History of Buildings and Areas

Old South HallThe information on these pages has been taken from the book by Walker D. Wyman and Wayne Wolfe entitled, "What's in a Name."

A walk through the campus of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls brings back memories of football games on Ramer Field or of some event that happened in the classroom or of life in a residence hall. Seniors may walk across the stage at the Wall Amphitheatre to receive their degrees without any thought that it was once an idea of a faculty member. Then there are buildings simply known as North Hall and South Hall. Being the first buildings on campus in which all classes, musical events, special lectures and pep meetings took place, they are the “ancient ones” venerated by those who remember campus life when River Falls had a Normal School (1874-1925), a Teachers College (1925-51), a State College (1951-1964), a State University (1964-1971) or a University of Wisconsin (1971 to present).

A few of the names have changed slightly to reflect current usage, but the reference to the person for whom the building was named remains the same. (maps)

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls was founded in 1874 as the fourth State Normal School in Wisconsin and the first in the northwestern part of the state. The University continues to carry out its original mission - to educate and prepare citizens for the future. Its first building was dedicated on September 2, 1875. The school experienced a slow but steady growth in curriculum and enrollment until 1912, when the Department of Agriculture was established and enrollment increased significantly. The addition of a four-year curriculum in 1926 preceded the change of all state normal schools to state teacher colleges in 1927. In 1951, with the addition of liberal arts courses, the school was designated Wisconsin State College at River Falls. When graduate courses were added in 1964 the name became Wisconsin State University-River Falls. The present name came with the merger of the state universities and the prestigious University of Wisconsin System in 1971. With the founding of the College of Business and Economics in 2001, the University now has four colleges, including the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences; and the College of Education and Professional Studies.

Order a copy of What's In a Namedocument


University of Wisconsin-River Falls
410 S. 3rd Street, River Falls WI 54022 USA
Campus Information 715-425-3911