822756758/in/album-72157675412205050/" alt="1953 Aerial View">
Indiana Spatial Data Portal
<img="https://www.flickr.com/photos/145186649@N02/22822758548/in/album-72157675412205050/" alt="1957 Aerial View">
Indiana Spatial Data Portal
What is today Bloomington High School South was built in 1965, leaving the old high school on the original Seminary Square campus to be renamed Central Junior High. Central Junior High was destroyed in an April 1967 fire caused by a student. (12)
<img="http://fedora.dlib.indiana.edu/fedora/get/iudl:1986729/LARGE" alt="1932 photograph of a football game at the old Bloomington High School.">
Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection P0056261
The Seminary Building was razed in 1967.
In 1974, the City of Bloomington bought land at 100 W. Second Street between College Avenue and Walnut Street from the Monroe County Community School Corporation for purposes of establishing a park dedicated to the memory of IU's original campus.
<img="http://bloomington.in.gov/media/media/image/jpeg/9163.jpg" alt="Seminary Park in 2003.">
City of Bloomington
The opening paragraph to the document reads: "The Trustees of Monroe County Community Schools Corporation, a municipal corporation of Monroe County, in the state of Indiana, for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar ($1) and construction of College Avenue as per Monroe County Community School Corporation subdivision Number 1 and Number 2 by grantee, convey all of their right, title, and interest in and to the following described real estate to the City of Bloomington, of Monroe County, in the State of Indiana, to wit..."
<img="https://www.flickr.com/photos/145186649@N02/30512246333/in/dateposted-public/" alt="Seminary Park Deed.">
Bloomington Department of Parks and Recreation
In 1995, work establishing Seminary Park began. The sponsoring organizations were Indiana University, Bloomington Parks and Recreation, the City of Bloomington, the Bloomington Parks Foundation, and Bloomington High School Alumni. The arch was completed in October 1996.
<img="https://www.flickr.com/photos/145186649@N02/30495113274/in/album-72157675412205050/" alt="Article about park dedication.">
The Bloomington Herald-Times.
On May 25, 2011, powerful winds from a storm blew over many of the large, old trees in Seminary Square Park, forever changing the landscape of the area.
<img="http://bloomington.in.gov/media/media/image/jpeg/9164.jpg" alt="2011 photograph of Seminary Park after the storm.">
City of Bloomington
This stone commemorates the year the land for Seminary Park was purchased by the City of Bloomington.
<img="https://www.flickr.com/photos/145186649@N02/31204260091/in/album-72157677220290485/" alt="Engraved Stone in Seminary Park.">
Seminary Park as seen from the corner of Second and College looking toward Walnut Street.
<img="https://www.flickr.com/photos/145186649@N02/30950728150/in/album-72157677220290485/" alt="Seminary Park.">
This marker commemorates the establishment of the State Seminary. It reads "Congress, which asserted that education was necessary for representative government, granted Indiana one township of land to support a seminary as part of its admission to statehood in 1816. In 1820, Governor Johnathan Jennings approved the act creating the State Seminary. When classes first began here April 4, 1825, only Ancient Greek and Latin were taught."
<img="https://www.flickr.com/photos/145186649@N02/31204252431/in/album-72157677220290485/" alt="State Marker.">
This plaque, located in Seminary Park, reads "This tablet marks the centre of the first building of Indiana University. Classes were first held here on May 1, 1824." Later research indicates that classes actually began at the State Seminary April 4, 1825. The date has been a source of confusion for decades since many university records were destroyed by fires.
<img="https://www.flickr.com/photos/145186649@N02/31204254961/in/album-72157677220290485/" alt="Commemoration Plaque.">
References: 1. Thomas D. Clark, Indiana University: Midwestern Pioneer, Volume I: The Early Years, 1970. 2. Thomas D. Clark, Indiana University: Midwestern Pioneer, Volume I: The Early Years, 1970. 3. Thomas D. Clark, Indiana University: Midwestern Pioneer, Volume I: The Early Years, 1970. 4. Thomas D. Clark, Indiana University: Midwestern Pioneer, Volume I: The Early Years, 1970. 5. Thomas D. Clark, Indiana University: Midwestern Pioneer, Volume I: The Early Years, 1970. 6. Clay W. Stuckey, A Brief History of the Campus of the Old Bloomington High School, 2015. 7. Thomas D. Clark, Indiana University: Midwestern Pioneer, Volume I: The Early Years, 1970. 8. Thomas D. Clark, Indiana University: Midwestern Pioneer, Volume I: The Early Years, 1970. 9. Clay W. Stuckey, A Brief History of the Campus of the Old Bloomington High School, 2015. 10. Clay W. Stuckey, A Brief History of the Campus of the Old Bloomington High School, 2015. 11. Clay W. Stuckey, A Brief History of the Campus of the Old Bloomington High School, 2015. (12) Clay W. Stuckey, A Brief History of the Campus of the Old Bloomington High School, 2015.