Illinois State Geological Survey | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Illinois State Geological Survey

Historical Note:

The first Illinois State Geological Survey lasted from 1851 to 1875. In 1893, the Governor, in a message to the Legislature, recommended that the State Geological Department be placed in charge of the University and that all of its collections be moved to Urbana. The recommendation was approved by the University's Board of Trustees.1 In 1901 the Board of Trustees appointed a special committee to consider ways and means for the establishment of a geological survey of Illinois.2 This was accomplished on July 1, 1905, when the Forty-fourth General Assembly passed an act providing for the establishment of the Illinois State Geological Survey, whose principal laboratories were to be at Urbana.3 The Survey, under the control of a State Geological Survey Commission composed of the Governor, the President of the University, and one other person appointed by the Governor,4 first occupied rooms in the Chemical Laboratory5 (Harker Hall). In 1909 it took up quarters in a new addition to the Natural History Building.6 Here it remained until 1916, when it occupied the third floor of the new Ceramic Engineering Building.7 On March 7, 1917, the Fiftieth General Assembly adopted the Civil Administration Code, through which the Geological Survey was placed in the Department of Registration and Education, with its program and scientific personnel under the direction of the Board of Natural Resources and Conservation.8 In 1930, the Survey expanded its program of scientific and business research to include a geology resources section, a geochemical section, a mineral economics section, and a general administrative staff.9 This expansion of the Survey's activities necessitated an increase in physical quarters, and in 1931 the Board of Trustees approved an appropriation of $24,00010 for remodeling a recently-purchased house at 201 S. Goodwin and building a new, one-story laboratory.11 The Survey now occupies 2 campus buildings completed in 1940: the Natural Resources Building, in which the offices and most of the laboratories are found, and the Geological Survey Laboratory, a special building for large-scale experimentation.12 It also maintains offices in Naperville.13 The State Geological Survey explores and maps the geology and mineral resources of Illinois. It conducts fundamental and applied research, gives information on geology, mineral resources, mineral utilization, groundwater geology and environmental geology,14 and cooperates with the U.S. Geographical Survey in topographical mapping of the state.15 As of January, 1974, the total publications of the Survey - maps, monographs, circulars, educational series, guidebooks,- numbered well over 1100 titles.

1. Board of Trustees Transactions, 17th Report, Wednesday, Mar. 29, 1893, p. 98.

2. Ibid., 21st Report, December 11, 1901, pp. 32-33.

3. Catalogs and Registers, 1905-06, p. 206.

4. Laws of Illinois: 44th General Assembly, 1905, p. 311.

5. Catalogs and Registers, 1905-06, p. 206

6. Ibid., 1908-09, p. 10; 1909-10, p. 10.

7. Ibid., 1916-1917, p. 53

8. Laws of Illinois: 50th General Assembly, 1917, p. 2. See also Catalogs and Registers, 1918-1919, p. 412.

9. Illinois Blue Book, 1931-32, p. 413.

10. Board of Trustees Transactions, 36th Report, July 27, 1931, p. 384.

11. Catalogs and Registers, 1931-32, p. 56.

12. Catalogs and Registers, 1946-47, p. 504.

13. Research and Service of the Illinois State Geological Survey, 1970, p.1.

14. Illinois State Geological Survey: List of Publications, January, 1974, inside front cover.

15. Catalogs and Registers, 1945-46, p. 507.

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