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Sandra Swanson Weichert's
Historic Mount Oread

Campus Building Directory

This Week in
KU History

The University
of Kansas

Watson Library
Original Watkins Hall Success Duplicated with Miller Hall

This building has served, through several renovations, as the main library on the university campus since it opened in 1924. It was named after Carrie Watson, an 1877 KU graduate, who was the university librarian from her graduation until 1921. Watson Library replaced Spooner Library, which then became the Spooner Thayer Museum of Art.

In keeping with its English Gothic style, the building featured a moat-like excavation around the basement level, allowing more light to the study hall on the lower level. Major additions were made on the west side of the building in 1941, on the southeast side in 1950, and on the east end in 1962. The interior was totally renovated in 1981-82, when the grand entrance and ramp were rebuilt in keeping with the original plans.

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watson library
Location: Jayhawk Boulevard

Occupied: 1924

Architects: George L. Chandler; Ray L. Gamble, State Architect

Contractor: Arthur N. Newman and Co., Des Moines, IA

Levels: Five

Structure: Reinforced concrete, structural steel, penitentiary brick

Roof: Red clay flat tile; hip with end cross gables behind parapet facades

Exterior walls:
Indiana limestone, cut and coursed

Reinforced concrete

Door surrounds
Pointed glass transom under pointed arch

Window surrounds: First story: stone transforms under flat arch; second story: pointed stone arches over pre-cast art stone, engaged pilasters separate windows; mid-story bay windows at ends

Entry plaza: Rebuilt in 1982 based on original 1920s concept, with limestone walls, concrete ramp, iron railings and four side porches