FYI, the Institute on Community Integration Staff Newsletter

March 2010

120 Years in Pattee Hall: Fun Facts About ICI's Home

A park-like location surrounded by oak trees. A brick-and-sandstone building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A portico with symbols of higher education carved into its pillars. Balconies. Summer swelter and winter drafts. A bewildering electrical and phone jack system. This is Pattee Hall, home to the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) since 1985. We ask some questions about our charming, quirky workplace; think about them for a few seconds. Then we supply the answers. Ready? Go!

Q: When was Pattee Hall built?

A: It was built in 1889 for $30,000. It was part of landscape architect Horace W. S. Cleveland’s vision for a park-like University that was already evolving in the old Knoll area of campus. He formalized it in his plan to the Board of Regents – a plan that remains remarkably intact and now forms what the National Register of Historic Places calls the “University Of Minnesota Old Campus Historic District”… and Pattee Hall is part of that Knoll district of quiet lawns, shade trees, and ornate buildings.

Q: What was Pattee Hall originally?

A: Pattee Hall was designed to be the first University of Minnesota Law School building completed on campus. The architect was J. Walter Stevens.

Q: Who was Pattee? (Hint: Look at the plaque in the front entrance).

A: William S. Pattee was first dean of the University of Minnesota Law School, from 1888 to 1911. He taught his first law classes on campus in 1888 in Old Main, the University’s first building, before moving into Pattee Hall (then known as the Law Building) the following year. Old Main burned down in 1904 but a commemorative plaque marks its former site outside Shevlin Hall, which is next door to Pattee.

Q: Do you know any Pattee Hall “firsts”?

A: Just a year after the Law School opened in Pattee, it welcomed its first female student, Flora E. Matteson. In 1893, she and classmate Marie A. McDermott became the first women to graduate from the Law School. A year later, John Frank Wheaton became the Law School’s first African American graduate.

Q: Why did the Law School leave?

A: In 1921, the new dean, Everett Fraser, complained that the classrooms were inadequate and that library space was exhausted and flammable. Remember what happened to Old Main? In 1928 the Law School moved into its new building, which is now known as Fraser Hall.

Q: Are there any icons of the old Law School still in Pattee?

A: Yes. They are in the portico, which is the covered walkway facing Shevlin Hall. There are doors into Pattee at either end and the portico is lined with sandstone pillars. Each pillar is topped with carvings of candles, a book, an oil lamp, a torch, and scales – symbols of the law school that Pattee Hall was originally built to house.

Q: Where is there more information about Pattee Hall and the Knoll area?

A: On the history page of the University of Minnesota Law School Web site at and at University Relations' Web page