1916 : Engineering Building Burns at Michigan Agricultural College

March 5, 2022 all-day

Michigan State University is recalling a dark day in its long history: the 100th anniversary of a fire that destroyed the school’s engineering building.

The pre-dawn fire on March 5, 1916, likely began in the cement labs in the engineering building’s basement. No one died but the building was a total loss. It was less than 10 years old.

A century ago, MSU was known as Michigan Agricultural College. Auto executive R.E. Olds said he would contribute $100,000 to a new building, and Olds Hall opened 15 months after the fire.

It served as the home for engineering for 45 years until a larger building opened in 1962. Olds Hall is still in use and will turn 100 next year.

Source : “Century later, MSU remembers fire at engineering building”, Detroit Free Press, March 6, 2016.

Ablaze in 1916: On a quiet Sunday morning 100 years ago, Michigan State lost its Engineering Building to fire. MSU School of Engineering News Release, March 3, 2016.

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