James E. Robinson, 76, who retired September 1, 1934, after serving more than thirty years as Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds at the College, died September 6, 1934, at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Robinson and his daughter, Lilly, were visiting another daughter, Mary, a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, when he was stricken with a severe heart attack. A few days later he was removed to Baltimore, where his son Dr. R. Lindsey Robinson, lives. He was taken to the hospital as soon as he reached Baltimore. There it was found he had contracted pneumonia, a contributing factor in his death.
Mr. Robinson was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 30, 1857, and at the age of four came to Cedar Falls with his parents. His father, Peter, was a contractor. In 1882 he erected Gilchrist Hall, one of the oldest buildings on the campus. His son, James, as contractor, built three buildings on the campus during the last decade of the nineteenth century--the first president’s home, the Administration Building, and the Auditorium Building. In 1901 he became Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds at the College. During his tenure in that capacity, he supervised the construction of seventeen more buildings. The physical growth of the College is illustrated by the fact that when Mr. Robinson assumed his duties, the campus was comprised of forty acres and included ten buildings. Today, the campus spreads over 137 acres and has more than thirty buildings.
From an article in the Alumnus, January 1935, page 11.