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Mechanical Engineering Hall

By the mid-1880s, the engineering department had outgrown their facilities in College Hall. Cornelius Vanderbilt II, grandson of the Commodore, donated money to build a separate building for engineering and related sciences to support the growing demand for classroom and laboratory space. Built in 1888, Mechanical Engineering Hall was the first building in Tennessee constructed for the teaching of engineering. A steam-powered dynamo installed in 1898 supplied heat and electric light to campus buildings until 1918. Decorative tile incorporated figures from Greek mythology, and friezes around doorways and the building’s exterior depicted 19th century engineering tools. By 1978, R.O.T.C. occupied offices in the building. In 1984, the building was incorporated into the new Owen Graduate School of Management. The flyball centrifugal governor – a steam engine device for regulating speed – sculpture could not be removed without damaging the roof and can still be viewed on the north side of the building.