Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Humphrey Center

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Grand View College
Original/Historic Place Name: Old Main
Location on Campus: 1200 Grandview Ave.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1896original construction Jensen, Marinus James, Frank
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: brick
Walls: brick
Roof: composition shingle
ca. 1896old main (administration, classrooms, residence hall, and president's house)
ca. 2004-present (2007)classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2007)administration

Significance: architecture, culture, education, history, religion
Landmark designation:
National RegisterGrand View College (Old Main) (1978)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Humphrey Center is the grande dame of Grand View College. No doubt for generation upon generation of alumni, this stately building is what they see in their mind's eye whenever the college is mentioned--and rightfully so. Known as Old Main until it was renovated in 1997, the Humphrey Center is the original building of the College and represents the culmination of the dreams of Danish immigrants in Des Moines, small in number though they were, to have a Danish school in their community. The Danish Renaissance elements in the main façade were a conscious effort to evoke the national heritage of the Danish founders and establish a specific ethnic architectural identity at Grand View. Flemish Renaissance motifs joined with Danish elements created the overall effect.

For its first half century, the building was the entire college. In addition to being an educational institution in which classes were conducted, it was home to the president and his family, and it housed all the students, the cook, and other personnel. Within the building were the library, bookstore, and chapel (lecture hall), and all other facilities necessary to handle all functions of the College. Today the beautifully renovated facility, still and forever the Grand View landmark and the heart and soul of campus, houses the following administrative offices: President, Provost, Admissions, Advancement, College Relations, Finance and Administration, Financial Aid, Registrar, and Enrollment Management.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Hansen, Thorvald. And We Laid Foundation Here. . . : The Early History of Grand View College. Des Moines, IA: Grandview College, 1972.

Hansen, Thorvald. That All Good Seed Strike Root, A Centennial History of Grandview College. Des Moines, IA: Grand View College, 1996.

McHone, Ruth, and Samuel J. Klinensmith. Grand View College (Old Main). National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1978.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections, Facilities Management Office
Government Offices

Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
One Dupont Circle, Ste. 320
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006