|Location: University of Illinois, South Quad||Official Address: 1403 W. Lorado Taft Drive, Urbana||Date of construction: 1870||Listed, National Historic Register|
History of Mumford House
Mumford House is the oldest structure still standing on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's campus. It was constructed in 1870 as a model farmhouse, a learning tool for the School of Agriculture (as such, it was part of their then-experimental "South Farms"), but over the years has also served as a home for several deans and other faculty members; today it carries the name of one such administrator, Herbert W. Mumford, dean of the School of Agriculture.1 Its architect was J.S. Searfross, whose design was meant to represent a typical regional farmhouse.2 The Mumford House served the University faithfully through the mid 1990s. By then, the Deans who had once resided in it had long since moved away, and rather than housing families the Mumford House provided a home for faculty offices.
After the faculty offices moved to other housing in the 1990s, the Mumford House fell into silence and disuse. For a time, beginning around 2008, there was considerable discussion around the possibility of the moving the House from its original location to a different spot, several miles away; however, in 2009, the Board decided against this possibility, opting to leave the House in its space for future generations. In 2010 the House underwent emergency stabilization work, an attempt to preserve not just its location but the house itself for the future. There are plans to potentially renovate the House, using it as part of a mission to integrate ecologically friendly and sustainable earth education into the University and its mission3; however, the stabilization project remains the only work to have been completed as of 2013.
Today, in 2013, the Mumford House continues to stand alone in the shadow of Temple Buell Hall and the McFarland Bell Tower, silent witness to well more than a century of the University's history.
Location of Mumford House (or, how to find it when you want to show it off)
Mumford House sits by itself in a small landscaped area in the South Quad, to the north of Temple Buell Hall; it is in the shadow of the McFarland Bell Tower. It is near Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion and is a short walk from the Main Library.
- University of Illinois
- Museums: this disambiguation page lists several museums throughout the region.
- Champaign County Historical Museum
- Champaign County Historical Archives
- Historical Pictures of Local Houses — this is currently empty!! If you have such photos, please consider this space.
- Morrow Plots, another piece of University of Illinois history (albeit one that continues to fulfill its original purpose).
External links/the Mumford House in the News
- Help Save the Mumford House (2009 article from the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
- University of Illinois to Move its Oldest House (2008 National Trust for Historic Preservation article; updated in 2009)
- Threatened: University's Oldest House (2010 National Trust for Historic Preservation article discussing stabilization and preservation efforts).
- A selection from "The Old Houses Project" pertaining to the Mumford House, reprinted and hosted by the University of Chicago Press.
- UI's Historic Mumford House Undergoes Stabilization, a 2010 offering from the Daily Illini newspaper.
- 1403 West Lorado Taft Drive, The Mumford House (via the city of Urbana, Illinois)
- The Illinois Path: A natural landscape promoting sustainable connections across campus communities, 2012
- Mumford House on a UIUC campus map (for navigational help)