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Haines Hall Small

86 years ago today the first class ever was taught at UCLA’s Westwood campus.

On March 18, 1929, the first chemistry class met at UCLA’s Westwood campus, six months before the official opening of the campus. The 125 students enrolled in Professor Hosmer W. Stone’s Chemistry 1A were the first to receive instruction. The original chemistry building was being built at UCLA’s Vermont campus but it was destroyed by a suspicious fire on January 3, 1929. Rather than rebuilding from the ashes (classes were to start in March), the chemistry department was moved to the Westwood campus to be housed in what is now Haines Hall. 

Early Haines Hall Photo
Entrance to Haines Hall in 1929 (left) and remains of Vermont campus chemistry building after fire (right). 
Photos from UCLA Alumni History website.

In his book “A Half Century in Chemistry at UCLA 1932-1982” Professor Emeritus Francis E. Blacet wrote that the chemistry faculty asked for fume hoods to be put in their new building (Haines Hall) as a protection against noxious and unpleasant odors arising from classroom and research experiments. The building planners found that idea too expensive, so they designed the building with outdoor balconies where the “smelly” experiments could be done. Although the odor was in the process of being eliminated, neighboring departments were very understandably supportive of the department’s move to Young Hall in 1952.  

Haines Hall Today
Haines Hall today – the former chemistry outdoor labs

To learn more about the early days of the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry visit the UCLA Alumni History website here.