Mount Oread

Lawrence, KS 66045

The curving, W-shaped limestone ridge where KU’s main campus was built received this name from Ferdinand Fuller on Aug. 1, 1854, when he and the other settlers in the New England Emigrant Aid Society arrived.

Abolitionists in Boston and New England -- including Amos Lawrence, for whom the new town was named -- funded the contingent and sent sent it west to ensure that the Kansas Territory joined the Union as a free state.

Fuller named the hill after the Oread Institute in his hometown, Worcester, Mass.; in Greek mythology an "oread” (pronounced OR-ee-ad) is a mountain nymph.

An architect, Fuller designed several Lawrence buildings and the first university hall, North College, a three-story stucco structure of brick and stone, 50 feet square.

Construction began in 1865 on the original eight-acre campus site, and the university opened Sept. 12, 1866. It had a chancellor, R.W. Oliver; three faculty members, including the young Francis H. Snow, later chancellor; a lecturer in hygiene; and a janitor. All 55 of its first students were enrolled in preparatory classes.

After University College—later named Fraser Hall—was completed in 1872, North College was vacant for several years, then used as a state school until 1889, by the School of Law (1889-93) and by the School of Fine Arts (1893-1917).

It began deteriorating and was ordered closed by the state architect in 1918 and was demolished in 1919 by a U.S. Army tank brought to Lawrence for the last Liberty Loan fund drive of World War I. The parking lot for GSP/Corbin occupies the site; a small monument there includes the building's original threshold.

Elevations at various campus and city locations, compiled from topographical maps:
Between Carruth-O'Leary and JRP halls: 1,036 feet (highest point)
At Fraser Hall: 1,031 feet
At Lippincott Hall: 1,027 feet
At Strong Hall: 1,025 feet
At 14th and Tennessee streets: 900 feet
At Ninth and Massachusetts streets: 846 feet