Sunday, October 2, 2011

EMU Ballroom, University Of Oregon, 1228 13th and University St., Eugene, OR

Erb Memorial Union, April 6, 1956

Capacity 760

Architect: Lawrence, Tucker and Wallman.
Design work began in Jan. 1945 on the long-desired student union. Plans were initially developed by H. Abbott Lawrence, son of Ellis. F. Lawrence, who briefly held the partnership Lawrence and Lawrence until Ellis Lawrence's death in 1946. Design work ended by Aug. 1948. Early concepts included a high-rise hotel. Construction began in Oct. 1948 and ended in 1950. Planned for 25 years, Lawrence, Tucker & Wallman revised the plans after Lawrence's death.

Since 1950, the Erb Memorial Union has been the gathering place for campus activities.

After several UO presidents who served relatively short terms, Donald Erb was selected at age thirty-seven, in part because it was believed he would give the university a president with a long tenure.  With the national economy improving somewhat, Erb used his considerable patience and powers of persuasion to gain the return of science classes to the UO. World War II saw students and faculty members depart for military service, but Erb foresaw their return and worked to prepare the university for an influx of ex-GIs when the war ended. In line with this, he also successfully lobbied the state board for funds for a student union building, an idea that had originated with former President Campbell in the 1920s. Erb, however, did not live to see this project completed, as he died of pneumonia in 1943 at age forty-three. The completed student union was named after Erb and dedicated as a memorial to him and to those from the university who served and died in World War II. erb was president from 1938-1943.

The EMU Ballroom is a box-shaped hall with the stage at the narrow end of the rectangle, with doors leading out to a deck to stage left and doors to the student union interior to stage right.

William Beaty Boyd, the president of the University Of Oregon from 1975-1980, regretted his decision not to allow The Graduate to film on the campus—so much so that he practically gave director John Landis the key to the university for Animal House. He even let Landis use his own office for Dean Wormer’s.
"Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son."

 The 'free speech plaza' was long envisioned as part of the EMU's features and the 1998 project restored that concept which alterations after the 1950 original design impeded.

Seating capacity 760.

Jerry performed here on
1/30/68 Grateful Dead
12/15/74 Merl Saunders

Ellis Lawrence Building Survey. v.2 (Eugene). Compiled by the Historic Preservation Program, School of Architecture and Allied Arts, University of Oregon ; project directors, Michael Shellenbarger, Kimberly Lakin. [Salem, Or.] : State Historic Preservation Office, [1989]. "Erb Memorial Union." in Style and Vernacular: A Guide to the Architecture of Lane County, Oregon. Portland: Western Imprints, 1983, p. 51.

McMillan, Adell. A Common Ground: Erb Memorial Union 1950-2000, University of Oregon. Eugene, Or.: Xlibris Corporation, c2003.

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