Ames, IA Iowa State College Main Building Fire, Aug 1902


Remaining Portion of the Main Building at Iowa State College is Burned to the Ground

Ames, Iowa, August 14 - Once more the Iowa State college has been visited by a fire. In December of 1900 the main building of the college, which was also the oldest building of the college, caught fire at an early hour of the morning and more than half of the same was destroyed. The remaining part of the building was repaired and placed in order for temporary use. This morning what was left of the old building was completely destroyed.

The fire was discovered at four o'clock by the night watchman. It caught fire in the freight elevator shaft in the rear of the south wing and was under good headway when found. The alarm was sounded and an attempt made to stay the flames but it was too late and nothing could be done Attention was given to taking out the valuable materials from the rooms. The costly botanical collection which was still kept in this building, was taken out and saved entire. The furniture in the offices and recitation rooms were all saved. The total loss outside of the building itself was about $2000.

The origin of the fire is a mystery, as there was no fire in the building at this time. It caught in the elevator shaft at the rear of the south wing. The boiler house, which was adjoining the building was left intact.

The building had almost been destroyed before and the remaining portion was condemned by the state architect, it was being used temporarily for a dormitory and office building and for recitation rooms. It was soon to have been torn down to make room for the new building to be erected by the college in accordance with the authority of the legislature [sic], so that the loss on the building may be regarded as nominal.

Prof. Stanton, secretary of the board, says that plans are already being made to add eight recitation rooms to "Emergency hall" which was erected near by to fill the temporary needs of the college. These rooms will be completed in time for the fall term to commence. The fire will therefore not interfere at all with the work of the school, as there will be temporary rooms for all.

After the fire in December, 1900, there was serious talk of pulling the remaining portion of the main building down, and friends of the college rather regretted that it did not burn then. That fire was the real cause of order for an entire new building.

The Perry Daily Chief, Perry, IA 15 Aug 1902