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MSU Research History: Professors Design “Collegeville”

Rolla C. Carpenter

1887 – Professors Rolla C. Carpenter (1852-1919) and William J. Beal lay out “Collegeville,” the first neighborhood in what later became the city of East Lansing, Mich. The area they platted is now bounded by Michigan Avenue, Harrison Avenue, Oak and Beal streets. (MAP)

Carpenter received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan Agricultural College (MAC) in 1873 and a civil engineering degree from the University of Michigan in 1875. He returned to MAC as a professor of mathematics and civil engineering, and went on to designed and supervise much of the construction of the young MAC, including construction of a dam on the Red Cedar River.

He was considered an expert in his time in the field of engineering and was appointed by the Academy of Science in 1915, at the request of the President of the United States, to investigate the slides at the Panama Canal. (See reference to presentation Carpenter gave in Ithaca, NY, in 1917.)

In 2015, Carpenter was inducted into the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Hall of Fame.

Source: MSU College of Engineering “Currents” magazine, 2015; Wikipedia (Rolla Clinton Carpenter)

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