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April 4, 2024

Ohio State Students With a Volkswagen Bus in the Common Room of Lincoln Tower, 1970

This is no April Fool’s joke: In 1970, several students living on the 23rd floor of Lincoln Tower purchased a 1961 VW bus from a local junkyard. They then disassembled the bus, carried it to their room, and reassembled it. “I did it just for the heck of it,” one student said.

Overlooking the Olentangy River on West Campus, Morrill and Lincoln Tower were officially completed in 1967, although students began moving in in the Fall of 1966.

The original plan was to build six identical towers on west campus to accommodate the growing number of students attending Ohio State. Morrill and Lincoln Tower were the first and only two to be built, housing 1,920 students each. They became the first two dorms on campus to allow both male and female students to live there.

Lincoln & Morrill Towers.

The original plan was to create a central hub for students on west campus which inspired the construction of the Drake Union and ideas for a shopping district, post office and other facilities, but they were never built.

Where to build the towers was highly debated among university officials. Since the buildings were near a body of water, power lines were rearranged and a pump system was put in each tower to prevent flooding.

Morrill Tower was named after Justin S. Morrill, a congressman from Vermont who introduced the Morrill Land-Grant Acts in 1861 that allowed Ohio State to be built. It is a 23-floor building that has more student housing space than its counterpart.

Lincoln Tower was named after President Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Morrill Act into law. In 1975, the first 14 floors of the building were renovated into office space, and the other 8 floors are used as student housing.

A typical study room in Lincoln Tower, 1967.

The number of students living in Morrill and Lincoln gradually fell as the towers became overcrowded with four people to a room, and sixteen people to an entire suite. In 1991, the towers were renovated and some of the rooms were converted to doubles instead of quads.


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