The tables and chairs in the Main Reading Room have a history all their own. The unit now known as University Facilities was once called simply the “Campus Crew.” This was a group of 30 or so carpenters, electricians, and janitors. The close knit group would sit around the stove in the carpenter shop during lunchtime and play old time music. In warmer weather, they would pitch horse shoes.
Bruce Agnor, who worked on the crew from 1915 to well into the 1950s, built and mended furniture for the university. After the 1934 fire destroyed the first law school building, he built furniture for the new Tucker Hall. Though new furniture was purchased for Lewis Hall when it opened in 1976, the Reading Room tables made the journey across the creek.
Agnor was both meticulous and prolific. Though you may now see the odd fastener added in refurbishing, the Reading Room tables featured no-nail construction. In 1946, ten years after he built the Tucker Hall furniture, Agnor constructed 116 tables for the freshman dormitories. He was fond of saying, “I’ve built a world of furniture here.” The tables many of you now regularly sit at in the Reading Room, serve as testament to the endurance of Bruce Agnor’s “world.”