Pictured: The view from the newly constructed Brookings Hall, looking east onto the grounds being developed for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
Revisiting the First Fifty Years
The first half century of WashU's history ended with relocation to the "Hilltop campus," providing open space, distinction, and resources that fueled its growth into a prestigious academic institution. This came in part through further investments in racial capitalism. Whereas WashU admitted some African American students in its first few decades that stopped in the 1890s and did not resume until the mid-20th century, with this exclusion becoming part of its pursuit of distinction. Further, the financially distressed institution was buoyed by leasing parts of the new campus - including Brookings Hall and Francis Field - to the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. The new campus would stage some of the 1904 Fair's infamously racist spectacles, including "Anthropology Days" and the 1904 Olympics, and financial returns on this lease enabled further development of what is now the Danforth Campus.