Visit The Old Main Building Of The University Of Arkansas

If you’re visiting the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, you simply can’t miss the Old Main building. This impressive structure is not only an architectural masterpiece but is also a testament to the history of the university and its importance in the community. Whether you’re a history buff or just interested in seeing some beautiful architecture, a visit to Old Main is a must.

History Of The Old Main Building

The Old Main building was completed in 1875, which makes it the oldest building on the University of Arkansas campus. It was designed by John Mills Van Osdel, an architect from Chicago who was also responsible for the design of many other important buildings throughout the Midwest. The building was constructed using locally sourced materials and was built by local craftsmen who were skilled in the art of masonry, carpentry, and metalworking.

The building was used as the main administrative center of the University of Arkansas until 1930 when it was replaced by a newer building. Since then, the Old Main building has been used as a classroom, library, and even housed the university’s law school for a period of time. Today, the building serves as a symbol of the history and legacy of the university.

Architecture And Design

The Old Main building is a beautiful example of Second Empire-style architecture, which was popular in the late 19th century. This style is characterized by its use of mansard roofs, dormer windows, and intricate details on the facades of the building. The building’s façade is made of brick and stone, with large columns supporting the entrance. The clock tower, which is one of the most recognizable features of the building, stands at over 140 feet tall and has four clock faces.

Inside, the building is just as impressive as the exterior. The grand staircase leading up to the second floor is made of marble, and the walls are adorned with intricate woodwork. Many of the original features, such as the fireplace and the wooden banisters, have been beautifully preserved.

What To See And Do

While a visit to Old Main is primarily about taking in the impressive architecture and history of the building, there are also a few other things to see and do while you’re there. The building has several classrooms on the first and second floors, which are still in use by the university. Visitors are welcome to take a peek inside when classes are not in session.

The second floor of the building also houses the J. William Fulbright Conference Room, which is named after the former U.S. senator who attended the University of Arkansas. The room is used for university events and is often rented for weddings, parties, and conferences.

Tips For Visitors

  • The Old Main building is open to visitors during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm).
  • Visitors are welcome to explore the building on their own, but guided tours are also available by appointment.
  • If you’re interested in hosting an event in the J. William Fulbright Conference Room, be sure to book well in advance, as it is a popular venue.
  • There is a small parking lot next to the building, but it can fill up quickly. Consider using public transportation or parking in one of the nearby garages.
  • The building is accessible for visitors with disabilities.


A visit to the Old Main building is a must for anyone visiting the University of Arkansas. This impressive structure is not only a landmark of the university but also a testament to its history and legacy. Whether you’re a history buff or just enjoy beautiful architecture, a visit to Old Main is sure to be a highlight of your trip. Be sure to take your time and explore all the nooks and crannies of this beautiful building – you won’t be disappointed!

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