Created By: North Dakota State University
The first Chemistry classes on campus were held in the basement of College Hall, but with the continuing growth of the Chemistry department, it was clear a new space would be needed. In 1905 that need was fulfilled when the state legislature appropriated $50,000 for the construction of a new Chemistry building. The new building was built between Old Main and South Engineering and was open for use in 1906. After three short years, the new Chemistry building went up in flames.
It was about 7pm on Christmas Eve in 1909 when flames were first noticed in the building. Fargo firefighters had poor conditions to fight the fire. The combination of malfunctioning fire hydrants, low water pressure, and the presence of snow held them back from being able to successfully save the building. Debris flew from the Chemistry building and started smaller fires in both the Library and Engineering building. The Chemistry building was a complete loss, and the fire caused an estimated $75,000 in damages. Professor Edwin Ladd lost around $800 in personal belongings. While they were not able to find an exact cause of the fire, it was assumed that it was started by an electrical wire.
Not long after the detrimental and tragic fire, a new “fireproof” building was built in 1910. It was similar in style to that of the old Chemistry building and contained a greenhouse and a square tower, which was the location for the college weather station. In 1952, this new Chemistry building was rededicated as Ladd Hall. Its name honors the first chemistry professor for NDAC, Edwin Ladd. He later became university president in 1916 after President Worst resigned.
This point of interest is part of the tour: North Dakota State University Walking Tour