Favorite New Deal Site: H.J. Patterson Hall, University of Maryland, College Park

Tell Us About Your Favorite New Deal Site

Working from “Home”
H.J. Patterson Hall, University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland

H.J. Patterson Hall 

H.J. Patterson Hall 
Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

My office in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland is in H.J. Patterson Hall, a Georgian-style, red brick building that offers a panoramic view of the campus. The building, dubbed “HJP,” is named for Harry J. Patterson, an agricultural chemist who served as the University’s president from 1913-1917. Originally the Arts and Sciences Building, the building was constructed in 1934 in a cost-sharing arrangement between the State of Maryland and the federal Public Works Administration (PWA).

Henson and Kermit

Henson and Kermit 
Photo by Edward R. Landa.

Among HJP’s most famous inhabitants was Jim Henson, Class of 1960, who worked in the building’s soil and crops labs and famously went on to create the Muppets. Fittingly, a bronze statue of Jim in conversation with Sesame Street’s beloved frog, Kermit, was installed just across the street from HJP in a memorial garden named for Jim, who died in 1990.

A major renovation in 2014 gave this New Deal building a second life, which means a lot to those of us who work here and consider HJP our home.


Send us a first-person story of 100 (or so) words describing the site and why you chose it. Submissions will appear in future issues of The Fireside! Be sure to include a photo (with photo credit). Send to [email protected]. Thanks!
Edward R. Landa is the Living New Deal National Associate for Maryland & Delaware, and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland-College Park.

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