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ILLINOIS STATE NORMAL UNIVERSITY
AT NORMAL, MACLEAN COUNTY.
The State Normal University owes its existence to a deep-seated conviction of the want of more well-instructed teachers for the free schools of Illinois. The question of establishing a school of some kind to supply this want, had been discussed by the leading educators of the State for several
years; but the project of establishing a distinct and separate Normal School, first assumed a definite form at the annual meeting of the State Teachers' Association, at Chicago, in Dec. 1856.
After a protracted debate, a resolution unanimously prevailed, asking the Legislature to make an appropriation for the establishment and maintenance of a Normal School, and Messrs. Wright, Wilkins and Esta BROOK were directed to lay the subject before the Legislature, on behalf of the Association. The late Superintendent of Public Instruction, Hon. N. W. Edwards, in his Report to the Legislature for 1856, recommended the establishment of such a school, and aided the project by his presence and influence. Hon. William A. POWELL, the new Superintendent, labored heartily for the enterprise. These gentlemen were met by a liberal spirit on the part of both Houses, especially the Educational Committees, and an act was drafted, discussed and passed, establishing and endowing a Normal UNIVERSITY, and creating a State Board of Education, under whose control it should go into operation.
The act provides that the avails of the Seminary and University funds, ($300,000) shall be appropriated for the support of the Institution, but no part thereof can be used in purchasing a site or erecting buildings. The Board were instructed to locate the University in that city or town, accessible, and not otherwise objectionable, which should offer the greatest donation. It was understood that the central portions of the State were “accessible,” and there competition ran high. At first almost every enterprising town in the interior took the initiatory steps toward making a bid ; but some time before the day for opening the proposals, it was whispered round that Bloomington and Peoria were ahead of all competitors. Most of the smaller towns declined to submit their proposals, and the contest virtually lay between the two cities. The Board of Education, in a body, visited these points and examined the sites offered. The site at Bloomington consisted in two tracts of rolling prairie, one of 56, the other of 104 acres, connected by a narrow neck and lying about a mile and a half north of the city, near the junction of the railroads. The site at Peoria consisted of fifteen acres of land lying on the bluff, just back of and overlooking the city, and affording, doubtless, the most varied prospect in the State.
Upon opening the bids, it was found that Peoria had offered in the aggregate, including the estimated value of the site, over $80,000; and
Fig. 2. Plan of BABEMENT. In this story, (Fig. 2,) are the Janitor's House, (1,) consisting of a parlor, kitchen, cellar, three bedrooms, etc.; storage room, (2); laboralory, (3); chemical-lecture rooin (4); boys' play-room for Model School (5); boiler or furnace rooms (6); girls' play. room for Model School (7); corridor (8); filtering cisterns (9); and stairways (10).
that Bloomington had offered in the aggregate, including the estimated value of the site, over $140,000. McLean county, by an appropriation
Fig. 3. Plan op First Floor. In the principal story, (Fig. 3) 15 feet high in the clear, are the Principal's room, 30ft.x22ft. 6in. (1); the reception room, 31st. 6in. X27ft. (2); book and apparatus room, 31ft. 6in. X27ft. (3); teachers' retiring room, 30ft. X 22ft. 6in. (4); gentlemen's wardrobe, 32ft.X19ft. 9in. (5); masters' wardrobe for Model School, 3žst.x10ft. 2in. (6); Model-School rooms, 32x32ft. and 25ft. 6in.+37st. 6in. (7); misses' wardrobe for Model School, 32ft. xloft. 2in. (8); corridors (9); and the stairways (10).
of $70,000 from her swamp-land fund, enabled Bloomington thus to outstrip her rival.
We know of nothing more honorable than this competition between the different towns of Illinois, for the advantages which must flow from an institution of this kind rightly managed, in all future time.
Fig. 4. PLAN OF SECOND FLOOR. In the second story, (Fig. 4,) 16 feet high in the clear, are the Normal School room, 60X66ft. (1); iwo lecture rooms, 51x32ft
. (2); four class rooms, 30X23ft. (3) two class rooms, 27x15ft. (4); and the stairways (5).
The Board of Education elected Prof. C. E. Hovey, (Principal of the Union School of Peoria,) Principal, and adopted, on his recommendation and that of G. P. Randall, Architect, of Chicago, the plan of a building to accommodate three hundred normal pupils, and two hundred model school pupils, and to be erected at a cost of $80,000. The exterior and internal arrangements of the building, are represented in the diagrams: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
In the third story (Fig. 5,) 20 feet high in the clear, are the Normal Hall, 65x75 ft. (1); library, 32it. 4in. X48st. 6in. (2); museum, 32ft. 4in. X48 ft. 6in. (3); gallery of painting and statuary, 32ft. 4in. X48ft. 6in. (4); music room, 32x25ft. (5); and an ante room, 32ft. 4in. X22ft. 4 in. (6).
The building is warmed by steam, and the ventilation of each room is secured by a separate flue properly constructed for this purpose.
The seats and desks are manufactured by Joseph L. Ross, Boston, after the most approved patterns.