78. Green School of Science


The Green School of Science stood for over 50 years on the land where Firestone Library is located today.  It was named for John Cleve Green, a nineteenth-century investor and merchant in the China trade and railroads, whose philanthropy to Princeton contributed almost one-third of the College’s endowment, quadrupled the main campus lands, provided five major buildings, and furnished seed money for many development projects such as the creation of Lawrenceville School, which was the first important feeder preparatory school for Princeton.  The Green School of Science, which was designed by William Appleton Potter in 1874, provided the science faculty with badly needed lecture halls, laboratories, a photography room, museum space and offices.  But within a few years, the building was overcrowded and its architecture, originally admired, considered an aesthetic failure.  Just before midnight on November 16, 1928, the structure’s tower caught on fire and, by daybreak, the facility was reduced to smoldering ruin.  Students and faculty members were able to save research notes and some equipment before the fire had engulfed the building; except for the resulting shortage of space for the chemistry department and engineering school, the loss of gloomy old Green was not bemoaned.