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Francis Quadrangle

David R. Francis Quadrangle Historic District
Location Columbia, Missouri

38°56′46″N 92°19′44″W / 38.94611°N 92.32889°W / 38.94611; -92.32889Coordinates: 38°56′46″N 92°19′44″W / 38.94611°N 92.32889°W / 38.94611; -92.32889{{#coordinates:38|56|46|N|92|19|44|W|region:US-MO_type:landmark |primary |name=

Built 1867; 149 years ago (1867)
Architect Morris Frederick Bell
Architectural style Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals, Late Victorian
Governing body State
NRHP Reference #


Added to NRHP December 18, 1973; 42 years ago (December 18, 1973)

David R. Francis Quadrangle is the historical center of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. It is named after Missouri governor David R. Francis, and is generally just called "The Quad". Within the quad are two of the most recognizable symbols of the school, Jesse Hall and The Columns. Academic Hall, the first building on MU's campus, was built in the middle of the present day quad. It burned on January 9, 1892, leaving only the famous six columns that now stand in the center of Francis Quadrangle. The Quad is the center of MU's Red Campus and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The quad and five buildings are perhaps the best surviving work of architect Morris Frederick Bell.


File:Academic Hall Fire.jpg
Academic Hall fire

The burning of Academic Hall ushered in a time of great change for the University. There was much support in the Missouri Legislature to move the University to Sedalia. The Governor of Missouri, David R. Francis, sent a telegram to the students of the University assuring them that he would fight to keep the campus in Columbia. He later traveled to Columbia to address the citizens, faculty, and students. After calling for a special session of the Missouri Legislature he was able to appropriate $250,000 for the rebuilding. The University of Missouri was rebuilt in a quad around the columns, with "New Academic Hall" later renamed Jesse Hall on the south, and the Avenue of the Columns on the North.

On October 23, 2010 the quad was featured as the location of an ESPN's College GameDay. A ESPN record of over 18,000 fans showed up.[2]


Hill Hall

Hill Hall was built in 1950 and named after former President of The University Albert Ross Hill.

Jesse Hall

Main article: Jesse Hall

Jesse Hall was constructed in 1892 as the "New Academic Hall". It was later renamed after MU president Richard Henry Jesse. The dome rises nine stories above the quad, and is one of the most recognized symbols of MU. It was designed by architect Morris Frederick Bell, and serves as the administrative center for the University of Missouri–Columbia.

Lafferre Hall

The Engineering Building was built in 1892 and lies on the west side of the quad. After a significant donation, the building is now called Lafferre Hall.

Pickard Hall

Pickard Hall was built in 1892 and contained the MU Art and Archaeology Museum until 2013, when it was closed due to latent radiation from experiments dating 1910-1930.

Residence on the Quad

The Residence on The Quad was built in 1867 and stands on the East side of the quad. It is the oldest building left standing on campus. Thomas Jefferson's original tombstone stands between this building and The Columns. The Residence is intended to be the official home of the University's chancellor.


The Sociology building was built in 1892 and stands near the northeast corner of the quad. The building has been renovated and turned into the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

Swallow Hall

Swallow Hall was built in 1893 and stands on the southeast corner. It is named after George Clinton Swallow, Missouri's first state geologist. Today the building holds the Museum of Anthropology.

Switzler Hall

Main article: Switzler Hall

Switzler Hall was constructed in 1871 as the "Scientific Building". It is the oldest academic building left standing on campus. Switzler Hall is named after curator William Franklin Switzler. One of the notable attractions of Switzler Hall is the bell tower. The bell was given to the University by Major James S. Rollins and is inscribed with the words "Nunc occasion est et tempus," which translated is, "Now is the occasion and the time." The bell rang each hour classes were in session until 1936.


The Columns

The Columns that once supported Academic Hall designed by Stephen Hills now stand in the middle of the quad. The Columns are the only remaining part of Academic Hall after it burned on January 9, 1892. In August 1893 the Board of Curators voted to remove the Columns because they thought that they were unsafe and ugly. The Columns were inspected and found that the foundations were sound. Local support for keeping the Columns changed the Board's mind and the vote was reversed in December 1893. Today, The Columns are the second-most photographed landmarks in the state of Missouri, next to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

Thomas Jefferson's tombstone

Thomas Jefferson's original tombstone stands on the east side of the quad. Jefferson's original tombstone was given to Mizzou by his heirs in July 1883 due to Mizzou being the first University founded within Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase.

The plaque on the gravestone reads "This original marker, placed at the grave of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, Virginia in 1826, constructed from his own design, was presented July 4, 1883, by the Jefferson heirs to the University of Missouri. First state university to be founded in the Louisiana Territory purchased from France during President Jefferson's administration. The obelisk, dedicated on this campus at commencement June 4, 1885, commemorates Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, whose faith in the future of western America and whose confidence in the people has shaped our national ideals; commemorates the author of the Declaration of Independence and of the Virginia statute for religious freedom, founder of the University of Virginia, fosterer of public education in the United States."

And under these words it reads (the original epitaph)

"Here was buried Thomas Jefferson Author of the Declaration of American Independence of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and FATHER of the University of Virginia"

Francis Marker

As tribute to former governor of Missouri, David R. Francis, a statue of stands just northeast of the entrance to Jesse Hall. It is a tradition that before an exam a student will rub his nose to receive an A on the exam. Due to the tradition's popularity the statue's nose has been replaced three times since its dedication.

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