Growing a Campus: Landscape Development and Design

The layout and maintenance of the college grounds has been an integral part of the built environment since the founding of the university. Initially, the barren College Hill consisted of little more than sagebrush and wind. However, as the buildings continued to grow so did the number of trees and green space.

1912 Master Plan for the Arrangement of Buildings at the Utah Agricultural College
1912 campus master plan commissioned by President John A. Widtsoe [Click image to enlarge.]
(Utah State University Merrill-Cazier Library Special Collections & Archives, University Archives, Campus Planning, 6.2/2.)

President John A. Widtsoe

In 1912 President Widtsoe engaged the East Coast architectural firm of Pray, White and Hubbard to produce the first campus master plan. The plan clearly laid out the central campus, placing prospective buildings east of Old Main along the north and south sides of a campus green, today’s Quad. While the architects provided a vision for ordering the campus, they gave little advice concerning the type of trees and other ornamentals to plant. Therefore, the sprouting agricultural college sought outside assistance to beautify its grounds.