Since its addition to the University of Oregon campus in 1915, Johnson Hall has witnessed many changes and excitement, ranging from political demonstrations to a makeshift bomb explosion in the 1970s.
Located on 13th Ave., the building, named after UO president John Wesley Johnson,@@checked@@ was the fifth addition to the UO campus and was established as an administrative building. The building cost the university approximately $100,000 and was designed by Oregon’s first State Architect William Christmas Knighton,@@checked@@ who also designed the historic Deepwood building in Salem and the Oregon Supreme Court building. The prestige of the architect and the hefty price were evident in the building’s interior details, which included a stained glass skylight that covered the building’s entire center. Some of the original stained glass panels have been preserved and can be seen in Johnson’s boardroom.
The building was the site of an explosion in April 1970 due to four to five sticks of dynamite set outside its basement window. The building was one of several that were subject to makeshift bombings in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a list which included the $75,000 damage done to Prince Lucien Campbell Hall in October 1970. Johnson’s damage was estimated at $8,660. The bomber was never identified.
In 1973, tensions between police and student protesters of the Vietnam War came to a head outside of Johnson Hall. Approximately 300 students gathered for a sit-in outside the building, protesting ROTC facilities on campus. The facilities had been a source of major contention in 1973, culminating in the first use of tear gas on campus during student protests 10 days before the Johnson Hall sit-in. About 30 hours after the sit-in began, the National Guard was called to the site, and a two-hour struggle between police and students ensued after 61 students were arrested.
In 1985, Johnson was added to the National Register of Historic Places.