19th Century


Unless otherwise noted, the date indicates when the building opened. Follow the link to learn more about the history of a building or architect.

See a map of the 1897-98 campus, from the contemporary 22nd Annual Catalogue of the University of Oregon.


  • 1846-Eugene Skinner settled at site now called Skinner's Butte.
  • 1851-the Millrace was developed to serve as a generator of electricity for Hilyard Shaw's sawmill and later other local industries.
  • 1859-Oregon becomes a state.
  • 1862-The city of Eugene is incorporated.
  • 1868- Oregon Agricultural College, formerly Corvallis College, is established as the land-grant university.


  • Several Eugene citizens form the Union University Association to convince the legislature to select Eugene as the site of a proposed university. An enabling legislative act allowed Eugene to proceed-- with the guarantee that its citizens provide land and a $50,000 building.


  • Pioneer Cemetery
  • Construction begins on UO's first building (to be named Deady Hall).



  • The interior of the University Building (Deady Hall) is completely finished.


  • Increasing debts gave rise to the idea of selling the university. Henry Villard, financial and railroad entrepreneur, donated substantial funding --enough to pay off debts and to establish an endowment. 


  • The plans for Villard Hall were ready by May 1885 and the cornerstone was laid with great ceremony on July 28, 1885.  The building opened in 1886.
  • The Normal Gate, an ornamental arbor crafted from wrought iron, was given to UO in 1885 in commemoration of the Normal School that ended that year.




  • The 15th Annual Catalogue of the University of Oregon (1890-91) provides this description of campus buildings:  

BUILDINGS. The University has on its campus three brick buildings.One was erected in part by the citizens of Lanecounty and finished by the State. It is one hundred andfifteen feet long, fifty-four feet wide, and three storieshigh, besides the basement. The second building, namedby the Regents Villard Hall,  is made of brick, and hasa concrete finish on the outside. It is one hundred and fifteen feet in length, sixty-nine feet wide, and two storieshigh above basement. The third brick building was erected by the Regents in 1889, at a cost of about four thousand five hundred dollars, for a gymnasium. It containsthe most approved apparatus for exercise. A brick observatory, on an eminence convenient to the University, has been erected by the Regents, at a cost of about four thousand dollars.

LIBRARY. The University Library occupies a room in Villard Hall, and contains at present about three thousand volumes. A part of the books was bought at a cost of one thousand dollars, by Mr. Henry Villard. Another part has since been bought at a cost of seven hundred dollars,out of the income from the Villard endowment fund.The annual sum coming from the Villard fund for thepurchase of books for the library is four hundred dollars. This money is now spent in buying books of reference for the use of the University. Through the influence of the Hon. J. N. Dolph, Oregon's United States Senator, the library has been made the depository of all documents published by the general government at Washington. In the library room may also he found a large number of magazines, reviews, and other periodicals published in England and America. There is no charge for the use of an these books and periodicals.



  • Collier House was purchased by UO in May 1896.  It was used as a library (first floor) and as a residence for the UO president.  The barn was used as an observatory.  The landscape of the home was a prominent feature of the university campus.


Page author: Ed Teague