Old University on campus

Stone from Douglas Hall
Relic from Old University of Chicago

Stone from Douglas Hall, demolished in 1890

This stone from Douglas Hall at the Old University of Chicago, named after the University’s benefactor Stephen A. Douglas, is part of the Classics building in the Hyde Park campus of the University of Chicago. The stone was donated to the University in 1927 by C.N. Koenitzer, an alum of Old University of Chicago and author of History of the first University of Chicago, 1856-1886, an unpublished manuscript. The stone was installed into its current location sometime between 1928 and 1931.

plaque of first University
Plaque commemorating First University of Chicago

A detail of the plaque installed above relic from Douglas Hall

The plaque installed above the stone from Douglas Hall shows the original building and read "THE FIRST UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO." The plaque was donated by C.N. Koenitzer at the same time as the stone.

bronze relief of Stephen A. Douglas
Bronze tablet in Hutchinson Commons

Donated in honor of Stephen A. Douglas

This bronze relief was donated to the University by the Class of 1901 in honor of the decennial celebration of the newly incorporated University of Chicago. It is mounted on the wall outside Mandell Hall. Speeches given at the dedication of the tablet were published in the University Record for 1901-02. The plaque reads, "In honor of Stephen A. Douglas who in 1855 generously contributed to the founding of the first university established in Chicago. This tablet is erected on June 1901 by the decennial class of the University of Chicago."

"C" bench outside Cobb Hall
Relic from Old University of Chicago

"C" bench outside Cobb Hall

E. A. Buzzell, a graduate of the last class of the old University of Chicago, donated stones from the old campus as part of Alumnae Day in 1922. These stones were part of Douglas Hall on the old University of Chicago campus. They were place in front of the "C bench" outside Cobb Hall in 1923. The plaque under the stones reads "1856 1886/ FROM/ OLD UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO." The Daily Maroon reported on October 3, 1923, on the installation of the stones, "...the keystone of the old University, symbolizing the growth of our school from that beginning, as does the Phoenix on our shield."

Speech dedicating tablet for Stephen A. Douglas

Excerpt of a speech by Mr. A. E. Bestor, President of the Class of 1901, presenting the plaque of Stephen A. Douglas as the Class gift to the University. (H. H. Nelson, "The Class Day Exercises," University of Chicago. University record. Volume 6, 1901-1902. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 74.)

The reason for the gift was to commemorate the ties between the old and the new University. In a speech dedicating the plaque and tablet, the Class President noted the important role that Douglas' the financial support and advocacy played in the the creation of the old University and its continuing importance for the existence of the new University.

"This tablet is significant too of the bond that should bind the students of the new University of Chicago to the alumni of the old. The alumni of the two institutions find little enough in common, but they are being brought nearer and nearer together. May our gift today strengthen this bond of sympathy. This will show through all time that the old University has not been forgotten by the new; it will show that the founder and father of the old is given credit for his particular part in the inspiration of the new."

Donors and trustees in old and new University

John Boyer, The University of Chicago: A History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), 59.

It is important to remember that some of the strongest ties between the old and new University were financial and human. For instance, John Boyer has shown that a large portion of the donors and trustees of the new University of Chicago were originally associated with the old University.