Don Pritchard's Memory
Former University of Illinois President's home, northeast corner of Green and Wright streets, currently the site of Everitt Laboratory.
Big white columns
"When I started working in the department in 1947, we were located in the Electrical Engineering Research Lab. At that time, this site [Everitt Lab] was a big white house with columns. It was the President's house, and later became the health center."
Another view of the old University of Illinois President's house, currently the site of Everitt Laboratory.
Ka-chunk ka-chunk! and red-hot rivets
"I remember when they built Everitt, they had to drive these 40-45 foot long pilings into the ground. They said it would only take six to eight weeks, but it ended up taking all summer. It was so loud: ka-chunk ka-chunk! ka-chunk ka-chunk! ka-chunk ka-chunk! . . . all summer long.
"Then they put the frame together with red-hot rivets. A fellow was down at ground level with tongs and a forge, and he'd toss the red-hot rivets to the fellows two and three stories up. They would catch the rivets with buckets and put them in place before they cooled. There were men working on the ground beneath them, and never once did I see them drop a rivet."
The Presidential greenhouse was located north of the Boneyard and east of Wright Street, near the current site of Everitt Lab. The greenhouse has since been moved to the new President's house on Florida Avenue.
Minnows and crawdads
"There was a bridge behind the President's house that went across the Boneyard to the greenhouse. You could jump across the boneyard back then, and I remember seeing minnows and crawdads in the water."
Looking south across the Boneyard to the old President's house, currently the site of Everitt Laboratory.
"Over the years, all the concrete and blacktop put in upstream has led to flooding of the Boneyard, but back then it never flooded. There was an occasional gulley-washer, but no floods.
"By the time I got here in '47, only the handrail was left on that bridge."
Burril Avenue, looking north toward Green Street, with the white columns of the old president's house barely visible in the distance. The avenue crossed what is now the Bardeen Quad, east of Everitt Laboratory.
Drifts of leaves
"Green Street was brick, and completely shaded by elm trees. The leaves would be 15-18 inches deep in the fall, and the wind would cause drifts of leaves. I remember seeing cars on Green that were pushing along piles of leaves in front of them."Return from Don Pritchard's Memory