On March 10, 1916, three years after it was first proposed, construction began on the Gates Laboratory of Chemistry. When completed in 1917, the two-story, reinforced-concrete building contained offices, a lecture room, and chemical stock rooms, as well as laboratories for organic, inorganic, physical, analytical, industrial, and photo chemistry; technical analysis; and chemical engineering. Its exterior featured carved stone and wrought-iron trim.

Arthur Noyes made Pasadena his fulltime home in 1919.

Gates Laboratory of Chemistry Floor Plans

Floor plans of the Gates Laboratory of Chemistry drafted by Elmer Grey

Photograph of Commencement on the Steps of Gates

Commencement on the steps of Gates, 1917

Photograph of Sophomore Chemistry Lab

Sophomore chemistry class in Gates, 1935

“I remember very specially the aromatic smell of the Gates Laboratory. They used to run chemistry demonstrations in the big lab, and those were absolutely fascinating. It was a marvelous thing for a young person to be exposed to that.”

—John D. Roberts on touring the Gates Laboratory of Chemistry as a teen. Roberts served as chair of the chemistry division from 1963 to 1968, and as acting chair from 1972 to 1973. Interview by the Caltech Archives Oral History Project, 1985.

Aerial Photograph Including Throop Hall and Gates Lab

Aerial view of campus featuring Throop Hall and the Gates Laboratory of Chemistry, c. 1919

Photograph of Gates Annex Library Windows

Windows of the Gates Annex library, with columns featuring Mayan Revival reliefs of animals and people

With additional funding from Charles and Peter Gates, Caltech expanded Gates Laboratory in 1927. Goodhue had passed away in 1924, but his associates designed an annex that originally contained a library and additional laboratories, offices, and classrooms. The Gates Annex incorporated Byzantine, Native American, Mayan, and Spanish influences.

Chemistry at Caltech expanded into Crellin Laboratory in 1938, Norman W. Church Laboratory in 1955, and Arthur Amos Noyes Laboratory in 1967.