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Constructing the Main Building

Are you familiar with Coaly? How did "Main" turn into "Old Main"?
Old Main nearing completion in 1863

Old Main nearing completion in 1863

Penn State's Main Building took six years to finish, and was completed in 1863. Hugh McAllister designed the building to contain classrooms, dorms for 400 students, laboratories, offices, and a chapel. Limestone was carved out of the earth to construct the building, which the famous mule Coaly, along with three other mules and two horses, helped skid up to the site. Around the Penn State community, it is a myth that “Old Main” burned down.  The building did have a fire on the roof in 1892, but was able to be remodeled on the upper floor and bell tower. Because of its nature and use, Main was deemed unstable and torn down in 1929. It was replaced with its current counterpart, Old Main, in 1930.