Website brings WSU’s history to life

Website features 161 buildings located around WSU, Pullman



Andrew Gillreath-Brown, PhD candidate in anthropology, explains that he hopes the new website can not only be a learning tool, but can connect and reconnect past and present WSU students Wednesday morning in College Hall.

CODY SCHOELER, Evergreen reporter

The Historic Preservation Committee has created an online platform dedicated to the history of WSU’s campus.

The project is funded by the Manuscripts, Archives & Special Collections unit and the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation at WSU, Andrew Gillreath-Brown, creator of the website and a PhD candidate in anthropology, said. It focuses on the structural history of the buildings on campus, starting when WSU was founded in 1890, he said.

“Focusing on buildings was the main thing I did,” he said. “I ended up putting 161 buildings [on the website]. Some of those have more photos than others and we’ll build on this over time.”

Gillreath-Brown also said he spent several days taking photos of 61 different buildings that either had photos that were too difficult to find, or none at all.

The website was created because there was a lack of information about campuses, buildings and landscapes, said Phil Gruen, Historic Preservation Committee member.

The campus information already exists, he said, but was not located in a convenient enough place for the public to access it.

Brainstorming the possibility of creating a website started a year and a half ago, Gruen said.

“What would this look like if we took information about a building and had it online,” he said, “and expanded a site so that the public could contribute information to it?  We could accumulate more photographs, more narratives and oral histories.”

One of the goals for the website is to provide a way for alumni and current students to connect or reconnect with the campus in a way that they have not been able to do previously, Gillreath-Brown said.

“Part of that is allowing diversity of different voices to talk about their different times on campus,” he said. “That’s not necessarily there yet but that is something that we want to work towards. Incorporating different kinds of oral histories from lots of different perspectives whether good or bad.”

Another goal for the website is to provide a teaching tool for faculty and students, Gruen said. When students are assigned projects regarding the campus or buildings, he said, they will have the ability to find the information they need.

“There are a couple of professors on the historic preservation committee that have already expressed interest in incorporating it into their classes,” Gillreath-Brown said. “It can really be used for a wide variety whether you’re talking about geography, spatial distribution of things architectural history or different events … And the site will hopefully be able to cultivate more engagement and services even with the CDSC in the library.”

The website is currently live, Gruen said, but it is still a work in progress. They are hopeful that they can continue to work on and improve the website.

“What we’re seeing with the website right now is, we hope, a fraction of what this can become,” he said.

The website can be found at