UT Campus Scenes
Here Welch Hall (WEL), home to the Department of Chemistry since 1931, several years before the completion of the Tower.
The original five-story, E-shaped portion of the building, located along 24th Street at the corner of Speedway, was designed by Herbert Greene and erected from 1929-31. Paul Cret — the newly hired supervising architect of the UT campus — was consulting architect.
The interior was meant to be a state-of-the-art facility for chemistry: Professor W.A. Felsing traveled all over the country touring other labs to get ideas for the new building’s practical layout and features. Every lab had direct pipes for natural gas, steam, distilled water, and compressed air. A ventilation system changed the air in every room four times an hour. The chemical engineering room even had a traveling crane. When completed in 1931, it cost over $900,000, at that time the most expensive building on campus. It was also one of the largest academic buildings on campus, second only to Old Main.
In 1974 the Chemistry Building was renamed Welch Hall in honor of Houston oilman and philanthropist Robert Alonzo Welch (1872-1952).
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[Photos by Marsha Miller/UT Austin. Version of this history appeared on the UT Libraries website.]