University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Historic Preservation Program

There are several programs that recognize historic properties on the campus of, or nearby to, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The most visible program is the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places (NRHP; for information on this program see National Register on this menu). Additionally, there are several properties designated as National Historic Landmarks (NHL), also through the NRHP program. The University itself does not have an official recognition program.

National Historic Landmark listing is the highest status which may be awarded to a historic property. NHL’s are buildings, sites, districts, structures, and objects that have been determined by the Secretary of the Interior to be nationally significant in American history and culture. Key here is national significance. Fewer than 2,500 NHLs have been designated in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands as well as in the Pacific Basin as opposed to over 70,000 listings on the National Register of Historic Places. NHL’s receive the highest protection under federal law. While demolition is not prohibited, when federal money is involved, that action is given great scrutiny by the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. In addition, the National Park Service is required to submit an annual report to Congress on the status of every NHL in the United States. However, NHL status does not require property maintenance, nor does it restrict the use of private money used to change or even demolish an NHL property. An estimated 20% of NHLs are threatened with destruction and loss. For additional information, visit the National Landmark website.

Another federal program for documenting historic properties is the Historic American Building Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER). HABS/HAER maintains records of America’s built environment. The collection is contained in drawings, photographs, and written histories for more than 35,000 historic structures and sites dating from pre-Columbian times to the twentieth century. On-line records are available. One UIUC property that is documented in HABS/HAER is Engineering Hall. However, the State of Illinois has a similar program, ILHABS. A number of University buildings, including the South Farms, have been documented under this program.

The following are a few resources that document the historic properties of the University of Illinois’ campus at Urbana-Champaign.

University of Illinois Resources Related to Campus Historic Properties:

  • Historic Preservation Report, 1998.   University of Illinois Archives, series number 24/5/815.  Historic Preservation (1998) reports and planning guidelines for facilities projects involving historic architectural resources includes a summary history of campus development, statement of historic preservation objectives, planning principles and objectives, and copies maps and plans showing location of historic buildings and campus development.
  • Historic Property Management Program. Includes a link to the University of Illinois Campus Historic Preservation Plan
  • Historic Building Documentation & Photographs, 1989-98 (in the University of Illinois archives)
  • Lachlan F. Blair Papers, 1919, 1933-2000 (in the University of Illinois archives)
  • Campus Tour (with building descriptions, photos, and links to National Landmarks at the University of Illinois)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Historic Property Listings

The following buildings on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are recognized by listing on the National Register of Historic Places and/or as National Historic Landmarks (two).

  • Altgeld Hall, 1897
  • Chemical Laboratory, 1878
  • Farm House/Mumford House, 1870
  • Library, 1926
  • Metal Shop, 1895
  • Military Drill Hall & Men’s Gymnasium, 1890
  • Morrow Plots, 1876
  • Natural History Building, 1892
  • Tina Weedon Smith Memorial Hall, 1917
  • UI Experimental Dairy Farm Historic District, 1907-13
  • Women’s Gymnasium/Freer Hall, 1930
  • Astronomical Observatory, 1896
  • Warm Air Research House, 1924
  • Women’s Residential Hall, 1926