Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Old Main

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Institution Name: North Central College
Original/Historic Place Name: Main Building
Location on Campus: 30 N. Brainard St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1870original construction Van Osdel, John Mills
1891addition of south tower Unknown
1997renovation Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: limestone
Walls: limestone
Roof: none specified
ca. 1870residence hall
ca. 1870other (student activity rooms)
ca. 1870faculty offices
1870-present (2007)administration
1870-present (2007)classrooms
1870-present (2007)old main
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (conference facilities/meeting space)

Significance: architecture
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Old Main was designed by Chicago's first professional architect, John Mills Van Osdel, who also designed the Executive Mansion in Springfield and the first buildings on the campuses of Northwestern University and the University of Illinois. One of the oldest buildings in DuPage County, Old Main was built in 1870 of local limestone on eight acres of land donated by Naperville businessman, Delcar Sleight. In the early years of the institution, when enrollment ranged from 250 to 400 students, Old Main housed the entire college. The construction cost of $32,000 was provided by the citizens of Naperville and Zion Evangelical Church. A south tower was added in 1891. In 1997, the College undertook a $6 million renovation of the beloved structure, which made the building fully handicap accessible, brought a wide variety of student services under one roof, and created additional administrative offices and classrooms. Old Main is once again the hub of campus life.

I. Bibliographic sources:

North Central College & Naperville: A Shared History, 1870-1995. Naperville, IL: North Central College, 1995.

Old Main: Preserving a Tradition. Naperville, IL: North Central College, 1998.

Roberts, Clarence N. A Clear & Steady Light: A Brief History of North Central College. Naperville, IL: North Central College, 1981.

Roberts, Clarence N. North Central College: A Century of Liberal Education, 1861-1961. Naperville, IL: North Central College, 1960.

Savage, Charles. A College In Its Community. Naperville, IL: North Central College, [n.d.].

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections, Facilities Management Office
Other: North Central College Office of Public Information

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