2020 IGWS Calendar Indiana's Limestone Campus

Main Article Content

Indiana Geological & Water Survey


Indiana limestone, known to geologists as the Salem Limestone,
is quarried in a narrow 30-mile-long area of south-central Indiana that is also
home to Indiana University. Gracing up to 75 percent of all limestone
buildings in North America, this stone is known for its particular
strength, durability, and ageless beauty, and clads the nation’s most eminent
buildings, including the Empire State Building, Pentagon, and
National Cathedral.

For more than 100 years, this local stone has
been used for buildings on the Bloomington
campus. Beginning in 1890 with Maxwell Hall,
to 2017 and the completion of Luddy Hall,
home of the School of Informatics, Computing,
and Engineering, nearly all academic buildings
have been built of Indiana limestone.

Architectural styles on campus span three
centuries. From the highly ornate carvings and
pointed arches that define Collegiate Gothic
architecture to the streamlined Art Deco style
of the early 1900s, the beauty of the campus
reflects the skills of local stone artisans. In
1979, the National Register of Historic Places
added the Old Crescent portion of campus to
its list to ensure its preservation.

Walking around campus, you’ll see many
carvings on the exteriors of the buildings. Fish,
maize, and chemical symbols can be found
on the science buildings on the south side of
campus, while decorative scrolls of text adorn
several of the art buildings to the east. The
most common carved figure on campus is the
owl, a symbol of learning and education, and
twelve are scattered on various buildings.

Today, the history of Indiana’s limestone legacy
is preserved in several campus collections and
archives. Most of the photographs used for the
mosaic on this calendar belong to the Indiana
Limestone Photograph Collection. Curated by
the Indiana Geological and Water Survey since
2012, this impressive archive consists of more
than 26,000 architectural photos depicting
quarries, mills, and buildings from the early
to mid-1900s. The digitized photographs are
stored on IU Libraries Image Collections Online

Other photos in the mosaic are from research
and outreach efforts and the collections of the
Indiana Geological and Water Survey.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Technical Review