The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
West Physics Building

The growth of the University in the years subsequent to the Civil War and the demand for special training in physics, particularly for students of engineering and medicine, made imperative a new physics building, which was authorized by the Regents in July, 1887, with an appropriation of $30,000 for the construction. At the October, 1887, meeting of the Regents the Committee on Buildings and Grounds reported that they had accepted the design of the architects, Pond and Pond, of Chicago, who had consulted with Professor Henry Smith Carhart and Dr. Victor C. Vaughan concerning the general room arrangement and the interior conveniences of the building. The contract for the construction was awarded to Daniel J. Ross for $26,973.99. The building, the third floor of which was to be used as a Hygienic Laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Vaughan, was completed in 1888. Out of the original appropriation an unexpended balance of $176.93 remained at the time of completion, which was used to purchase appliances for the Hygienic Laboratory.

On the completion of the West Medical Building in 1903, the Hygienic Laboratory was moved into the new quarters, leaving much needed room for further development of the Department of Physics. Even this expansion was found insufficient, however, and in 1905 another addition was made. Pond and Pond were the architects for the addition as well as for the main building. Koch Brothers of Ann Arbor were awarded the contract for the sum of $23,000 (R.P., 1901-6, p. 514). When completed it cost about $35,000.

Page  1755The Physics Building, which is of red brick, is 56 by 192 feet, comprises 18,497 square feet of floor area and is valued, exclusive of equipment, at $64,269. It is on the south side of the main campus, next to the Engineering Annex, between the General Library and the Clements Library. Included in the 1905 addition was a well-equipped lecture room accommodating 400 students, long used, until the erection of later buildings, as the one available, medium-sized auditorium on the campus. From about 1910 until 1925 the West Lecture Room was used for the daily summer session lectures under the charge of Dean Kraus.

At the present time the building provides space for the lectures, recitations, and laboratory classes in general physics and for two offices. There is also storage space for demonstration and laboratory apparatus; the physics instrument shop and the glassblower are also in this building.