Page:A History of the University of Chicago by Thomas Wakefield Goodspeed.djvu/248

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CHAPTER VIII
THE EARLIER BUILDINGS

At the first meeting of the Board of Trustees of the new University Messrs. Ryerson, Rust, Walker, Felsenthal, Corthell, MacLeish, and Hinckley were appointed a Committee on Buildings and Grounds. The committee organized without delay, before the legal incorporation was accomplished, and the appointment of the committee having been confirmed later, a second meeting was held November 28, 1890. It was then "determined that the committee would undertake, in the first instance, to secure the erection of three buildings: 1, a general recitation building; 2, a Divinity School dormitory; 3, a University dormitory." At the same meeting, however, a new and important but most disturbing question was raised, which resulted in the appointment of Messrs. Ryerson, Walker, and MacLeish as a committee "to take into consideration the advisability and possibility of enlarging the site." The story of this first enlargement of the site has been told in the preceding chapters. This mention of it is made here, because, so far as buildings were concerned, it delayed the work of the committee for several months. The committee felt that before it could proceed with plans for buildings, the shape and extent of the grounds on which they were to stand must be determined. The matter having been finally decided and the site enlarged by the purchase of an additional block of ground and changed in shape from a narrow strip, one block wide and three blocks long, into a compact square, two blocks wide and two long, with the streets and alleys vacated, the committee, in the spring of 1891, was able to go forward. Many important and perplexing questions, however, at once arose. Should one architect be chosen for the first buildings, or should they be given to two or more men? What should be the scale of expenditure for buildings? Should the structures be small and cheap, or should they be large, dignified, and worthy? What material should be used in their construction?

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