Willamette University is on the e. edge of downtown at 900 State St. Established in 1842 by Rev. Jason Lee, the university is the oldest institution of higher learning west of Missouri. The 65-acre campus is a handsome blend of redbrick buildings set amid lawns and groves. Statues, monuments, gardens and a millrace enhance the setting.
Waller Hall, completed in 1867, is the oldest functioning college building in the West. The five-story Greek Revival structure, capped with a cupola, once housed the entire school. Collins Science Center, just west of Waller, contains exhibits of rocks and minerals. A glacial erratic, a rock deposited on a hill near Salem by Ice Age floodwaters, is displayed beside the center's State Street entrance.
The campus has several botanical attractions, including a rose garden and a Japanese garden. The Martha Springer Botanical Garden, beside the millrace near the eastern edge of campus, contains 12 theme areas and a section highlighting Oregon's natural regions. The Star Trees, located off State Street in front of Collins Science Center and Waller Hall, is a grove of five sequoias planted in a star formation in 1942 to honor the university's centennial.