Grant and Woods

· 2 min read

Grant and Woods

From the Archives
Image from November 1963 showing Woods Hall surrounded by construction fence in the foreground and Grant Memorial Hall in the background.
University Archives and Special Collections

Representing different eras of campus design, this image from Nov. 20, 1963 shows the almost-open Nelle Cochrane Woods Art Building (right, still surrounded by construction fence) and the 1887-built Grant Memorial Hall.

Woods Hall, which opened in 1963, remains a part of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln community today, serving as classroom space and the administrative hub for the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts. Woods was constructed as a companion building to Sheldon Museum of Art and helps frame the university’s sculpture garden.

Grant Memorial Hall was constructed in 1887 to serve as an armory and provide space for military drill practice and other activities. It was named in honor President Ullyses S Grant, a civil war general. Grant Memorial Hall, also called the Armory, included a bowling alley on the ground floor, and a gymnasium on the second floor.

Lieutenant John J. Pershing, commander of the Cadet Corps, conducted training exercises in the Grant Hall gymnasium between 1891 and 1895. The original building had no heat and the interior was unfinished until an addition was completed in 1900. The 1900 addition contained three stories and was called University Soldiers Memorial Hall, which was inscribed in the stone over the west entrance.

A large pipe organ was housed in the new wing. This organ was originally constructed for the Trans-Mississippi Exposition held in Omaha in 1898. It was purchased by alumni for $3,000 and donated to the university after the closing of the Exposition.

Grant Hall was eventually used as the Women’s Physical Education building. When it was closed by the state fire marshal in June 1965 and the building was razed later that year.

“From the Archives” is a weekly feature in Nebraska Today. Images are provided by Traci Robison, outreach archivist and assistant professor of practice with Archives and Special Collections in the University Libraries. Explore the Archives and Special Collections online. For more information, contact Troy Fedderson at or 402-472-8515.

Recent News