Weekly Features


Yesteryear: The Union Building was an early hub of campus life

August 2, 2016

Herman B Wells spoke at the 1953 dedication.

Herman B Wells was a featured speaker at the 1953 dedication ceremonies for the Union Building.

Before the Campus Center came along in the 21st century, IUPUI had a different hub of campus life: the original Union Building, located north of Ball Residence Hall. It opened to much fanfare in 1953 and provided food, lodging, social life, business and office activities, and storage facilities.

The huge building dominated life on the west end of campus. It was razed when the center of life at IUPUI shifted to the Campus Center.

The Union Building offered plenty of windows to gaze upon the campus.

The Union featured plenty of windows to allow those inside to gaze upon the campus.

The Union had its own stand-alone sign.

The building had its own sign directing traffic to the guest rooms, food areas and offices the Union had to offer.

Throughout its decades of service, the Union offered cafeteria service to faculty, staff and students.

The Union featured several places for a bite to eat, from a cafeteria to a food court to dessert areas.

A visitor settles into one of the Union guest rooms during the building's early years.

The guest rooms accommodated visitors who were coming to the IU School of Medicine, the IU School of Nursing, the IU School of Dentistry and the nearby hospitals.

Some students lived in the single and double rooms in the Union.

Some students lived in the Union during their academic careers in spaces such as this student double room.

For many years, the Union featured its own swimming pool.

Before the IU Natatorium was opened in the 1980s, students, faculty and staff could get exercise or simply relax in the Union swimming pool.

Music concerts also dotted the Union calendar, including this jazz performance.

The Union hosted plenty of social events, including musical performances by groups like this ensemble, as well as casual dinners and more formal events.

Social events like Christmas balls and dances were common.

The Union even hosted some holiday events, such as this Christmas ball during the late 1960s.



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