Celebrating 100 Years of the Karl G. Maeser Memorial Building

Soon after the death of Karl G. Maeser in 1901, students and alumni began considering ways that they could memorialize their beloved teacher. They eventually decided that a memorial building dedicated to classroom instruction would be appropriate. The original proposal called for the building to be constructed on the southeast corner of lower campus, but this idea was abandoned when the university acquired land on nearby Temple Hill. It was decided that the memorial building should be placed on Temple Hill and in 1907 construction began. The building opened to class work in the fall of 1911 and was formally dedicated in May 1912. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Karl G. Maeser Memorial Building.

The Karl G. Maeser Memorial Building shortly after its completion in 1911

Originally designed as a classroom building, it has served thousands of students. The Maeser Memorial Building has also served the university as an administration building, housed devotionals and faculty meetings in its assembly hall, was the home of the College of Commerce and Business Administration, and housed several academic departments. It also briefly served as the home of the Student Army Training Corps in 1918. Today it is the home of Brigham Young University’ Honors Program.

The Maeser Memorial Building is one of the statelier buildings on campus. The interior is finished in oak with marble on the main stairways and the exterior is constructed of oolitic limestone. The building cost over $130,000 to build and nearly half of that was donated by the Jesse Knight Family. The rest of funds were raised by the Alumni Association. Over 1600 students, faculty, and alumni contributed to making the building a reality.

The University Archives recently opened a small exhibit containing materials that help to tell the story of the construction of the Karl G. Maeser Memorial Building. Come on down to Special Collections (1130 HBLL) and enjoy the exhibit.

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