General Views: Chicago Campus

Northwestern University's professional schools—Medical, Law, Commerce, Dental, and Pharmacy—were originally scattered in various locations throughout the city of Chicago. Each of them had been founded as separate schools, and although owned by the University, they had remained in their own buildings. The Medical school had long been located at Prairie Avenue and 26th Street, with its teaching hospitals nearby. The Law School and Dental School had their own buildings near downtown Chicago.

Under President Henry Wade Rogers in the early 1890s, Northwestern began moving to consolidate the professional schools, dissolving their separate boards of Trustees and integrating their coursework. In 1902, the University purchased the former Tremont House Hotel at Clark and Lake Streets in the Loop to house the Schools of Commerce, Dentistry and Law. The building was renamed the Northwestern University Building and helped to begin the process of unifying the schools. In the early 1910s the University began looking for land for a campus that could accommodate the schools in their own specialized buildings in one central location.

In 1920, the University purchased nine acres of land along Lake Michigan in the near-north-side Streeterville neighborhood, and architect James Gamble Rogers created a master plan for the major buildings to be erected there. Rogers’ commission for the Chicago Campus in 1922 was the first of many projects for Northwestern. Working in what became his signature “collegiate gothic” style, Rogers combined medieval ornamentation and forms with the requirements of modern buildings to create structures that captured the ambiance of Old English universities in American settings. In addition to the main Chicago Campus buildings (Ward, Wieboldt, and Levy Mayer), which opened in 1927, Rogers also designed Thorne Hall (1931) and Abbot Hall (1939), and went on to design many buildings for Northwestern University on the Evanston campus.

Ground was broken for the Chicago Campus in May, 1925, and dedication ceremonies for the new buildings were held in June, 1927. The campus itself was named the Alexander McKinlock Memorial Campus in memory of donor George McKinlock's son, who had died in World War I. During the Depression, when McKinlock's financial losses prevented him from continuing his promised support, the University forgave his debt and, in 1937, officially changed the name to the Chicago Campus. Over the years, the University purchased more land, increasing its land holdings to 25 acres, and constructed more buildings as needed. Passavant Hospital's decision to move to Northwestern's Chicago Campus in 1927 paved the way for the development of the multi-institution medical center that now makes up a substantial portion of the Campus. In addition to the Medical School, the Law School, the Kellogg School of Management, and School of Continuing Education are located here.

Chicago Campus: Postcard with "NU" on field
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