Celebrating Iowa State’s Central Campus

Bailey Freestone

All aspects of Iowa State’s history are important to the story of the university, including the landscape and architectural designs.

Paula Mohr led a campus tour on Oct. 19 that illustrated the importance of every detail incorporated into the the design of Central Campus. Mohr, an architectural historian for the State Historical Society of Iowa, led the 30-person group from the Farm House Museum, through Central Campus and ended at the Fountain of the Four Seasons at the Memorial Union.

The tour was based off of a book called “Campus Beautiful” that Mohr and her colleagues have been writing for the past year. The book is expected to be published by the end of 2015.

“The book is about landscape, architecture and art programs at Iowa State, and how they all work together to make Iowa State such a special campus,” Mohr said.

Mohr wrote essays for the book concerning the landscape development of the ISU over the last 150 years. During the tour, Mohr talked about the research she had done about Curtiss Hall, Beardshear Hall, the Campanile, the Memorial Union and the Fountain of the Four Seasons.

During her research, Mohr learned a lot about the history of these buildings and how Central Campus’ landscape design and architectural design aren’t as organic or random as one might think. In fact, Mohr said that the campus was very well-thought-out, but the architects still had hopes of making it look organic.

Overall, the tour was very educational and helped explain why the architects involved chose to design Central Campus the way they did. Mohr did a great job of explaining and painting a picture of how campus looked originally and how it has changed in the last 150 years.

The book “Campus Beautiful” will be just as educational as the tour and will help its readers understand Iowa State’s history on a deeper level.