Let Inside NAU take you back in time this summer with tidbits of university history.

History lesson: When ‘Old’ was new

When the Moenkopi sandstone construction of Old Main began in 1894, the building was to serve as a reform school for the “vicious youth” of the Arizona Territory. Those plans fell apart and the building stood empty for several years until the Territorial Legislature proposed it become an insane asylum. Members of the Flagstaff community soon convinced legislators to establish an educational institution instead.

On Sept. 11, 1899, Northern Arizona Normal School, now NAU, held its first class in Old Main. Once home to classrooms, offices and a men’s dormitory, the Romanesque-style Old Main now houses an art gallery, museum and offices, including the Alumni Association.

Source: Mountain Campus Centennial by Platt Cline