Survey Spot: Faculty Row and Weather Bureau
Today, the Campus Archaeology Program will be conducting survey excavations at two spots on Abbott Road, across the street from the MSU Union. These sites are location of two structures, one of the Faculty Row buildings, and the old Weather Bureau building.
The Faculty Row structure was built in the 1890s. It was part of a long row of houses that were built for faculty during the 19th century, stretched along West Circle Drive. This Row ran from the corner of now Gilchrest Hall to Morrill Hall. By the 1910s, these building began to change function. Some became music practice houses, while others were turned over to the Home Economics department and used as practice houses. In the 1940s, when the West Circle Dormitory complex was completed, most of these buildings were torn down, except for the still standing Cowles House and the building under investigation this week, which became the first International Center.
The Weather Bureau Building was built in 1910, and carried on a long tradition at Michigan Agricultural College of weather observation. The building was constructed by the US Weather Bureau. A new building, now Wills House, was built in 1927 to house the Weather Bureau. The old Weather Bureau was then occupied by the Music Department, and stood in that capacity until 1949, when it was torn down.
We will be conducting shovel test survey in these locations for two reasons. First, MSU Landscape Services will be replacing sidewalks, and we want to use this opportunity to test underneath these paths if necessary. Second, these are areas that would be excellent locations for our summer field school, if there are any foundations in tact. Testing will allow us to make this determination.
Author: Terry Brock