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Dukes Building was the first building to be erected on campus after the departure of Dr. Lehr. Lehr himself was aware of his difficulties in raising funds for his rapidly growing institution, and this was a factor in his decision to sell Northern to the Methodist Church in 1899.
Lehr's successor, Dr. Leroy Belt, a Methodist minister, was presumably able to use his church affiliation to appeal to Louis Dukes. Dukes was a prosperous farmer in Hancock County, Ohio, who was also a member of the Methodist Church. In January 1902, Dukes offered $10,000 for a new building on condition that local donors contribute an equal sum. Sufficient funds were raised to permit the building's cornerstone to be laid on Sunday, July 27, 1902. On Monday, April 20, 1903, the first classes were held inside.
The College of Pharmacy endured the longest tenure in Dukes, occupying space there from 1903-1966, when the present Robertson-Evan Pharmacy Building was opened. Over the years, several renovations were carried out, with the one in 1951-1952 being the most extensive. At that time, an addition to the rear of Dukes was completed that housed an animal laboratory and restrooms. The addition was removed in May 1994.
The departure of the College of Pharmacy in 1966 allowed the chemistry department to move from the first to the second and third floors. English was then given the first floor. Chemistry remained in Dukes until the completion of the Meyer Hall of Science in October 1970.
In 1971, the education department moved from Brown Hall to the third floor of Dukes, its current location. That same year, the Department of Modern Languages also relocated to Dukes. In 1974, the department's Schoonover Audio Center was moved from Presser Hall to Dukes's second floor.
By the early 1990s, it was apparent that Dukes would need to be expanded. Work on the project began in May 1994 with the removal of the old animal lab. The addition was dedicated in May 1995 and named in honor of Prof. C. H. Freeman. Fall 2002 saw the groundbreaking for yet another addition to the west end of Dukes.
Belch, Eugene. "Tempered by Crises." 1971. Online (2006). Ohio Northern University, Ada, OH. http://www.onu.edu/library/onuhistory/ohistory.htm
Kennedy, Sara Lehr. H. S. Lehr and His School. Ada, OH: Ohio Northern University Press, 1983. Online (2006) http://www.onu.edu/library/onuhistory/ohistory.htm
Lehr, Henry Solomon. History of the ONU. Ada, OH: Ohio Northern University Press, 1994.
Logsdon, Paul. An ONU Photo Album, 1997. Online (2006). Ohio Northern University, Ada, OH. http://www.onu.edu/library/onuhistory/ohistory.htm