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University Real Estate Sales Records

 Collection
Identifier: 7/1/3
Northwestern University was founded on a basis of real estate acquisitions. In 1853 the Trustees of Northwestern purchased the 379 acre John H. Foster farm. In the next twelve years the Billings, Robinson, and Snyder farms were purchased and Orrington Lunt donated a parcel. These lands, along with some private holdings, became the village of Evanston, as well as the site of Northwestern University.

The fledgling University found itself in need of funds to build and operate a campus. Thus, the Board of Trustees turned early to the sale of real estate as a means of generating capital. The Foster purchase was agreed upon on July 13, 1853 and by October 28, 1853 thirteen acres of the parcel were already for sale. The University paid just over $65 an acre to Foster and three months later was seeking $200 per acre, on the prospect of a new University and the town that was sure to grow up around it. By the time the University opened its doors it had already proved itself a successful real estate developer.

The chief University authority for real estate sales was the Financial Agent. In the period covered by this series the Agent was Thomas C. Hoag, who was also the University Treasurer and a Trustee. Hoag was empowered to negotiate sales on University lands not otherwise reserved. The contracts he arranged were examined and approved by the Board of Trustees, which had sole authority to dispose of University property. The agent was paid 3% commission on all sales negotiated.

This series consists of one volume in which University real estate sales information for forty one transactions, spanning the period November 22, 1886 to March 10, 1893, are recorded. Entries are chronological and include date of sale, buyer's name, sale price, terms of sale, date land was deeded to buyer, a legal description on the parcel, and remarks. The remarks cover payments made, notes on other University lands purchased by the same individual, and land traded as part of the sale. The information in this series is not extensive but it is detailed and useful in the study of both early Northwestern University and Evanston history.

This series is most useful when studied in conjunction with Series 53/5, the Land Books of the University. Series 53/5 contains detailed information on the parcels involved in the transactions recorded in Series 7/2/3. Also helpful would be Series 53/1 containing abstracts of University property and Series 53/3 comprising a record of real estate transactions 1887-1942, including deeds, waivers of reversion, and sales contracts.

Dates

  • 1886-1893

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored off-site and requires 48 hours advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at specialcollections@northwestern.edu or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.

Extent

1.00 Boxes

Abstract

This series consists of one volume in which University real estate sales information for forty one transactions, spanning the period November 22, 1886 to March 10, 1893, are recorded. Entries are chronological and include date of sale, buyer's name, sale price, terms of sale, date land was deeded to buyer, a legal description on the parcel, and remarks. The remarks cover payments made, notes on other University lands purchased by the same individual, and land traded as part of the sale. The information in this series is not extensive but it is detailed and useful in the study of both early Northwestern University and Evanston history.

Method of Acquisition

This volume was transferred to the Northwestern University Archives by Ed Dublin of the University Business Office on May 15, 1980 and was accessioned as part of #80-74.

Processing Information

Thomas Dorst, April, 1981.
Title
Guide to the University Real Estate Sales Records
Author
Thomas Dorst
Date
01/04/1981
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Contact:
Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US
847-491-3635