About Building History

Building History is a digital collection created and curated by the Paul V. Galvin Library at Illinois Institute of Technology. Building History shows Illinois Tech's Mies Campus as it is and as it once was, exploring the ways that the campus and the Bronzeville neighborhood around it have changed (and changed each other) since the Armour Institute opened its doors in 1893.  

The Illinois Institute of Technology's Mies campus is a modernist landmark with 20 buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Bronzeville, once known as Chicago's "Black Metropolis," was  a center of African-American entertainment and commerce in early 20th century Chicago, home to jazz clubs, renowned artists and thinkers, and prominent African-American owned businesses. Building History explores the intersections between the college campus and the neighborhood that was rapidly changing around it, depicting modernist innovations like S.R. Crown hall, neighborhood landmarks like the Mecca Flats, and converted State Street storefronts that become classroom buildings as the campus grew. 

Building names and dates have been verified whenever possible, with documentation of sources included on each building's page. When multiple names exist over time for a structure, preference is given to the most recent or most prevalent name. Additional and former names for each building are provided, with dates of approximate use, when available.

Building History will continue to grow as a result of new campus construction, further historical research, and new features that will provide new ways to understand these buildings, the campus, and the neighborhood around it. If you have suggestions for how we can make the site better, stories to tell about a building, or a correction in our data about the buildings, please email us at digitalcollections@iit.edu.

Using Building History

When the map loads, current campus buildings are shaded in red. Clicking on a building loads a window with a few images (if available) and information about the building. There is a link at the bottom of each window that can be clicked to see more images and information about each building.

The timeline at the bottom of the map can be used to see the campus as it existed in the past. Simply scroll to the desired year and watch red buildings disappear and other buildings appear. 

Buildings that appear in purple are structures that no longer exist, but were once part of either the Illinois Tech or Armour Institute of technology campus. Bronze buildings indicate locations that were Bronzeville businesses or civic buildings. Building names may change to reflect the major name changes that occurred over the life of a structure. Building colors will change to indicate when they transitioned to Illinois Tech or Armour Institute use or ownership.

The image pages (e.g., http://buildinghistory.iit.edu/image/1998_199_SS1-12), use the zoom controls or mouse clickwheel to zoom in or out, then click and drag to move around the zoomed image.  

Credits & Acknowledgements

Building History is powered by Omeka, a free and open-source software for digital publishing created by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. The site also uses the Neatline, a project of the University of Virginia's Scholar's Lab, as well as the Neatline Simile and Waypoints plugins. The site's theme is based on David McClure's Neatlight theme for Omeka and Neatline. Building History also uses the Panzoom jQuery plugin. 

Building History was created by Adam Strohm, Digital Intiatives Librarian, and Max King, Information Technology Librarian, at the Paul V. Galvin Library. The research of Catherine Bruck, former University Archivist at Illinois Tech, was an invaluable source of information about the campus. Present University Archivist Ralph Pugh and Claire Arnold, Special Projects Assistant at Galvin, provided crucial help with research, as well as image selection and creation. Kim Soss and Molly Lee at the Graham Resource Center also offered support. Other university faculty and staff that provided assistance, advice, or otherwise deserve thanks for their help with this project include David Baker, Leroy Kennedy and the Office of Community Affairs and Outreach Programs, and Michelangelo Sabatino. Rolf Achilles and the Chicago History Museum kindly granted permission to use some of the archival photographs on the site.

Rights & Usage Information

Unless otherwise noted, all images in this digital collection are from the collection of the Illinois Instite of Technology University Archives. We have indicated what we know about these materials and their respective creators or copyright holders. Commercial use or distribution of any work on this site is not permitted without prior permission of the copyright holder. Contact University Archives (archives@iit.edu) or the indicated copyright owner to request reproduction of these images.

The theme and plugin files for Building History can be accessed on github for use or consultation.


A complete list of the sources used to compile this data in this digital collection can be accessed at buildinghistory.iit.edu/sources


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