The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
(Old) Heating Plant

The building near the southeast corner Page  1640of the campus, used until 1942 as the Reserve Officers' Training Corps headquarters, was originally the central heating plant of the University. From the central station the first tunnel system, of brick, was extended to the various buildings on the old campus. The conduit was 5 ½ by 6 ½ feet high. The floor was of Portland cement, and workmen could pass from one end to the other in making repairs.

The structure was built of cut stone in 1894 at a cost of about $57,000. In June of that year Regent Butterfield submitted the following resolution, which was adopted:

Resolved, That the proposition of A. Harvey's Sons Manufacturing Company, Limited, to construct a central heating plant on the University grounds for the sum of $44,150, be accepted, provided the said Harvey's Sons Manufacturing Company will make amended specifications, execute a contract, and give the required bonds and guarantees, all of which must be satisfactory to the Committee on Buildings and Grounds, and no liability shall attach to the University until all the necessary papers are executed. At which time the Committee on Buildings and Grounds are hereby authorized to proceed with the work, make estimates and authorize the payment of the same, and in all ways to act for the Board of Regents in the erection and completion of said works.


(R.P., 1891-96, pp. 314-15.)

The system must have proved to be highly satisfactory for in April, 1895, the following resolution was adopted:

That the Board of Regents commend the Heating Plant put in for the University by A. Harvey's Sons, of Detroit, as a work worthy the examination of practical and scientific men interested in such work and as a model to be copied by similar institutions and others requiring heating plants for detached buildings.(R.P., 1891-96, p. 422.)

The building had a gross floor area of 17,235 square feet and measured 85 by 93 feet. The smokestack connected with this old heating plant was a campus landmark for many years. It was originally 125 feet high, but the upper part was removed in 1924. After the erection of the present heating and power plant on Washington Street, the old heating plant building was used for some time as an engineering laboratory, but in 1923 it was turned over to the Reserve Officers' Training Corps as a center for their activities.