Professor Julie Cidell’s Fall 2017 Class’s Projects

The Geography 412 Class of Fall 2017 completed several interactive maps and analyses of historical maps as part of their coursework. These are all used with the students’ and Professor Julie Cidell’s permission and available below.

Interactive Maps Gallery

Analyses of Historical Maps

1932 Campus Map

The Campus map from 1932 created by James M White, the supervising architect, shows the new construction plans along with permanent structures and buildings to be removed on campus. Made available to the public online through the University of Illinois Archives, this map is one of many historical architectural maps of campus. The information for this particular map came from a previous map dated 1930 that was designed by the same supervising architect. The visual language depicted here shows new building plans, buildings to be taken down and permanent structures, allowing us to see a step in the long process of constructing the campus we know today. During this time in America, the nation was undergoing the Great Depression. The new Armory had just been constructed having been completed in 1927, with three trees planted out in front as memorials for three U of I students that died in WWI. To provide some context, Memorial Stadium was completed in 1923. The term “Fighting Illini” was a rallying point towards its construction as a way to honor alumni, staff, and students who died during the war.

Back in the 1930’s campus was very different from the way it is now–, namely it was much smaller. Although there were trolleys linking the cities of Champaign and Urbana, transportation from one end of campus to the other was pretty limited, whereas now we have CUMTD busses running all day, something that today’s students likely take for granted. Additionally, today we have sidewalks running through the main Quad, whereas in 1932 they did not exist, making it more difficult for students to get to their classes. The campus that exists today is much larger than what it was in 1932, and the map depicts a moment in time of transition. Zooming in on Boneyard creek, this map shows it running through a “future building (solid white outline), indicating that it will have to be rerouted for the new construction to take place. Knowing the campus cultural history of Boneyard creek, these structural changes to campus still did not put an end to the tradition of dunking freshmen and having a class tug-of-war over the creek.

Because this map was created by the lead architect of the construction of new buildings at UIUC, it was probably not meant for the general public to see. Therefore, some lines are smudged, there are yellow lines with measurements listed that are not included in the legend, and most buildings are not labeled. We can only see the shapes and locations of buildings and not their interiors of functions, which leaves out important context for interpreting what campus was like in 1932. We can only overlay our current knowledge and experiences to infer what the buildings and campus as a whole were like, even though they were most likely drastically different from that with which we are presently familiar. Finally, there are no dates included to refer to when the new buildings will be completed and the old ones will be taken down, which hinders us in determining which plans were executed first. The scale is appropriate to the map, because the shapes of the buildings are recognizable, and the street names are visible as well. Providing dates and times of the construction periods for each building would help us to understand when these buildings will become a part of campus.