Page:A History of the University of Chicago by Thomas Wakefield Goodspeed.djvu/249

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219
THE EARLIER BUILDINGS

Should it be stone or brick? If stone, should granite be chosen, or could something as attractive, and, while durable, not so expensive, be found? What should be the arrangement of the buildings on the site, and where should the first buildings be located? And above all, what style of architecture should be adopted?

Fortunately for the young University, it had among its trustees the very best men in Chicago to consider and determine these important questions. Among the letters of Mr. Goodspeed to Dr. Harper in 1891, the one dated April 14 contains the following:

Mr. Ryerson has sketched a complete plan for the buildings. . . . . The sketches provide for buildings on the three blocks to cost two million, three hundred thousand dollars, and on the four blocks something over three million, six hundred thousand dollars. The idea of Mr. Ryerson and Mr. Hutchinson is to draw out on paper the entire plan at the start, with the locations of build- ings indicated, and then go forward, building by building, as we are able. You can depend on the building committee going forward from this time.

The last sentence indicates that Dr. Harper's eager mind was impatient over the delay in the building plans. On April 25, 1891, the Committee on Buildings and Grounds instructed Mr. Ryerson to ask six firms of architects

to furnish the committee with plans showing how the site should in general be covered and the buildings be arranged and distributed, and also with sketches of a recitation building and dormitory and of the Divinity dormitory.

Three firms responded to this invitation, submitting their sketches and suggestions on May 16. On June 9, 1891, the Trustees adopted the following resolution:

Resolved, That the Committee on Buildings and Grounds be authorized and instructed to proceed at once to erect upon the University campus three buildings as follows: a Divinity dormitory to cost not more than one hundred thousand dollars, a University dormitory to cost not more than one hundred thousand dollars, and a recitation building to cost not more than one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and that the committee be authorized to employ Henry Ives Cobb as architect of said buildings.

The first annual meeting of the Board of Trustees was held on June 23, 1891, and the committee reported that Mr. Cobb had been employed as architect for these buildings, and the plans for