Purdue history exhibit helps celebrate university's 150th birthday

The “Building Purdue” exhibit opened this week and it is located in the Stewart Center. It provides a chance to take visitors back in time to see how much the campus has changed in not just the past 150 years, but even in last five years.

Posted: Aug 29, 2018 7:16 PM
Updated: Aug 29, 2018 7:16 PM

Lafayette, IND. (WLFI) - As Purdue is celebrating its 150th year of existence, a group from the Purdue Libraries put together bits of the university's history for everyone to enjoy.

The “Building Purdue” exhibit opened this week and it is located in the Stewart Center.

It provides a chance to take visitors back in time to see how much the campus has changed in not just the past 150 years, but even in last five years.

It highlights the physical growth and evolution of the university from its establishment in 1869.

Head Curator Neal Harmeyer says the decision to put together this exhibit was an easy one.

“This came about pretty naturally as we start to look back at the history of the university and thought a lot about what about Purdue made it become Purdue,” he said. “When you think about the university, you think about people, the great alums that have gone here but you also think about the physical campus.”

"When this came up, it was, like oh yeah that's something I'd really like to see," said Brian York, a visitor of the exhibit.

York, class of 1992, is an alumnus and a current employee of the university. He came to see “Building Purdue” to reminisce.

"Being a student, seeing how it has grown since I was a student and then coming back on campus as an employee, and seeing the changes that have occured, and just seeing the history of how it has evolved, it's just intriguing," he said.

Something Harmeyer, who is also a Purdue alumnus, also understands.

"Being in a building on campus or walking through the campus, even if you are an alum and graduated fifteen years ago, that you can walk past a space that you still know," he said.

The exhibit includes the original land deed signed by John Purdue. You can see the edition of the Purdue Exponent from February 7th, 1922 when the headline said “Union Building Plan Approved.” They paid homage to the impact Purdue played in both World Wars with pictures of soldiers training on campus.

Old road maps, original architectural drawings of the Elliott Hall of Music, and old objects found in the walls of the original Pappy's Sweet Shop are all on display.

On the eve of the 94th football season at Ross-Ade Stadium, you can see old photos from its construction. And learn about life before Ross-Ade.

"Stuart Field was the football stadium, the baseball stadium, they did exercises they had convocations,” said Harmeyer as he pointed to a panoramic picture of the old stadium. “It was the hub of student aggregate activity from 1900 when it was opened to 1924 when Ross-Ade stadium was completed."

For York, he feels it is sometimes difficult to see places where memories were once made not longer exist anymore.

"Change is a good thing, it's inevitable but it's kind of sad to see some of the old things go,” he said.

Harmeyer says for every new generation of Boilermakers on campus, the exhibit shows they are a part of something much bigger.

"There have been freshman coming to this campus for nearly 150 years and that you are just one person in a very long but very well established line of people who have accomplished a lot, but who also walked the same halls and sat in the same classrooms,” he said.

Exhibit is specifically located in the Purdue Archives and Special Collections in the Humanities, Social Science, and Education (HSSE) Library in the Stewart Center. Hours are 10 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

Click here to learn more about the exhibit.

West Lafayette
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 73°
Kokomo
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 70°
Rensselaer
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
Fowler
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
Williamsport
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 71°
Crawfordsville
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 69°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 72°
Delphi
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 73°
Monticello
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Logansport
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48626

Reported Deaths: 2717
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11723689
Lake5212244
Elkhart332051
Allen2815132
St. Joseph198168
Cass16399
Hamilton1596101
Hendricks1414100
Johnson1288117
Porter73637
Tippecanoe7279
Madison66364
Clark66044
Bartholomew58944
Howard58057
LaPorte57926
Vanderburgh5706
Kosciusko5564
Marshall4926
Noble48428
Jackson4723
LaGrange4719
Delaware45050
Boone44943
Hancock44935
Shelby43025
Floyd38244
Morgan32931
Monroe30128
Montgomery29720
Grant29526
Clinton2892
Dubois2836
Henry28016
White26510
Decatur25532
Lawrence24625
Vigo2368
Dearborn23323
Warrick22129
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1842
Jennings17612
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14717
Wayne1426
Orange13523
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1227
Jasper1212
Wabash1132
Carroll1102
Fayette1017
Newton9910
Whitley965
Starke933
Gibson872
Randolph804
Huntington782
Wells751
Jefferson722
Fulton711
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey440
Spencer411
Blackford392
Brown391
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland270
Martin230
Parke230
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events