The cornerstone for Brookings (then University) Hall was laid on November 3, 1900, and construction was completed in 1902.
It was leased to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company for use during the 1904 World’s Fair as the Administration Building.
The architects were the Philadelphia firm Cope & Stewardson, represented by James P. Jamieson. The general contractor was Bright Construction Company. These companies worked together on other early campus buildings. The building was occupied as the administrative center by the university in February 1905, and was known for many years thereafter as University Hall. The name was officially changed to Brookings Hall on June 12, 1928.
The inscription above the clock on the West facade of Brookings Hall reads Cedunt Horae, Opera Manent: “The hours go by, the works remain.”
The inscription on the east facade of Brookings Hall reads Discere Si Cupias Intra: Salvere Iubemus, meaning “If you wish to learn, enter: we welcome you.”
Robert S. Brookings
Robert S. Brookings was born in 1850 and later went to work for Cupples & Marston, a woodenware and willowware wholesale business. He and his brother were eventually made equal partners in the business, and Robert took upon himself the responsibility of moving Washington University to its current, permanent location, and contributed $200,000 to the university for the construction of an administrative building. Brookings was also the founder of the Brookings Institution and was a member of the university’s Board of Directors from 1891 to 1928, serving as president from 1895 to 1928.
View the plaque that lies under the Brookings archway, and find out more about William Greenleaf Eliot, the university’s third chancellor.