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NDSU’s First Building


It was this day, March 8th 1890, that a bill established the North Dakota Agricultural College, the forerunner of NDSU. Although established, it would take another year before the State Legislature appropriated the money needed to erect the school’s first permanent building.

Prior to construction of College Hall, now known as Old Main, the Agricultural College’s first classes were held in a Fargo basement and a nearby farm.

The building was certainly an improvement for the school’s 123 students, but was perhaps a bit crowded. College Hall initially packed within its walls the chemistry, biology, botanical, veterinary and math departments. The unfinished third floor was utilized as a gym and the tower housed the president’s office.

Old Main’s importance has diminished over time as other buildings have been constructed. However, NDSU’s first permanent structure remains one of the schools most beautiful and iconic buildings.

Written by Lane Sunwall


History of North Dakota State University


History of Old Main


NDSU History and Traditions Council