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North Dakota State University (North Dakota Agricultural College)

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North Dakota Agricultural College
1890–present. North and west of 12th Ave. N and University Dr. N

The bill establishing North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC) as a land grant college was signed in 1890, seven years after the initial proposals to start an agricultural school in the northern portion of Dakota Territory. The south end of the campus is a thirty-six-acre historic district with twelve National Register buildings dating from 1890 to 1949. Designs by William C. Albrant, Milton E. Beebe, Hancock Brothers, and William F. Kurke can be found from Montana to Minnesota, but nowhere are they as concentrated as at this campus. Unlike stylistically unified campuses like the Collegiate Gothic University of North Dakota (GF21) or Dickinson State University (SK10), the NDSU campus reflects all the architectural styles that were in vogue at the time a new building was planned. Originally accessed from entrance gates at the intersection of University Drive and 12th Avenue North, the core of academic buildings was compact and organized along a curving drive, now a pedestrian walk, shaded by elm trees. Early development of the campus was guided by a master plan prepared in 1892 or 1893 by A. W. Spalding. It set the precedent for the meandering drives and pathways in the historic south part of the campus, and provided for an unrealized lagoon along the natural drainage swale to the west.

Early landscape enhancement of the campus was accomplished by C. B. Waldron, professor of agriculture, horticulture, and landscape gardening, assisted by H. W. McArdle and focused on the idea of agricultural demonstration and specimen plantings. In 1922, a unified campus design was recommended by Minneapolis landscape architects Morell and Nichols, the firm so influential in the campus layouts of most North Dakota state institutions. A 1947 Morell and Nichols redesign shifted the center of campus activities northward to accommodate campus growth for the next half century. Noteworthy landscape features of the campus include the campus mall that is east of Memorial Union (originally designated as Dakota Field for athletics and military drills) and three National Register agricultural demonstration plots west of 18th Street.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


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Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "North Dakota State University (North Dakota Agricultural College)", [Fargo, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 48-49.

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