Morrow Plots

Why Was the Undergraduate Library Built Underground?

An often-asked question regarding the Undergraduate Library is why it was built underground.  The common answer given by most is that the architects simply did not want to cast shade on the neighboring Morrow Plots. Another reason was that the Campus Master Plan of the day required an open mall behind the Auditorium to maintain symmetry.

Morrow Plots on the U of I campus.

The Morrow Plots– with the Undergraduate Library Plaza to the left

The Morrow Plots are the oldest experimental field in the United States as well as containing the oldest continuous corn plot in the entire world. The fields were established in 1876 by George E. Morrow and Manley Miles. For more information visit The Morrow Plots: A Century of Learning from the Department of Crop Sciences.

morrow plots and the genomic building

Morrow plots looking from the Undergraduate Library to the Institute for Genomic Biology


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