Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Old Main

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Institution Name: University of Findlay
Original/Historic Place Name: Old Main
Location on Campus: 1000 N. Main St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1882-1886original construction Rumbaugh, M.
Designer: M. Rumbaugh
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Victorian (Glossary)
Significance: education, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: brick
Roof: originally Virginia slate
ca. 1886library
ca. 1886other (cafeteria, laboratories)
ca. 1886gymnasium
1886-present (2006)old main
1886-present (2006)faculty offices
1886-present (2006)classrooms
1886-present (2006)auditorium (Ritz auditorium)
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (computer center)
ca. 2004-present (2006)administration

Findlay College began as a vision conceived by the Eldership of the Churches of God in North America (now Churches of God, General Conference) and fostered by the community spirit of the citizens of Findlay. Old Main was built during 1883-1886 as a joint effort between the city of Findlay, which donated $20,000 and 10 acres of land valued at $10,000, and the Churches of God, which was responsible for raising the remainder of the $49,000 estimated cost of the building.

The original building is four stories high (excluding the attic, but including the basement), with a main corridor in each story running the length of the building from north to south. Twin stairways are located at the north and south ends, originally intended for separate use by young ladies and gentlemen. Built at the beginning of a natural gas boom in the city of Findlay, the Old Main was one of the first college buildings to be heated by natural gas and reportedly was one of the largest college structures "west of the Appalachians." The original tall bell tower proved unstable and was lowered nearly two stories in 1912.

In 1955-56 the first major alteration extended the first floor toward the west to enlarge the library. An elevator was added in 1990 to meet ADA requirements. In 1997, shingles replaced the original "Virginia slate" roof, which had leaked from the beginning. Over the course of more than 120 years, the interior has been altered repeatedly to accommodate changing needs. A gym, cafeteria, laboratories, library, and snack bar have come and gone, but the central purpose as space for classrooms and offices has remained constant. Historically, Old Main is the only building in which nearly all of Findlay's nearly 19,000 alumni (minus a few in recent years who have completed online degrees or participated in off-site degree completion programs) have attended classes, and therefore, serves as a historical bond uniting generations of students.


Kern, Richard. Findlay College: The First Hundred Years. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Press, 1984.


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Last update: November 2006