On a recent trip to Saint Louis, Missouri, I had the opportunity to visit a school that until a few short years ago I had never new existed. Despite my lack of knowledge about it, the Barnes-Jewish College, Goldfarb School of Nursing is an institution that has a history that goes back further than my current institution (the University of Memphis). As is the case with many colleges, Goldfarb is the current iteration of several institutions that came together to form the current school. Goldfarb traces its history back to 1902 when it began life as the Jewish Hospital School of Nursing. Although some sources indicate it was the first, the college’s website says it merely one of the earliest schools of nursing accredited by the National League of Nursing. Regardless, the institution flourished and by the early 1990’s offered degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels in nursing and other allied health fields.
Another institution that now part of the college began life in 1955 when the Barnes Hospital School of Nursing was founded. Barnes formed its own school when Washington University shuttered its nursing program. Some time thereafter (I was unable to ascertain exactly when), the Barnes College of Nursing became a component of the University of Missouri St. Louis. The two institutions would finally merge into the current iteration in 2005. Shortly thereafter, the college ceased offering associate’s degrees. Today, Goldfarb enrolls more than 625 students at the bachelor’s (BSN), master’s (MSN), and doctoral (DNP and Ph.D.) levels.
The Goldfarb name comes from local businessman and philanthropist Alvin Goldfarb. Mr. Goldfarb was founder of the Worth Stores, a women’s clothing business centered in St. Louis. He gave a substantial donation to the school, a good portion of which was responsible for the building you see in the loan photo below, appropriately named Goldfarb Hall. You can read more about him here. The building was designed by St. Louis-based architectural firm Christner Architects. The firm has designed many university buildings and even an entire campus plan. Opening in 2007, the building includes some 105,000 square feet of classrooms, labs, offices, and auditoriums. Costs came in at $40 million (roughly $54.7 million in 2022). The building was honored with several awards including the American School and University Architectural Portfolio 2008 Outstanding Design Award, the 2007 Construction Industry Best Practice Award, Honorable Mention, St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers, and the 2008 Project Achievement Award for New Construction under $30 Million, Construction Management Association of America.
The weather and work have been keeping me off the blog for a time, so I am returning with a quick post on another campus of the Southwest Tennessee Community College (STCC). I had previously posted about the STCC Union Avenue Campus and today return the institution with some photos of the Macon Cove Campus. I had mentioned the campus in the earlier post. When the college was devised, a two-campus plan was basically in the works from the beginning. The Macon Cove Campus sits about sixteen miles east of the Union Avenue Campus, and at the time of the construction of both Macon Cove was likely considered very far out from the downtown campus. Today of course, metropolitan Memphis extends much further east, but photos from the era show that not too much existed that far out at the time. The campus itself is large, covering some one hundred acres and consisting of nine academic buildings and a handful of smaller support (e.g., physical plant) structures. It is a pleasant space and seemed generally well maintained. Indeed, the cleanliness of the interior of the buildings was better than some public universities in the area.
As is too often the case for two-year colleges, little information is available about the history of STCC. This, coupled with the fact that I covered the Union Avenue Campus in an earlier post, will leave the historical notes on the campus relatively brief. We begin with the first two buildings you see when entering campus: William W. Farris Student Services Administration Complex and the Bert Bornblum Library. The buildings are connected via the curved wall you see in the first two photos below. The spot marks the main gateway into campus and provides a bit of dramatic detail to the space. In the first two photos below, the Bornblum Library is on the left and the Farris Building is on the right. I will start with Farris and then come back to Bornblum.
William “Bill” Farris was a fixture in West Tennessee politics and in the democratic party for decades. He held many political positions including a seventeen-year stint on the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR). TBR was the sole governing board of all public colleges and universities in the state aside from units of the University of Tennessee System for decades. It still exists, but the other state universities in that system have moved on to form their own boards. The building acquired his name in 1989.
The first three photos below are of the east façade of the building marking the entrance to campus. The fourth is the building’s auditorium on the west side of the building. The signs of spring are not yet evident on a tree on the west side as seen in the fifth photo. Behind this spot is an atrium seen in photo six. The seventh photo is the north façade of the building. The remaining four photos are interior shots of the building.
The next set of photos are of the Bert Bornblum Library. Bornblum is named for Bert Harry Bornblum. A native of Poland, he immigrated to the U.S. upon the Nazi’s invasion with his younger brother David. His family did not survive the Holocaust. They had family in Memphis and eventually made their way here. He was eighteen at the time. Both he and David would serve during the war. After the war, they opened Bert’s Men’s Store on Beale Street
He and David would go on to found the Judaic Studies program at the University of Memphis. Bornblum was a notable philanthropist in the area. He gave significant funds to numerous organizations and causes. He founded the Bornblum Solomon Schechter School here and donated extensively to local Lemoyne-Owen College and to STCC. He donated to the nursing program at STCC and provided significant funding for the library which now carries his name. He also funded the Land of Israel Studies program at Kineret College in Israel. The library was dedicated on December 1, 2009. The building was co-designed by two Memphis-based architectural firms. If I understand it correctly, the firm Evans Taylor Foster Childress handled the interior work while Askew Nixon Ferguson did the exterior work. Both have related academic work at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the University of Tennessee Martin, and the University of Memphis. The first floor has the reference section, offices, check out desks, an auditorium, and an art museum (which was closed during my visit). The second floor has the main stacks, offices, group and individual study rooms, and a copy center. The photos below begin with three views of the east side of the building and then the main entrance in the fourth. The plaques are located just inside the front doors. Photos seven and eight are of the ground floor; the rest are of the second and include general stack spaces and study rooms. There were no names or information about the three portraits seen in photos thirteen through fifteen but given the regalia the gentlemen are wearing I assume they are past presidents of STCC. If you know, please leave a note in the comments.
The building is really cool, and the interior has design elements and features I would not expect in a community college library. Community college buildings tend to be very utilitarian, but the Bornblum Library is very nice, and the interior is quite beautiful. The library contains some 69,300 sqaure feet of space.
Next, we have one of the newer structures on campus, the Academic Building. It is a large building with what appears to be the biggest single footprint of any building on campus. In sum, it comes in at 106,000 square feet. In addition to classrooms, it has many wet labs and computer labs. It is a beautiful building on the inside. The first three photos are of the south side of the building. The fourth is the main entrance as seen from the north. Next, we have one of the newer structures on campus, the Academic Building. It is a large building with what appears to be the biggest single footprint of any building on campus. In sum, it comes in at 106,000 square feet. In addition to classrooms, it has many wet labs and computer labs. A notable feature is the woodgrain wall complete with the STCC Seal seen here in the fifth photo. It is a beautiful building on the inside. The two-story atrium, seen here in photo six is in the middle of the long structure. The building was designed by Memphis architectural firm LRC and built by EMJ construction. The two-story atrium, seen here in photo seven is in the middle of the long structure. The last photo is a typical classroom in the building. The building was designed by Memphis architectural firms Looney Ricks Kiss (LRC) and Fisher & Arnold and built by EMJ construction. Construction began in 2008 and the total cost came in at about $17 million (about $22.2 million today).
Next, we have the Charles O. Whitehead Center seen in the first two photos below. Whitehead was a fixture in the community-college sector in Tennessee for some time. He was president of two community colleges (in Chattanooga and Memphis). The building was designed by the Memphis architectural firm Goforth/Fleming. The firm was founded by Robert Goforth in 1960 and acquired the name Goforth/Fleming in 1970 when Robert Fleming joined him in 1970. The two would part ways in 1980. Fleming Architects continue to this day and have designed buildings for colleges and universities across the Midsouth.
The building is one of the earliest structures on campus, and it shows not only in the exterior design but in the interior as well. It has a high school feel to it. The interior walls are concrete block and there are lockers (in use) in the hallways. Still, the building was clean and in terms of appearance at least, in good working order.
I have to say that perhaps the best aspect of this building to me was the sign. I know it's strange, but the font/color scheme/layout is 1970's at its best. The building was designed by the Memphis architectural firm Goforth/Fleming. The firm was founded by Robert Goforth in 1960 and acquired the name Goforth/Fleming in 1970 when Robert Fleming joined him. The two would part ways in 1980. Fleming Architects continue to this day and have designed buildings for colleges and universities across the Midsouth. I posted about their work for Jackson State Community College’s Jim and Janet Ayers Center for Health Sciences about a year ago. The Whitehead Center opened in 1975.
Directly across (to the south) of Whitehead is the Nabors Auditorium Building, seen here in the third and fourth photos. I could find no information on the source of the name.
The sixth photo is the main entrance to the Robert B. Fulton Engineering Technology Building. Robert Fulton was a Rear Admiral in the Navy. During World War II, the ship on which he served, the USS Houston, was sunk and he became a prisoner of war. He would remain so through the end of the war. He remained in the Nacy after the war. He came to Memphis in 1968 to aid in the development of the college that would become STCC. He ran the engineering technology programs for many years. Finally, this set closes with a photo of the Fulton Building Auditorium and an STCC clock.
Sitting behind (to the west) of Bornblum and Farris is the John L. Thornton Building. Despite having his name on the building and the mention of the John L. Thornton Memorial Scholarship on the STCC website, I was unable to find anything on the man himself. If you know anything, leave a comment. I will update the entry if I am able to find out anything about him. It is a structure representative of its time. A Brutalist building with no real ornamentation and an outward appearance of concrete. The few windows are mere slits. It does not strike me as inventive or attractive.
Behind the Thorton Building (to the west) is the Richard D. Sulcer Building. It too is a rather plain concrete structure, but it at least has some good-sized windows. I was unable to find out anything about the building of the man for which it is named unfortunately. This is the east façade of the building.
Finally, we close with two photos showing some STCC logos and the Saluki mascot.
As 2021 comes to a close today a word of thanks to the visitors to the blog. I started this just over a year ago thinking it would be something fun to do and without any expectations of readership. For a blog that has no advertising or way to promote it, University Grounds has been getting a good bit of traffic. According to Google Analytics, the past year has seen readers from each continent (save for Antartica of course), and dozens of countries. Most of the engaged users have been from the U.S., but readers from Europe and Asia have spent a good deal of time on it as well. My thanks to you all! Hopefully, the pandemic will continue to abate and I can get back to travelling and add institutions on a more frequent basis. Happy New Year!
As fate would have it, my oldest son had a Christmas band concert scheduled for the 7th, and I was unable to go to the match up of my two alma mater’s in New York for the Jimmy V Classic. Thankfully, it was televised. It was a nail biter. A truly good game, particularly for a pre-season tournament match-up, and both teams showed some strong elements for the year ahead. We started watching the game, appropriately enough, while eating a Tex-Mex dinner. No tortillas were thrown, however, as my sons and I would never let a tortilla go uneaten (if you don’t know about tortilla throwing, it’s a Texas Tech thing you can read about here and here). In the end, Tech won the game 57-52 beating the 13th ranked Tennessee Volunteers in over time.
I will have the opportunity to see the Texas Tech football team in person this month, as they will play Mississippi State in the Liberty Bowl here in Memphis after Christmas. Mississippi State is coached by former Tech coach Mike Leach who, owing to a very bitter break-up, will likely cherish the opportunity to stick it to the Red Raiders. Given that the Memphis metro area literally spans across the Mississippi boarder, I imagine we Tech fans will be the distinct minority in the live audience.
After my initial post, a friend of emailed to ask “Exactly what in the world are the two-tone Texas Tech sneakers you are talking about?”. Now you know.
Blue Mountain College is a sectarian college in the eponymously named community in northeast Mississippi. It is just about an hour and a half drive outside of Memphis. Despite it being fairly close to my home, I had not been there until this visit. I was passing through town on the last day of November this year and made a quick stop to take some photos. It was surprisingly warm for such a late date and the bright day was perfect for taking a few quick snapshots. The college is just two years shy of its sesquicentennial, and I hope they have a grand celebration when 2023 comes.
Blue Mountain was founded by Mark Perrin Lowrey, a Baptist Preacher and former General in the Confederate Army (he had previously served in the U.S. Army). His service in Confederate Army was unusual as he was vocally against slavery and reluctant to join the rebellion. He did so in the end as he felt that secession by vote was done in a fashion consistent with founding of the U.S. and therefore legal. The Union attempting to maintain forces and supply Fort Sumter was thus in his eyes an unlawful act. Lowrey was born in Tennessee but moved to Mississippi where he served as a preacher for the Southern Baptist Convention. He would go on to serve as president of the Convention from 1868 to 1877. He would also serve on the Board of Trustees for both the University of Mississippi and Mississippi College. Feeling that educational opportunities for women in the state were lacking, he decided to create a school for women. This was remarkable given the era and the fact that Lowrey, the son of immigrants, had no formal education himself. He acquired a hillside farm called the Brougher Place in Tippah County for the site of the school. The college was founded as the Blue Mountain Female Institute on September 12, 1873. It opened with fifty students. Lowrey would serve as the first president and one of only four faculty when the school opened. The college officially changed its name to Blue Mountain College in 1876. His tenure as president would continue until his untimely death at age 57 in 1885. He was transferring trains on his way to New Orleans with faculty and students from the college when he collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack.
At the time of his death, enrollment had increased to 148 students. His will stipulated that the college would remain in the family and dedicated to the education of women. He was followed in the presidency by two of his sons and his grandson (W.T. Lowrey, B.G. Lowrey, and Lawrence T. Lowrey respectively). His daughter Modena Lowrey Berry would also work at the school eventually rising to become Vice President. Her tenure lasted a remarkable sixty-one years from 1873 to 1934.
The family ceded control of the college to the Mississippi Baptist Convention in 1920. The college would gain accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1927. Although a training program in church work for men would begin at Blue Mountain in 1957, the institution did not formally admit men until 2006. Today, Blue Mountain enrolls just over 950 students nearly all at the undergraduate level. The college offers twenty-four undergraduate and four master's degrees.
First up is the Lawrence T. Lowrey Administration Building. Named for the former president and grandson of the college's founder and first president, the building was completed in 1928. Lowrey was designed by architect James Manly Spain who was a prolific Mississippi architect. He was a two-time alumnus of Mississippi College and completed his architectural training at Columbia University. In addition to Lowrey, he designed other collegiate buildings across the state including Cain Hall (1926), Denton Gym (1937), and Central Dormitory (1937) at the Hinds Community College, McDaniel Hall (the first Administration Building at Holmes Community College in 1938), and Weathersby Hall (1947) at the University of Southern Mississippi (since razed in 2006).
The Colonial Revival building has a familiar feel to it. Indeed, if you look back through the archives of this blog, you will see that it closely resembles contemporaries in the administration building category of other regional institutions including Lane College, the University of Memphis, and the University of Memphis Lambuth. The building stands midway up the hillside upon which the college sits and has no buildings in front of it. Thus, what appears to my untrained eye as the largest building on campus has a commanding view of the surrounding area. The walkway and steps leading to the front of the building were a gift of the class of 1969. As can be seen in the sixth photo, the entryway was renovated in 2015 courtesy of a gift of the class of 1965. In addition to offices, the building has a large chapel/lecture hall which was occupied during my visit. The room is called the Modena Lowrey Berry Auditorium and seats 876. The last three photos were taken inside the front doors. The building was decorated for the impending Christmas holiday.
The first two photos below are of Guyton Library. Guyton has holdings of over 80,000 and a large collection of materials from General Lowrey. The library is named for Dr. and Mrs. David E. Guyton, both of whom taught at Blue Mountain. The library was completed in 1957. Next door to Guyton is Garrett Hall seen in the last photo. The building houses fine arts. Garrett was designed by architect Dudley C. White and built by the Walter L. Perry Construction firm from Philadelphia, MS. It was completed in 1950. Perry Construction has been involved in many college and university buildings throughout Mississippi including Jackson Hall at East Central Community College (1928), and the Mary Buie-Kate Skipwith Museum (1938), Weir Memorial Building (1939), and the Physics Building (Lewis Hall, 1939) at the University of Mississippi.
Next up is the Student Union Building, or SUB, seen in the first three photos below. The SUB was designed by Flowood, MS based architectural firm JH&H. The building opened in 1970 and at the time was called the Pascal Student Union. I was unable to find out who for whom it is named but it appears the Pascal name has been dropped as the name does not appear on the building nor on any Blue Mountain College webpage. The firm has designed dozens of buildings for colleges and universities across Mississippi. The 15,000 square foot building is one of two structures on campus designed by the firm (I did not photograph the other, a men’s dorm).
The Ray Dining Hall, seen below in photos four and five, is the main food services location on campus (I believe you can get food in the SUB as well). The sixth photo is Tyler Gym and finally a photo of tennis courts which sit adjacent to the gym. The college athletic teams are called the "Toppers", as in hilltoppers, and their mascot seen here is a mountain goat seen on the banner in the last photo. The college has a sports complex near campus, but I didn't have the time to visit on this trip. As was the case with the SUB, I was unable to find out any information about the naming of these buildings.
The following set are three of the four residence halls on campus. The first photo below is Cockroft Hall, a men’s residence hall on campus. The building sits adjacent to the Ray Dining Hall and very close to the Lowrey Administration Building. I was not able to find out anything about the name. Whitfield Hall is a dormitory for women which was completed in 1928. The building was designed by architect Walter R. Nelson. Nelson also designed the now razed Whitfield Dining Hall on the Blue Mountain campus. Despite two buildings carrying the Whitfield moniker, I was not able to find out anything about the name. Last, we have a photo of the Jennie Stevens Residence Hall, another dorm for women. The building was constructed in 1950. I could not find out anything about Jennie Stevens.
The following photos are of the gate on the southeast side of the campus. The street leads past the SUB and the front of the Lowrey Administration Building. I love the quotes on the plaques which are on the entry side (first photo) and exit side (second photo) of the gate. It is reminiscent to the gate at the University of Memphis Lambuth (see my earlier post here). The sign in the last photo is north of this gate (the Lowrey Administration Building can be seen in the distance).
A stream runs through campus and it has its own pond as seen in the first three photos. There is a fountain about halfway up the hillside of the campus, see here in the fourth photo. A walkway, courtesy of the class of 1966, extends from the area of the fountain westward up the hill.
The next two photos are of the Palmer-Donnell House which houses the alumni association and serves as a welcome center. The house is named for Alonzo “Lon” Donnell and Charlotte “Lottie” Palmer-Donnell, who according to a news story I found online were both supporters of the college. I believe Lon worked there, although I am not certain of it. I believe that Lottie’s father, Charles F. Palmer, was the original owner of the house although I could be mistaken. An historic photo of the house may be found on a memorial page to him (see here).
Next is the Lowrey Memorial Baptist Church which opened in 1908. It was designed by the R. H. Hunt and Company architectural firm. Hunt and Company’s headquarters were in Chattanooga, TN, but they also maintained offices in Jackson, MS, and Dallas, TX. Hunt designed many structures and quite a few of them for colleges and universities among them Millsaps College, Mississippi College, Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Southern Mississippi.
We close with Blue Mountain's version of the ever popular lamppost sign.
University Grounds is a blog about college and university campuses, their buildings and grounds, and the people who live and work on them.
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