Published: Thursday, July 31, 2003
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 00:06
It has been the victim of two fires, discussed for its inaccessibility and threatened to be demolished more than once. Lord Hall, though, remains standing as a historical reminder of the early days of the Ohio State campus.
Completed in 1906 and originally called the School of Mines Building, Lord Hall was designed by architect Frank L. Packard. There is a discrepancy in the total cost of the building as it has been listed as $114,615.83 and $128,864.15.
In 1918, a new two-story section was added to the building at a cost of $24,172.20. Another addition was made in 1940 to extend the first floor, costing an additional $39,980 for the university.
The building was renamed Lord Hall in 1912 in honor of Nathaniel Wright Lord, the first dean of the College of Engineering and the first director of the School of Mines. Lord worked at OSU for 35 years before he died of heart failure on May 23, 1911.
Shortly after Lord's death, a petition surfaced to rename the mines building after him. Lord's sister, Caroline, an artist, was asked to paint a portrait of her brother to hang in the newly renamed building. A bronze plaque was made to dedicate the building to Lord, and, in fact, still hangs in Lord Hall.
Lord Hall, made of wood and brick and listed as not fire proof in the OSU archives, has caught fire twice. The first was in 1959 when a painter's cloth fell onto a light bulb that was left on overnight. This fire caused considerable damage to the third floor, and other parts of the building suffered water and smoke damage. The cost for repairs was reported as $170,000.
The second fire occurred on May 4, 1970 when a firebomb was thrown into the building during protests against the Vietnam War. The university's printing facilities were inside the building, and the fire damaged photocopy equipment.
Lord Hall has faced a worse fate than fire damage though. The building has been listed for demolition for years because it is inaccessible. The process of updating the building would cost the university more than if the university were to completely destroy it. The building does not have an elevator for handicapped students and faculty to use.
It remains unknown when or if Lord Hall is slated for demolition.
Today, the building is home to the Department of Anthropology. It also is used as extra space for any department needing more room.
Lord Hall, at least for now, still remains standing as an example of early OSU.