Morrow Plots

Morrow Plots, University of Illinois

Location Urbana, Illinois
Coordinates 40°6′16.01″N 88°13′32.95″W / 40.1044472°N 88.2258194°W / 40.1044472; -88.2258194Coordinates: 40°6′16.01″N 88°13′32.95″W / 40.1044472°N 88.2258194°W / 40.1044472; -88.2258194
Area 0.8 acres (current)
Built 1876
NRHP Reference # 68000024 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP May 23, 1968
Designated NHL May 23, 1968[2]

The Morrow Plots is an experimental corn field at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Named for Professor George E. Morrow, it is the oldest such field in the United States[3] and the second oldest in the world. It was established in 1876 as the first experimental corn field at an American college and continues to be used today, although with three plots instead of the original ten.[3]

The results of the experiments which were carried out at the Morrow Plots showed that "soil quality is a vital component of agricultural productivity", and that the "use of science and technology ... increased crop productivity over four-fold."[3]

The site was designated a National Historic Landmark on May 23, 1968.[2]

It is popularly believed that the University constructed its Undergraduate Library to the west of the Plots with three stories underground, so that the library would not block the sun from the Morrow Plots. However, the University master plan at the time called for a large open plaza on that end of campus, which was an equally important reason the library was built underground.[4]

See also



  1. National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. 1 2 "Morrow Plots, University of Illinois". National Register Digital Assets. National Park Service. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 "Morrow Plots is an Urbana Legend". Partners. Illinois Farm Bureau. Spring 2009.
  4. Leetaru, Kalev. "Morrow Plots". UIHistories Project. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
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