1867

Downtown Champaign, 1860s

Downtown Champaign, 1860s

1867 UIUC Graphic

Located just south of today's University Avenue where the Beckman Institute now stands, sat “The Elephant". Originally built to house a seminary, in 1867 the building became the sole home of Illinois Industrial University. This five story edifice contained everything the first 77 students (all men) would need including classrooms, a dining hall, and dormitories. Although the University was officially formed in 1867, the first students arrived in the spring of 1868. 

Illinois Industrial University Seminary Building

Illinois Industrial University Seminary Building

Arthur Swannell, 1879

Arthur Swannell, 1879

Student dress code required a uniform of cadet grey mixed cloth, similar to those worn at West Point. Sixty-six 10' x 14' "private" rooms could house two students each. The residents later recalled a size closer to 9'x12'! Students provided their own furnishings, including beds and bedding. The building was lit by oil lamps, and each of the rooms had a chimney flue but no stove, so students were required to provide their own. They could cook in their rooms or eat in the dining room for $3.50 per week. Alumnus Nathan Ricker, later a professor, recalled that some students chose to live on $0.50 or $0.60 cents worth of milk and mush a week, plus the cost of coal. They carried water from wells and relieved themselves in public outhouses.

19th Century Stove

19th Century Stove

Heating and Cooking

The first class of students on campus were required to furnish their own rooms, including their own stoves. These stoves would serve both heating and cooking needs. The university sold coal at cost, but did not provide kindling. This led to students scavenging wood from any available source, including nearby fences and dilapidated shacks.

Students used the coal stove, a griddle, and a mush pot to make meals that were affordable but of questionable nutritional value. Their food included griddle cakes, potatoes, mush, and beans. A student noted that "one needed four stomachs and a gizzard to cope with grub so prepared with fat, greasy gravy."

Early 1880s poster promoting the Illinois Industrial University

Early 1880s poster promoting the Illinois Industrial University

Student & Groundskeeper

In addition to their studies, students were expected to perform manual labor. Because the University didn't have a formal grounds crew, students were tasked with maintaining the yards around the Seminary. Student Adolphus Rader was paid $5.63 for 334 days of work.

Wood-handled Shovel

19th Century Wood-handled Shovel

Recitations

Early students didn't have majors or earn degrees; that wouldn't come about until the 1870s. Instead they had a rigorous course load in the classical subjects along with a very structured schedule.

6:45 AM - 7:15 AM          Breakfast                       12:30 PM - 1:00 PM         Dinner

7:15 AM - 8:15 AM          Recitations                    1:00 PM - 3:00 PM           Labor

8:15 AM - 8:30 AM          Chapel                            3:00 PM - 6:00 PM            Library 

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM          Lectures or Drill            6:00 PM - 7:00 PM           Supper

9:30 AM - 12:30 PM        Recitations                     7:00 PM - 10:00 PM         Study Hours

<em>Elements of Geometry</em>

Euclid's Elements of Geometry

Agriculture Students, 1868

IIU Agriculture Students, 1868

Clothing

With little room in their small cramped living quarters, most students didn't have a large wardrobe when arriving in 1868. Each student maintained a grey military uniform (based on those of West Point), work clothes, a standard overcoat, trousers, and hat.

Man's Hat

19th Century Men's Hat

Data about UIUC in 1867
1867