The Main Thing

Posted in Departments, Fall 2016, The Ledger

Nearly 100 years ago, Drexel's Main Building was looking a bit fresher than it does today, yet much remains familiar.

The Main Thing

Main Building Auditorium

Number of pipes in the Curtis organ, which in 1928 replaced a Haskell organ that had occupied the Main Building auditorium at the founding. Originally designed with the capability to be used with silent movies, the instrument also came with bells, chimes, drums and other “sound effects” that are no longer functional.


Main Building was powered entirely by four 60-horsepower Westinghouse engines in the basement when the Drexel Institute first opened. Students in the mechanic arts and engineering fields supplemented classroom instruction by operating the equipment under staff supervision, much like the way co-op operates now.


Price in 1891 of the artworks assembled in the Drexel Museum, which was originally located on the first floor of the Main Building. Those initial holdings laid the foundation for what is today The Drexel Collection.


Number of people who attended the dedication of Main Building in 1891. Among the luminaries present were Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Vice President of the United States Levi Morton and important representatives from government, industry and nearby academies.