Celebrate John Bennes and OSU as a National Historic District!

womens-pool.jpgOregon State University celebrates its historic status with a ceremony on Thursday, May 14th, to honor our history, architectural legacy, and National Historic District status. The university received this designation from the National Park Service and U.S. Department of the Interior last fall, and it places OSU on the National Register of Historic Places. So join us in the celebration — at corner of 15th and Jefferson or virtually on Flickr!

Who better to focus on than the man famous for designing many of our campus buildings for our latest Flickr set? We’ve created a new set, which lives in the OSU Archives Photograph Collection, to show you some great pictures of the buildings of John Bennes.

Bennes was a prolific Portland architect who designed more than 30 buildings on the Oregon State campus from 1907 to 1940. He was an admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright and an proponent of the “Prairie School” design for residences in Portland, but his styles ran the gamut and his unity of design at OAC was characterized by many as “exceptional.” Interestingly, his first building on the OAC campus was a dairy barn — the first of six he designed for the college — but he expanded his reach and designed all the buildings you see in this set. To learn more check out the Alumni Association site’s “Up Close and Personal: Campus Tour”, written by OSU Archivist Larry Landis.

And what about the historic designation? “The uniqueness of the place was not lost on the National Park Service, which recently announced that is has placed not just a building but an entire ‘historic district’ of OSU structures, green spaces and plans on the National Register of Historic Places. Some 83 ‘historic resources’ are involved, including such icons as Weatherford Hall, the Memorial Union and Benton Hall, which at the age of 116, is the oldest building on campus. OSU is now Oregon’s only public or private college or university so represented on the register. In fact, only a handful of campuses nationally have secured such a district, among them the College of William & Mary and Washington and Lee University.”

To learn more about OSU and the National Historic District, visit the “Oregon 150 at Oregon State” page.

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