Chemistry classes were originally held in the basement of College Hall. The needs of the Chemistry Department soon outgrew their facilities and in 1905 the state legislature appropriated $50,000 for the erection of a "Chemical Laboratory." The new brick building was erected between Old Main and South Engineering (see image above left), which was occupied in 1906.
About 7 PM on Christmas Eve, 1909, flames were discovered in the building. Fargo firefighters struggled to save the building despite fire hydrants that didn't work, snow, and low water pressure. The nearby Library and Engineering buildings both caught minor fires from the flying embers. NDAC President Worst sprained an ankle sweeping embers off the Library roof.
In the end, the Chemistry Building was completely burned, resulting in an estimated $75,000 in damages to the building, its contents and grounds. Professor Ladd, head of the Chemistry Department, lost over $800 in personal effects. No one ever determined the origin of the fire with certainty. The consensus opinion was from electric wiring.
The image of the charred remains of the building is not a postcard but was taken from the NDSU archive site to show the before and after.
After the fire , a new, fireproof building was erected in 1910 and dedicated as "Chemistry". This building, like the earlier chemistry building, had a greenhouse attached, and a high, square tower that served as the college weather station for many years.
This building was rededicated in 1952 as Ladd Hall—in honor of Edwin Fremont Ladd, who was appointed, on August 20, 1890, the first professor of Chemistry at NDAC. Ladd was appointed President of NDAC in 1916, after President Worst resigned. Ladd was elected Senator from ND in 1920. He died in office in June 22, 1925.