Conference in field: Maybeck, C.H. Sheppard, T.E. Blackwell, 30 April 1931

In 1931, Bernard R. Maybeck opened the Maybeck and White, Elsah Office to supervise the college construction. His representatives on site were Charles Lundgren and Edward Hussey. The architect visited Elsah six times, first in December 1930, when the property had been purchased, and during construction from 1931 to 1935. His visits lasted an equivalent of eight months and included side trips to quarries, steel mills, and tile plants.

To assist him when working from his San Francisco office, Maybeck built a “sample house,” later known as the Mistake House, on the Elsah site referencing building materials and methods to local workmen. He reviewed weekly field reports from Edward Hussey, his representative on site, and exchanged lengthy letters with the director of Principia, Frederic Morgan. Maybeck also requested the following construction photographs to be sent to him for comment and criticism. These 1,655 photographs record the details and visual progress of the buildings under construction. A selection of these construction photographs of the Chapel is below.