Department Buildings

compton crow power plant
Compton Laboratory Crow Hall Power Plant

Compton Laboratory

When Arthur Holly Compton died in 1962, the University erected a Physics Laboratory as a memorial to him. The 65,000 square foot, 5-level structure contains labs, offices, and library space for the department of Physics. Compton lab was completed in 1965, and was dedicated in 1966 in recognition of Compton's achievements as a physicist and chancellor. Comptons association with the University began when he was appointed Wayman Crow Professor of Physics and Chairman of the Physics Department in 1919. During his four years as a faculty member, Compton did the experimental work which resulted in the Nobel Prize he was the first faculty member to be so honored. In 1923 he left the University for the University of Chicago, returning in 1945 to serve as Chancellor. During his eight year Chancellorship, Compton brought many outstanding faculty to the University, particularly in the sciences, and in so doing began the University's rise to national stature.

Crow Hall

Built in 1934, Crow Hall was designed by two University architects, George W. Spearl and James P. Jamieson, to house the department of Physics. Due to the nature of the experiments conducted, the building is not subject to the Earth's natural vibrations, and contains a shaft that extends the full height of the building; this is for experiments that involve the study of falling objects. Construction for the building was made possible by $700,000 in gifts. Crow Hall is named for Wayman Crow, the state senator who drafted the University's charter and secured its passage through the state legislature. Before entering the state senate, Crow ran a wholesale dry goods business in St. Louis. When Crow drafted the University's charter he named his close friend William Greenleaf Eliot as chairman of the original Board of Trustees. Eliot served in that capacity from 1854 until his death is 1887. Crow was on the board from 1854 until his death in 1885. Of the two, Crow has a building named for him, W.G. Eliot does not. Both of the buildings named Eliot Hall are named for Thomas H. Eliot, chancellor of Washington University from 1962-1971.

Power Plant

The Power Plant contains offices that are used by members of the physics department.