Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New places, no places

We now have three open reference questions concerning campus architecture; it's odd how these things tend to come in packs. So, I've been learning much more about the buildings here on Marquam Hill on a daily basis, and today has been no exception.

Looking through the three Portland-based volumes of the seven-volume Ellis Lawrence Building Survey (held at University of Oregon), I came across three very interesting entries:

Psychopathic Hospital, U of O Medical School
Contagious Hospital, U of O Medical School (meant to adjoin the psychopathic hospital)
Multnomah County Hospital

Of the first, the inventory notes that it "was planned in 1933 but was contingent upon WPA funds which did not come through.... Later, in 1944-45, a proposal was again made for a psychiatric hospital which was again not built." While the money for the University-State Tuberculosis Hospital did come through in the 1930s, apparently contagious diseases as a whole were not as compelling to funding agencies.

Why would I single out Multnomah County Hospital as particularly interesting? Because, as it turns out, Lawrence didn't build it. The "significance statement" in the inventory reads: "According to a letter date 7/9/19, EFL [Ellis F. Lawrence] to Schroff stated, '...politics robbed us of the County Hospital, which went to Sutton and Whitney in spite of all the Regents could do.'" Especially interesting, since Lawrence almost didn't get the nod to design the campus' first building, the Medical Science Building (now called Mackenzie Hall) because of confusion over who was in charge of picking the architect (Medical School Dean Mackenzie or UO administrators). Who knew architectural history would involve such high drama!

Finally, a note about the "Arieta Branch" mentioned in Monday's post. The Multnomah County Library reference librarians came through in a flash and pointed out the spelling error: the Arleta Branch was in operation in southeast Portland from the early 1900s until it was replaced by the Holgate Library in 1971.

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