From Prairie Sod to Campus Cornerstones

Memorial Union 01
Memorial Union, 1937.

Built: 1927-1928

Additions: 1938, 1948, 1950, 1957, 1964, 1972, 1978

Built as a memorial to those who lost their lives in World War I, the original construction included the main 5 story section and the Great Hall. By 1938, more space was desperately needed, and the south wing was built. The addition enlarged the dance space, increased the commons area, and included a bowling alley in the basement. An extension of the south wing in 1948 added 8 more bowling lanes and an addition to the southeast corner. Construction on the northwest corner started 1950, and included the west terrace, chapel, and browsing library. The bookstore and Sun Room were built in 1957-1958. The northeast section was built in 1964. This involved the Campanile Room, Regency Room, and Cardinal Room on the first floor, and the Pioneer Room on the second floor, and student office spaces on the ground floor. A southeast expansion for the bookstore and food court was completed in 1973, and two additional floors were built on the southeast wing in 1978-1979.

History of the organ in the Great Hall, by Dennis Wendell

Additional images of the Memorial Union

click for larger view

Memorial Union 02 Memorial Union 03
Memorial Union, 1953. West side. Memorial Union, no date.
Memorial Union 04 Memorial Union 05

Memorial Union, 1929.

View from Lake LaVerne.

Memorial Union, no date.

History of Campus Buildings at Iowa State University

Comments: University Archives
Created by: Andrea Reis, Research/Technical Assistant & Jill Osweiler Schaefer, Special Collections Librarian

Updated by: Michele Christian, University Records Analyst