Today’s post is a bit of an odd one, given that it centers on something meant for a college campus, but which never came to fruition. I had never heard of it and did not encounter it on the campus in question. This past weekend I was in Atlanta and during some down time in the suburb of Duluth took some time to visit the Southeastern Railway Museum. It’s a small but very nice collection of things railroad and transit. In fact, it has one of the best collections of city buses I have seen. While there, I happened to notice a small, indeed very small, transit car. It turns out that it was part of a prototype people mover system for the Georgia Institute of Technology called the Transette. The museum has a detailed history of the Transette on its website here. Be sure to follow the many embedded links in that page for some cool photos and the official reports on the project. I won’t duplicate that information, but the Transette was a pilot project on campus that never carried a regular passenger. A quarter mile test track was developed linking the student union to a parking lot and tests were conducted over the years from about 1974 to 1981. Funding for the Transette came in the form of a grant from the National Science Foundation. The system ran on something akin to a conveyor belt. Numerous issues were encountered, and many were resolved, but the project was not a success and when funding ceased the plug was pulled and the system was scrapped. Only two cars were completed and the one you see here is the only remaining one. I am surprised that it was not painted gold and white, but I suppose branding would have come later if the system became operational. The university utilized school buses for transit on campus at the time and they were adorned in the official colors. The system is similar to the PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) system developed at West Virginia University a few years prior and which launched regular service in 1975. The WVU system was developed separately and does not use a belt system, but instead has more traditional on-board electric motivation. The PRT cars are also larger. Interestingly, Georgia Tech began utilizing a trolley bus system on campus shortly after the school-bus era and recently switched to standard transit buses. They rolled out two webpages on the new system and the history of transit on campus, but neither mention the Transette (see here and here). The photos below are from my visit. The Jack-o-lantern was part of the many Halloween decorations up during my visit.
I was back in St. Louis the first weekend of this month for a board meeting. The metropolitan area is home to 30 colleges and universities. When I was there in March of this year, I only had time to take one snapshot of the Barnes Jewish College Goldfarb School of Nursing and I really wanted to be able to visit at least two or three campuses during this visit. As fate would have it, I was too busy to do much exploring, plus it was incredibly hot and humid during my visit. Time allowed me the opportunity to visit both the North and South campuses of Saint Louis University, and perhaps another college in the area, but the summer swelter was so bad I was only able visit the two SLU campuses. If you have driven through St. Louis on I-64, you have no doubt seen SLU from the freeway. The Chaifetz Arena and several large dorm towers on campus are easily seen from the Interstate. These large, modern structures do not represent the bulk of campus, however, which is dotted with a variety of old and new buildings many with significant charm and architectural splendor. Despite its urban location and proximity to downtown, it also has some lovely greenspaces which give the inner campus a traditional collegiate feel.
The campus was relatively quiet during my visit. It was the time between the summer and fall semesters and few students were on campus. There were, however, some incoming students and their families on campus. I did have the chance to chat with a few students, faculty, and staff during my visit and they were all very nice and welcoming. I imagine the place is buzzing during the academic year. I would recommend a visit if you happen to be in the city and have some time on your hands. After my visit, I purchased the book Saint Louis University: A Concise History by William Barnaby Faherty, S.J., in preparation for this post thinking it would have information on the various buildings on campus. Although it is a good book on the overall history of the university and a very quick read (it's only 74 pages), it does not have much in the way of the history of the campus architecture. I was also able to get my hands on a copy of the book Saint Louis University: 125 Years by Rita G. Adams, William C. Einspanier, and B.T. Lukaszewski, S.J. (SLU folks fondly called him Father Luke) through the interlibrary loan service here at the University of Memphis. It was a great resource for photos and some background but still not as in-depth as I would have liked. That means that in some cases I cannot give too many details on the buildings you will see. This is particularly true for the structures on the South (health sciences) campus. Although the university has some good background information and a host of historical photos online for the North Campus, it has only a sparse collection for the South Campus. If you happen to know of a source of good information on SLU’s architecture, please leave a comment.
Since its founding just over two centuries ago, the university has accomplished much, many of which were firsts. When it was founded as Saint Louis Academy in 1818, it was the first post-secondary institution west of the Mississippi River. It quickly grew to be Saint Louis College and then, in 1832, Saint Louis University. The change to university status by means of a new state charter made SLU the first university west of the Mississippi. In 1836, the university established a School of Medicine, again the first west of the river. The law school, established in 1843, was also the first west of the Mississippi. The first forward pass in football was made by Bradbury Robinson in 1906. The first geophysics department in the Western Hemisphere was established by Professor James B. Macelwane, S.J., in 1925. Although not part of SLU when it was established, the Parks Air College, now the Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, was the established in 1927. It is the oldest Federally Certified school of aviation west of the Mississippi. SLU integrated in 1944; the first college in the former Confederate States to do so. There are many other firsts – the first school of public health in Missouri and the first university in Missouri to offer a Ph.D. in nursing among them. Doctors at the Saint Louis University Hospital completed the first heart transplant in the Midwest in 1972. The list is notable not merely for the accomplishments but for the sheer number of them as well.
SLU held its first classes on November 16, 1818, in a small building rented from Madame Eugene Alvarez. Then known as the Saint Louis Academy, students were all boys and young men. The next year, fundraising began for a new building. By 1820 the new building, a two-story brick structure was opened, and the fledgling institution had a new name – Saint Louis College. At the request of Bishop DuBourg, a group of Jesuits came to Saint Louis in 1826 and work began to expand the school. On November 2, 1829, a new building opened on land donated by St. Louis resident Jeremiah Connor between 9th and 10th street. The campus would slowly grow on this site. The 1829 building (which Adams, Einspanier, and Lukaszewski indicates closed in 1833, but I am not sure why) was joined by a medical school building and a philosophy building in 1836, and by a classroom building in 1853. The entire campus was surrounded by a nine-foot-high wall in 1838.
The city of St. Louis would continue to grow and as it did the campus began to be crowded by businesses. The impact of the city’s growth was two-fold. In the immediate sense, the possibility for expanding the campus became less as the city grew around it. At the same time, many of the surrounding businesses were bars and other concerns that the Jesuits found unappealing. As they looked for space to grow, the considered locations that had available space and a less urban environment. The university acquired the first element of the current campus, a few miles from the existing downtown space, in 1867.
The university reminds me of Virginia Commonwealth University in a number of ways. Although it is much smaller than VCU, its location in the urban core of St. Louis is reminiscent of VCU. Both institutions also have a health sciences campus that is a couple of miles away from the traditional campus. In VCU’s case, the two campuses are a result of the school being merged from two existing institutions. In SLU’s case, I believe the location difference was a matter of availability of land.
In SLU’s case, the two campuses are about a mile apart, at least as the crow flies between their two closest points. SLU’s campuses carry a simple moniker related to their relative position: the North Campus is the location for the traditional academic programs; the South Campus houses the health sciences. For a time, the North Campus was known as the Frost Campus. The name Frost comes from General Daniel Frost, a native of New York and an alumnus of the United States Military Academy (West Point). Frost would first go to Missouri when stationed at the Jefferson Barracks in Saint Louis in 1850 (the location of the Barracks is actually now part of the North Campus). He resigned from the Army in 1853 and became part owner of a lumber mill company. He was elected to the Missouri legislature in 1854 and during this time served as a member of the West Point Board of Visitors. A proponent of slavery, he actively worked to get the practice established in Kansas. He helped establish the Confederate-leaning Minutemen organization and subsequently joined the Confederate Army. In 1959, his daughter Harriett Frost Fordyce donated $1 million (about $9.9 million in 2022 value) to the university for the purchase of 22 acres of land that are now part of campus. The campus was subsequently named in his honor. As recently as 2017, official publications still found in the corners of the web have the name listed as the Frost Campus. I am not certain when it was changed to its current moniker of simply the “North Campus” but given the namesake’s background it is not surprising that the change occurred.
The North Campus is directly beside the campus of Harris-Stowe State University, and I wanted to continue my tour onto that campus. The heat and humidity of the day at first deterred me, but the idea was moot when I realized the time and I had to be on my way. I imagine I will be back in the city at some point, if for no other reason than to tour the other numerous college campuses in the area for this blog.
The university has numerous gates that mark the entrances to campus. Most consist of two brick columns with a metal archway with the university seal and name. We begin with a photo of two such gateways, standing on opposite sides of South Grand Avenue which bisects the North Campus.
This virtual tour of campus will be ordered in the way I saw it the day of my visit. I parked on Lindell Boulevard just east of Grand Avenue and entered campus through a gate near McDonnell Douglas Hall. McDonnell Douglas was dedicated in a ceremony on September 27, 1997. John F. McDonnell, the former chairman and CEO of McDonnell Douglas and the son of McDonnell Aircraft founder John S. McDonnell was at the ceremony. Until its merger with Boeing in 1997, McDonnell Douglas' corporate headquarters were located at the St. Louis International Airport. The building comes in at about 90,000 square feet of space and houses classrooms, offices, conference rooms, and a 300-seat auditorium. The site was formerly the home to a hotel that had become dilapidated and “seedy” according to observers at the time.
The building, and the Parks' College presence on the North Campus is relatively new. McDonnell Douglas is the home to the Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology. As noted above, Parks began its life as a separate institution, having been founded in 1927 as a school to train pilots. It was the first federally certified school of aviation in the U.S. It takes its name from the founder of the school, Oliver Parks. Parks was working as a car salesman when he learned to fly in 1926. He became a friend of Charles Lindburgh and within a year of gaining his pilot's license, the college was established. Parks was a crucial source of pilots during World War II. The Parks College campus was in Cahokia, Illinois, literally just across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis. Mr. Parks gave the college to SLU, including all buildings and land, on August 1, 1946. The value of the totality of the gift was estimated to be about $3 million (or just over $45 million in today's value). Parks would stay on as dean for three years, accepting a salary of only $1 per year for his efforts. Parks would also serve as chairman of the expansion fund drive for SLU during this time. Not only would college remain on its campus in Cahokia, but additional facilities were also built in the coming years. I believe the campus officially closed with the opening of McDonnell Douglas Hall. SLU donated the campus and buildings to the town of Cahokia. A notable alumnus of Park was Gene Kranz who was Chief Flight Director at NASA during the Gemini and Apollo missions. He was famous for his mission vests made for him by his wife Marta. He was portrayed by Ed Harris in the movie Apollo 13.
The first seven photos are views of the south side of the buildings and the courtyard on the south and west ends of the building. The courtyard features tables with solar powered charging spots, similar to those I saw at the Southwest Tennessee Community College Union Avenue campus. Just inside the main entrance is a large rotunda area (photos eight and nine) which features a dome and a terrazzo floor complete with the university's seal (photo ten).
The eleventh photo is a painting of Oliver Parks seen in the rotunda area. A statue of astronaut John “Jack” Leonard Swigert, Jr. stands in the rotunda on the main floor as seen here in the twelfth photo as well. Swigert was a last-minute addition to the crew of Apollo 13, having joined the crew two days prior to launch. He was portrayed in the eponymous movie by Kevin Bacon. I could not find any connection between him and SLU. He is a native of Colorado and a graduate of the University of Colorado, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Hartford. I suppose the connection is via McDonnell and their work on the space program. None the less, it is a fitting tribute to a great American.
Along the inside south wall of the building is a mural that depicts the history of the Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, partially seen here in photos thirteen and fourteen. The banner seen in the fifteenth photo is on an adjoining wall at the end of the mural. It depicts the SLU mascot the Billiken as an engineer.
Being an aviation school, it is not surprising that the college has its own flight simulator (photo sixteen). There are several alcoves that line the inside ring of the second floor of the building, and each has a piece of art. Here you can see two examples in photos seventeen and eighteen.
The last photo was taken from beside McDonnell Douglas looking southward. It shows a statue of Charles Lindburgh. Behind the stature you can see part of Oliver Hall. Although I am not certain, I believe Oliver Hall was named after Oliver Parks. It is used as an engineering lab space. It started life as the SLU Central Utilities Plant as can be seen here and here.
Just to the southeast of McDonnell Douglas is the SLU Soccer Field. If you are a soccer buff, you probably know that SLU has one of the most historic programs in collegiate athletics. The Men’s soccer team holds the record for consecutive appearances in the Division I Championship Tournament and won a staggering 10 National Championships during the 15-year period from 1959 to 1973! During this time, they made six consecutive appearances in the National Championship games. It was an era for dynasties as it was during this time that the UCLA Bruins won 10 national titles in men’s basketball under coach John Wooden.
Football came to SLU in 1888 in a game against a squad from nearby Washington University. True intercollegiate play would commence in 1899 and would continue until 1949, although no games were played in 1943 or 1944 due to World War II. Football would come back as a club sport in 1968, but that would be discontinued after the 1973 season. Still, the football program had one notable accomplishment. Although Walter Camp of Yale threw the first forward pass in 1876, the play was illegal by the rules of the game at that time. History tells us that the first “legal” forward pass came in a 1905 contest between Washburn University and Wichita State University (then known as Fairmont College). In that game, which was considered experimental due to it allowing the forward pass as a test as well as the then new idea of requiring ten-yard advancements to achieve first downs, Bill Davis connected with Art Solter. Many consider this to the be the first legal first pass, and in a way it was. But there nothing normal about the game in terms of scheduling and rules. That particular game was held on Christmas Day 1905. The rules allowing for the forward pass would not actually be in effect until the 1906 season. On September 5, 1906, SLU travelled to Wisconsin to play Carroll College. During the game, Bradbury Robinson completed a throw to Jack Schneider making the SLU the first to complete a legal forward pass in regular play.
Behind the Soccer Field you can see the Chaifetz Arena in the distance. I had intended to get over there and take a look around, but the heat was punishing, and I eventually opted out of the walk over there. Chaifetz officially opened on April 10, 2008 and came in at a total cost of $80.5 million (or about $109 million today). Chaifetz is named after alumnus Dr. Richard Chaifetz (Class of 1975) who donated $12 million for the construction of the facility. Chaifetz is a psychologist by training who founded the ComPsych Corporation and the Chaifetz Group. He was a freshman at SLU when his estranged father stopped paying his tuition. He asked for help from the president of SLU, Reverend Paul C. Reinert, S.J., telling him that if he could stay he would later repay his tuition and much more. He more than lived up to that promise. Chaifetz and his wife Jill would later donate an additional $15 million to the university which subsequently named the business school after him (see below). Chaifetz seats up to 10,600 in its main arena, 1,000 in a practice facility, and has work out space, locker rooms, and other amenities.
The last two photos are the Mark Werle Memorial Plaza and fountain. Werle was an undergraduate at SLU when he passed.
Next, we have Fitzgerald Hall, seen in the first two photos of the set below. The building was named in honor of Thomas Fitzgerald, S.J., the 30th President of SLU. He served in that role from 1979 to 1987 and was notable in leading the university from a deficit state to a robust financial status. The university’s endowment grew nearly two and a half times during his tenure, increasing from $57 to $141 million. He was instrumental in the development of campus as well. A new law school building opened during his tenure, the library was expanded, the Simon Recreational Center was built, and a major expansion and renovation of the Saint Louis University Hospital (see below) was completed as well. One of the best things he accomplished architecturally during his presidency was transitioning Pine Street, which formally cut through the heart of campus, into a pedestrian mall. This undoubtedly changed not only the appearance of the campus, but also gave it the serene center it now enjoys. Fitzgerald had previously served as President of Fairfield University in Connecticut from 1973 until 1977 when he came to SLU. Fitzgerald Hall is the home of the SLU School of Education, and I believe it opened with that role. In trying to learn more about the building, I discovered that Fitzgerald Hall is an extremely common name for academic buildings. There are many Fitzgerald Halls at colleges and universities across the country.
Next door to Fitzgerald is Tegeler Hall. The building opened in 1971 and is named after Jerome F. Tegeler. An alumnus of SLU (Class of 1929), Tegeler was a member of the Board of Trustees for many years. He had been President of the brokerage firm Dempsey‐Tegeler. There is a neat photo of Tegeler sitting in his office at Dempsey‐Tegeler in 1962 on the University of Missouri System digital library page which you can see here. The midcentury modern office looks like something off the television series Madmen. Tegeler’s son, Timothy J. Tegeler continues his father’s support of SLU. Tegeler Hall is the home of the SLU School of Social Work. The school opened at SLU in 1930; it became accredited in 1933 and has remained so ever since. The school is notable for its admission of the first African American student to the university in 1939 although formal integration of all programs and facilities would not occur in 1944.
The last photo of this set is the tree-lined walkway in front of the Fitzgerald/Tegeler complex.
The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building, or ISE, is a new addition to campus. ISE has been open for about two years, and in addition to having some modern features (as you can see in the photos), it still carries with it that new building vibe (the equivalent to the “new car smell” in my mind). The building has a large footprint and rises three stories. In total, it has about 90,000 square feet of space. Cost to complete the facility came in around $50 million. The building has LEED© Silver certification and is the second SLU structure to be so certified (the other, the Doisy Research Center, is detailed below). The building was designed by the Saint Louis-based architectural firm Hastings + Chivetta. The firm has completed numerous projects for SLU including a revision of the campus master plan. They have also designed buildings for other colleges and universities across the nation. Interestingly, one of the structures they designed was the Jonah L. Larrick Student Center on the MCV Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University where I once worked. The ISE building has a large classroom for up to 210 students, numerous instructional labs, and 10,000 square feet of research space. The contractor for the building was BSI Constructors of St. Louis. It stands on part of what was once Camp Jackson prior to the Civil War. A topping out ceremony was held on December 6, 2019. It was opened in late July 2020 and the building officially opened in a ceremony held on September 26, 2020.
Situated diagonally across from the ISE Building is Ritter Hall. Although the SLU map and the sign in front of the building simply refer to it as “Ritter Hall”, the official name appears to be “Cardinal Ritter Hall”. Named for Joseph Elmer Ritter, who served as archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis from 1946 to 1967.
An early rendering of Ritter had the form of the building taking an “L” shape. Interestingly, it was to be part of a complex with a second structure to the east connected by a courtyard and an elevated walkway that would span Grand Avenue (see here and here). I imagine the overall cost of the complex delayed the project until such time as a different option for the site was chosen. Construction on the building began in 1965 and cost about $1.6 million (about $15.3 million in today’s value). A little over $500k of the expense came in the form of a Higher Education Facilities Act grant from the Federal government. The building was designed by the Kenneth Wischmeyer firm of St. Louis. The firm was founded by Kenneth E. Wischmeyer Sr., and later his son Kenneth Jr. joined the firm. Given that Kenneth Senior was in his eighties when the building was designed, I imagine the lead on the project was Kenneth Jr.
On the south side of Ritter is the Prodigy Statue seen in the last photo of this group. I was unable to learn anything about the statue online.
The next set of photos are of the Busch Memorial Center, the SLU student union. The Busch Memorial Center opened to much fanfare on September 6, 1967, delayed in part due to strikes that slowed construction. It had all of the accoutrements of a student union for the day, and much of what is standard now – an eight-lane bowling alley, a pool, ping pong tables, a cafeteria, and student organization space. Also included were a barbershop, bookstore, and a chapel. Still, reports from students that fall indicated a desire jukebox! The bowling alley was eventually removed, owing to a lack of consistent use, and the bookstore relocated across campus.
The building cost $3.25 million (just over $30 million in today’s value) to build. Of that expense, $500,000 came as a donation from the Anheuser-Busch company. At the time, August A. Busch, Jr., was the chairman of the SLU Development Council. The original portion of the building was designed by St. Louis architect John A. Campbell of the Bank Building Corporation. You can see an architectural rendering of the building here. The Bank Building Corporation’s architects were responsible for some truly magnificent mid-century structures in several states. You can see some of their work archived here. Readers from outside the U.S. may know the name John Campbell from the Scottish-born architect trained at the Glasgow School of Art who was notable for his work in New Zealand. So far as I know, the two are not related. A renovation and addition to the building took place in the early 21st century. The work came in at an expense of $22 million (about $36 million today) and the building was reopened in 2003.
You can see some great photos of August "Gussy" A. Busch, Jr., and Father Paul Reinert at the dedication of the Busch Memorial Center on September 27, 1967, here, here, and here.
A great undated photo of inside the Busch Center can be found here. Judging by the clothes, the hair, and the wide array of cigarettes for sale (not to mention an ash tray), it would appear to be from the 1970’s. I love the size of the cash register! I had to show my sons this photo to illustrate that yes, at one point in time, smoking was widespread, and people actually paid for things with cash. Another photo seen here from about the same period or perhaps the early 1980’s shows that a bar was located in the building and beer was a measly 25 cents a glass!
The first photo below shows what I believe is the original main entrance to the photo which faces north. A sunken courtyard, seen in the second and third photos graces the northeast side of the building. The courtyard features a manmade stream complete with a waterfall as seen in the fourth photo. The fifth and sixth photos are the east side of the building. In early 1966, President Lyndon Johnson visited campus during a multi-stop trip to St. Louis which also had him tour the Gateway Arch under construction. He shoveled dirt to help plant a maple tree, subsequently called the "Lyndon Tree" in front of the Busch Memorial Center. I can't say for certain, but I believe the large tree seen in the last two photos of this set are that tree. If you know for certain, please leave a note in the comments section.
The next set of photos shows a group of buildings which comprise a science complex completed in the 1960's. All of these buildings sit adjacent to the Busch Memorial Center on the east side of the union. The structure seen in the first two photos is Shannon Hall. Shannon is named for James I. Shannon, S.J. who was the first head of the physics program at SLU. Shannon Hall’s official groundbreaking took place on Thursday, March 15, 1962. You can see a photo of the event here. After the groundbreaking, a benediction and remarks were given in a tent on the site (see here and here). You can also see the original rendering of the building here.
STATUE INFO HERE.
A couple of smaller stones which had been painted recently were located in the same greenspace as the statue of Father (NAME). One appeared to be painted about a video game (or something), but the photo I took of it was blurred. What you see here in the fifth photo is the second of these, which has been painted in remembrance of MIA Service Members.
Shannon was the first structure built on what was called the Mill Creek Extension of campus. (EXPLAIN WHAT THE MILL CREEK EXPANSION WAS).
Macelwayne Hall (next four)
Courtyard and Monsanto Hall
Monsanto received its name from the Monsanto company, which was founded in the St. Louis metro community of Creve Coeur in 1901 by John F. Queeny. The company became the first producer of saccharin in the United States. The company’s name comes from Queeny’s wife Olga Monsanto Queeny.
Edwin C. Koening Plaza
Below the courtyard are three large lecture halls which together can sit about 600 people.
The Science and Engineering Center was dedicated in a ceremony on October 12, 1965, in the Koening Plaza.
When SLU moved to its current location, the first building to go up was DuBourg Hall. Financing for DuBourg was made possible via funds made from the sale of the previous campus location. The building opened on July 31, 1888 and was for a time the only structure on campus. As such, it contained the library, offices, classrooms, a lab, and the university chapel. An historical marker by the building noted that its load bearing walls measure two feet thick! An atrium in what was then the library portion of the building extends upwards for four stories. The St. Louis-based architectural firm Chiodini Architects recently completed a renovation of the building’s interior. You can see photos of their work with details here. The building faces Grand Boulevard and the front façade stretches along 270 feet along the street. The back of the building faces the quad. Today, DuBourg is home to administrative and student support offices. DuBourg was designed by Irish-American architect Thomas Waryng Walsh. Walsh was part of the group who founded the St. Louis Architectural Association. He also began work on the design for Saint Francis Xavier Church (also known as College Church) which sits adjacent to DuBourg, but he died prior to completion of the project. Architect Henry Switzer of Chicago was brought in to finish the work. Among his other works is the St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church in Cape Girardeau, MO which is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
DuBourg was under construction from 1886 to 1888. It opened on July 31, 1888, the feast day of Saint Ignatius Loyola. In addition to classrooms and offices, the building also held a library which extended across the second, third, and fourth floors. The Grand Avenue side of the third floor was also home to a museum. Interestingly, you could only access part of the library’s collection which historians have described as more of general literary library as opposed to an academic library. In 1889, Henry Eils, S.J., came to SLU and spent the rest of his working days running the library. In the era before computers, books were listed on actual index cards. Eils hand wrote roughly 50,000 entries on such cards during his time. Some of those cards were still in use when the library moved to the current Pope Pius XII Memorial Library when it opened in (DATE). A thoroughly modern structure for its time, DuBourg had gas lights and was applauded for its ventilation. The building would be retrofitted with electricity in 1907.
Some great old photos of the museum are available on the SLU library digital collection online. You can see a photo of the museum taken around 1888 here, and three taken in 1904 or 1905 here, here, and here. The library inside DuBourg was lavishly decorated for President Theodore Roosevelt’s visit on April 29, 1903 as can be seen here.
Formally named the Edward J. Walsh Memorial Hall, Walsh is one of three connected residence halls, although the dates of the dorms’ building were years apart. Walsh was the first dedicated residence hall on campus, opening in 1952.
Griesdieck Hall was the first mid-rise building constructed on campus. The building opened in 1964.It stands 17 stories. Griesdieck is named in honor of Alvin Griesdieck, Sr., who was chairman of the board of the Falstaff Brewing Company. His father founded the Griesdieck Beverage Company, and after serving in the Navy in WWI, he joined his father’s firm as Secretary. The company would acquire the rights to the Falstaff name from the William J. Lemp Brewing Company in 1920. The Griesdieck Beverage Company subsequently reorganized as the Falstaff Brewing Company in 1933. He became president of the company in 1938. Of the next several decades the company expanded by acquiring other breweries. He was a donor to many causes and served as Chairman of SLU’s Firms and Corporations Council.
Pius XII Memorial Library
The third photo is a statue of Pope Pius XII by Ivan Meštrović. Meštrović was a Croatian sculptor… Readers from the U.S. may know his work at two other universities. A Pieta statue he sculpted stands in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, University of Notre Dame. A 1990 cast of his work Moses (1952) can be seen at Syracuse University in New York. You might also know his statues The Spearman and The Bowman, also known as The Equestrian Indians or The Indians, which stand in Congress Plaza in Chicago.
The SLU Libraries Digital Collections have some great photos of Pius XII during construction.
A photo of site work construction for the library in July 1957 can be seen here. A southward view of the first floor of the building under construction in December 1957 can be seen here. By June of 1958, the building had assumed its primary form (see here) and by that November the exterior was largely complete (see here).
Samuel Cupples House
It is a remarkably beautiful structure.
We begin the next set with two photos of the old West Pine Gym which is home to the Center for Global Leadership.
Some notable people have given talks in West Pine. Poet W.H. Auden spoke there on February 19, 1967, and Margaret Thatcher gave a speech there on May 1, 1998. Martin Luther King spoke there in 1964, just two days before being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Two nearly identical views of the building from 1952 and 1967 can be seen here and here. I love the 1961 Chrysler Imperial (easily identifiable by its tailfins) in the photo in the second link.
Des Peres Hall
Clock Tower Plaza
The clock tower stands at what once was the intersection of (XYZ) and (XYZ) streets. Standing 50 feet, the tower was made possible in part thanks to a $2 million (about $4 million today) gift from John E. Connelly. It is in the John E. Connelly Mall. The clock tower was completed in 1993 and would receive its current name in 2011 when it was dubbed the Joseph G. Lipic Clock Tower. Lipic was an alumnus of SLU (Class of ZZZZ).
Jonathan C. Smith Amphitheater
Fusz Hall (with Spring Hall behind it)
Museum of Contemporary Religious Art
Xavier Hall (1)
Wuller Hall (1)
Looking Back to Clock Tower
Business Building Chaifetz
First 8 or 9 Cook Hall
The SLU library has a photo of Davis-Shaughnessy under construction in 1931 here.
O'Neil Hall (first two)
The last three photos in this set are of Verhaegen Hall. Verhaegen is named after the first president of SLU, Reverend Peter Joseph Verhaegen, S.J. Verhaegen was not the first president in the history of the institution. That would have been Reverend Francois Niel from 1818-1824 when the institution was known as Saint Louis College. Niel would be followed by Reverend Edmund Saulnier, Reverend Charles F. Van Quickenborne, S.J., and then Verhaegen. But Verhaegen was the first president of Saint Louis University from 1832 to 1836. Interestingly, he was also the fourth and last president of Saint Louis College from 1829-1832. Born in 1800 in present-day Haacht, Belgium. His brother Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen was the president of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives (akin to the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.K. House of Commons); he is also remembered as the father of the Free University of Brussels. Verhaegen came to the U.S. in 1821 as a missionary and was ordained a priest in 1826. When Saint Louis College was taken over by the Jesuits in 1829, Verhaegen was selected as the successor to Quickenborne as president. It was during his tenure that the college received its formal charter from the state of Missouri thus becoming the first university west of the Mississippi (which was then insight from the campus). When he became Superior of the Missouri Jesuit Mission he stepped down from his position at SLU. You can view a photo of Verhaegen from 1904 here.
Next, we have Saint Francis Xavier Church (or College Church). As noted above, the initial design work for the church was completed by local architect Thomas Waryng Walsh. Walsh passed away before the project was completed, and Chicago-based architect Henry Switzer eventually completed the work. The work was completed in two main stages. The lower church, the result of Walsh’s work, and the upper church conceived by Switzer. Groundbreaking for the building was on June 8, 1884. The lower church was completed by year’s end. Construction of the upper church progressed as funding allowed. The church proper was completed in 1898, although the spire would not be finished until 1914. The stained-glass windows were the work of Emil Frei Jr. Frei, a graduate of nearby Washington University, was son of German-born artist Emil Frei Sr. who immigrated to the U.S. in 1895. The family firm continues to this day with fifth-generation Frei’s at the helm (learn more about their work here.
Fountain and Gate (first five)
Second fountain "The Bather) (last one)
We finish our tour of the North Campus with a photo of SLU's version of the now ubiquitous lamppost sign.
The next few sets of photos are of the South Campus, home to the health sciences schools and programs. The first program on the South Campus was the School of Medicine.
As noted earlier in this post, medical education at SLU began in the mid-1800’s. A medical school building opened on the original downtown campus in 1853. I imagine that medical education was already in progress by this point, but I have been unable to discern when it actually began. This original medical school would separate from SLU in 1854. The medical school, now independent, was subsequently named the St. Louis Medical College. It would be led by Charles A. Pope and would colloquially called “Pope’s College”. SLU was thus out of the medical education business and would be for forty-nine years.
The current School of Medicine can trace its roots back to a different institution altogether. In 1884, the local Saint Louis William Beaumont Hospital opened its own school of medicine appropriately named the Beaumont Hospital College of Medicine. I was not able to find out much about the college. It operated independently until 1900 when it would merge with another institution, the Marion Sims College of Medicine. The Sims College of Medicine opened six years after Beaumont on October 1, 1890. The school chose its name after James Marion Sims, a noted physician who has been called the “Father of Gynecology”. Sims developed many medical instruments, advanced gynecological surgery, and helped create the groundwork for the first cancer hospital in the U.S. A statue of Sims stood in New York’s Central Park from 1894 to 2018. The principal word in that last sentence was “stood”. The statue was removed due to ethical considerations of Sims’ work. He conducted surgeries on slaves and in many cases without anesthesia. His once cherished memory is now sullied by the realities of his 19th Century practices. When the Sims College of Medicine opened, 139 students from 15 states matriculated. In 1894, Sims added a dental school which would also be absorbed into SLU years later. The Sims College were located at the corner of Grand Avenue and Caroline Street the current site of the SLU hospital. When Beaumont and Sims merged, the name was changed to Marion Sims-Beaumont College of Medicine.
The new combined institution would not last as an independent entity. In 1903, SLU acquired the Marion Sims-Beaumont College of Medicine. I am uncertain as the particulars driving the acquisition/merger. I have mentioned Paul Bestel’s blog America’s Lost Colleges before, and he has a great post on the Marion Sims-Beaumont Medical College here. For the most part, the SLU medical program would operate in the buildings of the former institution and would, at least at first, follow the existing curriculum. I may be mistaken, but I believe the first structure built after the acquisition was Schwitalla Hall which opened in 1921 (see below). Clinical instruction of medical students was initially conducted in the Rebekah Hospital and the SLU Dispensary. Over time, SLU would establish its own hospital and medical system. Notable among these was the Firmin Desloge Hospital which opened in 1933 (see below).
Much like the North Campus, some of the entryways are marked by brick columns adorned with the SLU name. This one is located at the corner of Caroline Street and South Theresa Avenue. Two physical plant employees were about to trim the bushes when I walked up. They stepped out of the frame so I could take a photo and invited me to come back in a few minutes to get a shot of the gate in better condition. I said I would, and did mean to come back, but the heat got to me and I didn't return.
Below we have two views of the Allied Health Professions Building, home to the Doisy College of Health Sciences. The school is relatively young, having been established in 1979 as the School of Allied Health Professions. The college carries the Doisy name, but the building itself does not.
Edward Adelbert Doisy was a Harvard-trained biochemist. He came to the city of Saint Louis as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Washington University in St. Louis in 1919. He moved to SLU in 1923 to be department chair of biochemistry. In 1930, both he and German biochemist Adolf Butenandt independently discovered estrone, but Butenandt alone would win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1939 for the breakthrough. Despite the snub, Doisy kept working and in 1943 was awarded (with Henrik Dam) the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering Vitamin K. It is a rare feat to have a Nobel Prize winner on faculty, so just imagine had he rightfully been co-awarded in 1939 giving SLU a two-time awardee who did the actual work there. Doisy and the Nobel Prize is another similarity that SLU and my former employer VCU have in common. John Fenn was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry when he was on faculty at VCU (although I believe the work for which he received the work was completed prior to his arrival in Richmond). Baruj Benacerraf received the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He was a professor at Harvard at the time but was an alumnus of the Medical College of Virginia, now part of Virginia Commonwealth University.
The first photo below is Kevyn Schroeder Hall. Schroeder Hall is home to the Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing. Trudy is the daughter of August “Gussie” Busch Jr., and his third wife Gertrude “Trudy” Buholzer Busch. The school acquired the Busch Valentine name after she donated $4 million in 2019. Busch is an alumnae of the school from the Class of 1980. Kevyn Schroeder was a long serving dean of the school and two-time alumnae (Classes of 1975 and 1983). You can see a photo of them together along with Valentine's daughter here. The building opened in 1978.
To the north of Schroeder Hall and adjacent to the Allied Health Professions Building is statue seen in the last two photos of this set. The statue is a caduceus, the symbol of medicine. The caduceus statue here is different in that the typical presentation has two snakes and a staff, which in this case has been replaced with a woman or perhaps an angel. It is a lovely piece, particularly as it is featured with the multicolored plants at the base. I could find no information about it on the SLU website. However, it appears to be a piece by James Muir (see here), and other castings are available for purchase (see here).
Below we have three views of the Education Union. When I first saw the Education Union, I thought it was simply the student union for the South Campus. Although it does have some student support services including a café, a student lounge, and a study area, it is truly an academic space. The building, which comes in at 30,000 square feet, is hallmarked by a lecture hall with seating for 225 students in stadium-styled tiered seating. The building is used by all of the health sciences programs on the South Campus. It also has exam rooms where students can engage in mock clinical work.
The first two are of the east façade of the building looking to the west. The last photo is the west side of the building. This clock tower in the last photo strikes me as the bookend to the clocktower beside McDonnell Douglas Hall.
Margaret McCormick Doisy Learning Resources Center
SLU’s Medical Center Library is located on the second floor of the building.
Caroline was the home the SLU School of Dentistry from 1922 until 1970. The school had formerly been part of Marion Sims College of Medicine which SLU absorbed in 1903. The program at Marion Sims was established in 1894. Schools of dentistry became increasingly common after World War II and the competition with public universities was challenging for private institutions. Amid declining enrollment, SLU decided to shutter its dental school in 1967 but allowing for graduation of existing cohorts. The school graduated its last DDS in 1971. SLU does maintain master’s programs in orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, and pediatric dentistry. These programs are housed in Dreiling-Marshall Hall (see below).
The doors you see in these two photos are not original as a photo from 1925 seen here shows a different set of them. A photo from 1952 or 1953 shows these earlier doors to still be intact, and also illustrates what the western façade of the building looked like prior to its being connected to Schwitalla (see here).
Here you can see where Caroline was connected to Schwitalla. The portion to the right of the doorway marked by an indented concrete façade at the bottom is the connecting point. The cornerstone to the right marks the edge of Schwitalla. A photo from the SLU libraries digital collection from 1996 shows the connection much more clearly as the trees seen in my photo have not been planted for long (see here).
The seventh photo of this series is Schwitalla Hall. It is a large building that faces Grand Avenue. Although I only captured this one photo of it, Schwitalla is an important structure on the South Campus. Schwitalla was constructed in 1921 and was subsequently expanded twice. An addition in 1927 went along Grand Avenue. An additional wing was added in 1948. This does not include the connection to the Caroline Building, nor Caroline’s connection to the Margaret McCormick Doisy Learning Resources Center. The building is named in honor of Alphonse Schwitalla, S.J., longtime faculty member, chair, and dean at SLU.
Born in Upper Silesia, Germany, on November 27, 1882, Schwitalla moved to the United States with his family when he was a toddler. A two-time alumnus of SLU (Classes of 1907 (A.B.) and 1908 (A.M.), he would be ordained a priest in 1915. He subsequently attended Johns Hopkins University from which he graduated with his Ph.D. in zoology in 1921. From there, he returned to SLU as a faculty member in biology where he rose quickly to be department head. Within three years he was named Regent of the School of Medicine in 1924. He would remain in that position until 1948. He completely reorganized the school in 1927. Schwitalla was instrumental in creating the SLU School of Nursing which opened in 1928. He was a driving force for the School of Medicine and other health sciences at SLU and is generally credited with much of the expansion and success of the school and the SLU hospital during the era. He was active in the American Medical Association (AMA), especially with the Council on Medical Education. He was against government involvement in medical care, a belief that would later extend to hospitals operated by state universities.
So impactful to SLU he was often referred to as the “Crown Prince of Caroline Avenue”, although some used the phrase in a derogatory fashion based on his haughty attitude as leader of the medical programs. You can see two photos of Schwitalla, the first from 1930 here and a later photo with President Holloran in 1946 here.
His impact on SLU, the School of Medicine, and the SLU hospital is undeniable. He also had a significant impact on the trajectory of medical schools nationwide. Schwitalla was a site visitor for the AMA Council on Medical Education and an advocate for the elimination of two-year schools of medicine in the U.S. Two-year institutions were common in the U.S. well into the early 20th Century. The Flexner Report, or as it was titled, Medical Education in the United States and Canada, had been released in 1910 and helped to facilitate a transformation of schools of medicine into a modern format. Prior to the Flexner Report, schools of medicine were frequently independent institutions with little in the way of common standards of entrance or curriculum. Many were small proprietary schools formed by local physicians and the qualifications of graduating doctors were suspect. Among other suggestions, the Flexner Report encouraged standardization of curricula, qualifications for faculty and students, and the recommendation schools of medicine be formally associated with existing colleges and universities. Such changes were sorely needed. Well after the report, many schools of medicine remained two-year programs. In essence, these schools provided basic science instruction akin to the first two years of medical school today. Students would graduate with a certificate or other such credential and then would apply to a four-year medical school for the remainder of their education and clinical experiences. Both the AMA Council on Medical Education and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) had approved and accredited such institutions well after World War II. For the most part, graduates of these programs went on to four-year schools and excelled, and their graduation rates compared favorably to students whose entire course of study were at four-year institutions. But there was a push, particularly in the AMA group to get rid of such schools altogether. Notably, the Association of American Medical Colleges still favored two-year schools as a valid and valued part of medical education in the U.S. Two-year programs largely existed in rural states and in cities with populations too small to allow for quality clinical experiences. Two institutions come to mind in this regard: Wake Forest and the University of Mississippi. Despite both programs having long-standing success in sending their two-year students to four-year programs (for years students from Mississippi matriculated at Vanderbilt University upon completion of their studies in Oxford at such a rate that the dean of the school of medicine there at the time considered it a vital pipeline for admissions and the continued success of Vanderbilt medicine), Schwitalla and others wanted them closed. Indeed, as a site visitor for the AMA Council on Medical Education, Schwitalla had a reputation for caring little about the quality of two-year programs and was viewed as someone who merely wanted to limit the competition. A dislike for Schwitalla remained at the University of Mississippi for decades after the School of Medicine there had been transformed into a four-year program and relocated from the small town of Oxford, MS, to the state capital Jackson. Where he was lauded as a medical expert without a degree in medicine at SLU, he was derided as “a want to be, without a degree” at other institutions across the nation. I suppose there are two sides to every coin.
The next to last photo in this set is another of SLU's gateways. This one stands between Schwitalla and O'Donnell Hall which can be seen in the background. Finally, the set concludes with the sign for O'Donnell Hall.
SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital (three)
The building you see here is the Firmin Desloge Hospital, made possible in part by a gift of $1 million from the estate of Firmin V. Desloge, II (worth about $17.5 million today). The Desloge family descended from French royalty. This particular Desloge was a successful businessman particularly in lead mining. The town of Desloge, Missouri is named after him and the mining company that carried his name. His estate was estimated to be worth some $52 million, which at just over $1.1 billion in today’s value, made him one of the wealthiest people in the U.S. at that time. The building was designed by the architectural firm Study, Farrar and Majors with engineering work Arthur Widmer of the Widmer Engineering Company. You can view a photo of the building under construction here.
The fourth photo... To the left of the hospital in this photo you can see part of the building and the spire of the Desloge Chapel. Desloge’s widow Lydia gave $100,000 (about $1.75 million in 2022 value) for the construction of the chapel which had its corner stone laid on June 22, 1931. The chapel was designed by notable American architect Ralph Adams Cram. It is one of many Gothic churches he designed which includes such notables as the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York, the Saint Thomas Church (also in NYC), and All Saints Church in Boston. The Desloge Chapel was meant to evoke the style of St. Chapelle in Paris. The chapel was consecrated in 1933.
Center for Specialized Medicine
Doisy Research Center
Doisy, also named for Nobel Laureate Edward Doisy, is a ten-story structure that officially opened on December 7, 2007. Completed at a cost of $67 million (about $94.5 million in 2022 value), Doisy contains numerous labs and research units.
It is a wonderful greenspace, and I can imagine it being well used when the weather is not too hot, particularly when the youthful trees seen here grow large enough to provide usable shade.
Today’s post is another HBCU that is close to my home in the Memphis area. Rust College is located in the small community of Holly Springs, MS, directly across the street from my last entry Mississippi Industrial College (MIC). I visited Rust the same day in late May that I visited MIC and although it was not the first time I was on the campus it was the first time I took photos.
Rust College was founded by members of the Freedman’s Aid Society, a supported group of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and local African American preacher Moses Adams on November 24, 1866. The local leader of the Freedman’s Aid Society, Reverend Albert Collier McDonald began as the sole instructor and president, taught the first classes in the Ashbury Methodist Episcopal Church in Holly Springs. There was no name to the nascent institution at this point. It was meant to be a school at all levels (primary, secondary, and post-secondary) and most of its initial students were at the primary level. In 1868, the school was taken under the control of the Freedman’s Aid Society outright and a parcel of land at the current location was purchased for the construction of the institution’s first building. Not long after, ground was broken on what would become the first building which opened in 1869. The funding for the building was provided by Reverend S.O. Shaw who donated $10,000 (about $197,500 in 2022 value) for the purpose. The young institution would subsequently be named Shaw University in his honor. Sometime in the early years of the college’s existence, a local carpenter named James Madison Wells became a trustee of the university. Wells was a former slave who was the son of a slave owner; his mother Peggy was enslaved by his father. A local carpenter, Wells was the father of Ida B. Wells, noted journalist, educator, and Civil Rights advocate. Their home in Holly Springs is now the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum which is a few blocks from campus.
Local reaction to the new institution were mixed. Some were against a school for African Americans but reports from the era note that a former local slave owner actively raised money for the college. The name, however, caused some confusion. The year prior to the founding of the college in Mississippi, another Shaw University was founded in Raleigh, North Carolina. That institution, named for Elijah Shaw, was (and is) an HBCU created in the same vein as the new Mississippi school. Thus, in 1892 the first name change occurred when the college was dubbed “Rust University” in honor of abolitionist Methodist Reverend Richard Rust.
Richard S. Rust was born in Massachusetts on September 12, 1815. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, where he was introduced to anti-slavery ideas. Upon hearing a lecture by British abolitionist George Thompson, he formed an anti-slavery group on campus. He and his two fellow co-founders of the group were subsequently expelled for their activities. He went on to attend the integrated Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire. He attended Wesleyan University and upon graduation entered the ministry. He helped found the Freedman’s Aid Society which supported northern teachers who went south after the Civil War to teach former slaves. He was an avid supporter of educational opportunities for African Americans and was instrumental in the founding of Wilberforce University, an HBCU in Ohio, where he served as the first president from 1858–1862. Wilberforce is the oldest private HBCU. Rust’s two sons attended Wilberforce. You can read more about him here.
The name would change again in 1914, this time owing the recognition that the small but growing school was not large nor comprehensive enough to carry the “university” moniker. The name became Rust College and it has remained so ever since. Still, pre-college instruction would continue. The elementary education program would cease in 1930; high school classes would continue until 1953. Rust sits on about 126 acres in Holly Springs, MS, just north of the historic downtown. Part of the site is a former plantation, and a good portion of the land was once the slave auction site for Holly Springs and the surrounding area. Today, nearly 1,000 students are enrolled in the school.
First, we have the most notable building on campus – the McCoy Administration Building. The building is named in honor of Lee M. McCoy, the eighth president of the college (1924-1957) and the first alumnus (class of 1905) to lead the institution. McCoy was a native Mississippian, born in Tippah County on May 30, 1882. His 33-year tenure as president has to be among the longest of any college president. He was the youngest of nine children, all of whom were born after the Civil War. According to records from the Public Works Administration, his parents were former slaves, and their surname came from his father’s initial enslavers in South Carolina. His father became a preacher and despite not being able to read, he reportedly knew much of the Bible by memory.
McCoy Hall was inspired by Independence Hall in Philadelphia and hence the striking resemblance. The two-story Colonial Revival Building is beautiful but did show its age in places on the exterior. That’s not terribly surprising given the age of the building and the common practice of deferred maintenance at virtually all colleges and universities. The tower is roughly seven stories tall. An addition was put in place in the rear of the building in 1972. The building came into being due to a tragedy. The college’s principal building had been Rust Hall, a large Romanesque structure that burned down on January 8, 1940. The loss impacted the college in both a practical and a spiritual sense. Rust Hall had been the campus centerpiece and was the location for the library, multiple classrooms, and even dorm rooms. The loss hit the campus community so hard that many felt the college should relocate. Some advocated a move to Jackson, MS, others to the closer community of Memphis. McCoy was determined to see the college stay in Holly Springs and worked diligently to raise funds to construct a new building. The timing of the fire at time when the effects of the Great Depression were still ever present and at the beginning of the American involvement in World War II made the process all the more difficult. Classroom space was at such a premium that for years classes were held in the president’s house. The building opened in 1947 having been built at a cost of roughly $300,000 (or about $4.5 million in 2022 value). A great proportion of the funds came from donations from the CME Churches of the state and region; about $60,000 came from white Methodist Churches with much of those funds collected on donations on “Race Relations Sundays”. The 1947-1948 academic year saw the college have 327 students.
The photos below begin with four views of the front façade looking north. The historical plate seen in the sixth photo is just to the left of the main entrance; the corner stone with the “Administration Building” inscription is just to the right of the main doors. The seventh photo is the vestibule just inside the main doorway. The nineth and tenth photos are plaques inside this area from 1949 noting donors who helped make the building possible. The banner noting the sesquicentennial (in 2016), was standing adjacent to the doorway. The last photo is an entrance on the west side of the structure (looking eastward).
The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
Next, we have the Leontyne Price Library. The library is named in honor of notable soprano Mary Violet Leontyne Price, the first African American to be a leading performer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Ms. Price was born and raised in Mississippi, in the community of Laurel in the southern part of the state. Her mother attended Rust, although I do not believe she graduated. This association led her to be a vocal and active supporter of the college. She gave a concert in Jackson, MS, in March 1967 which raised $34,000 (nearly $300,000 in 2022) to support Rust. She was also served as National Co-Chair of the Rust College Capital Campaign in 1967/1968. She personally endowed a scholarship at Rust.
The library sits behind (to the north) of McCoy Hall in the heart of the campus. The building opened in 1970 and comes in at 30,440 square feet of space. The library was designed by local Memphis firm Gassner/Nathan/Browne Architects and Planners. The group designed many iconic buildings throughout the region including structures at Lemoyne-Owen College and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Firm co-founder Thomas Nathan singled out Price along with a library at Lemoyne-Owen and a student housing building at Vanderbilt as his favorites.
Sometime last year, I bought a copy of the book "Campus Buildings That Work", a 1972 piece edited by Linda Boring El-Shishini. The Leontyne Price Library has two pages of photos dedicated to it in the book. I had first read the book as an undergraduate at the University of Tennessee more than thirty years ago. As an aside, the collection of books on universities and collegiate architecture at UT is quite large if you are interested in such things and find yourself in Knoxville. The book is very representative of the times in two ways. First, it highlights collegiate structures built in the years just prior to publication. Second, it is very enthusiastic about the architecture of that time. So much so that I believe a more honest title would be "In Praise of Brutalism". Still, it is a good book that has wonderful photos of buildings of that era including several of the Price Library shortly after it opened.
The photos below begin with three views of the front of the building (looking north). The fourth photo is a stairway just inside the front door. The main stacks are on the second floor just up these stairs. The first floor has a small gallery with some very interesting African and African American art as seen in the last photo. I did not have time to fully explore the building and did not go to the third floor, but I believe it houses offices and stacks.
Next, we have the McCarty-Varnell Business, Computer Science, and Social Science Center. The McCarty portion of the name comes from a major donor to the college, Hyman Folk “Mac” McCarty Jr. McCarty transformed his father’s single feed and seed store operation into one of the biggest poultry businesses in the nation. McCarty was a notable philanthropist, giving funds to colleges and universities across the state, particularly to his alma mater the University of Mississippi. In addition, he gave funds to establish professorships at Jackson State University and Millsaps College. The Varnell name is in honor of Jeanne Thompson Varnell, part of the Hyde family of Memphis who created the AutoZone retail chain (and for whom a building is named at Rhodes College in Memphis). She was a long serving member of the Rust College Board of Trustees. She was also a member and the first female chair of the Board of Trustees of Lambuth University.
The first photo is the front of the building which faces southwest. The plaque in the second photo is by the front doors. The last three photos are interior shots of the first-floor hallway and a large lecture hall near the main entrance (photos three, four, and five respectively.
Next we have three buildings which are all connected to one another. The original structure of the three is the McDonald Science Building. Two additions to the structure were added over the years including the Emma B. Miller Annex (which as the name implies is really an addition and not a true attached building) and the Hamilton Science Center.
The McDonald portion of the building opened in 1965 and is one of three buildings erected during the presidency of Earnest A. Smith. The Science Building is not the first structure on the Rust campus to carry the McDonald name. According to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, there was a McDonald Hall on campus which opened in 1869 (according to information available on the Atlanta Journal Constitution website, construction began in 1867). I don’t know what became of that original structure. The name, of course, is in honor of Rust’s first president, Reverend Albert Collier McDonald. There was no plaque for the Miller Annex and I have been unable to find any information about the name or the addition online. The Hamilton Science Center is obviously the newer part of the complex. The building is named in honor of Dr. Ralph and Barbara Hamilton, who gave funds to support the construction of the building. Dr. Hamilton was a noted ophthalmologist here in Memphis. An alumnus of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC: class of 1952), he went on to be on faculty there. He was born in Knoxville, TN, and did his undergraduate work at UT Knoxville (class of 1950). I believe he met his wife while attending UTHSC although I cannot confirm that at this point. Mrs. Hamilton, a graduate of Rhodes, is, I believe, a native to West Tennessee. The Hamilton’s were significant philanthropists to causes in Memphis and the Mid-South. The UTHSC Hamilton Eye Center was created in part by one of their donations. Among their many contributions is the Hamilton Endowed Professorship in Ophthalmology at UTHSC. There is also a scholarship named for the Hamilton’s at Rust. In addition to the funds from the Hamilton’s, Rust received $1.5M grant from the Kresge Foundation to support the construction of the building at to do some remodeling McDonald building. The building was dedicated in a ceremony on November 9, 2008. Among the dignitaries present was former Mississippi Governor William F. Winter.
The photos below begin with a shot of the main entrance to McDonald on the south side of the building. The dedication plaque in the second photo is just to the right of the main entrance. The third photo shows McDonald and the Miller Annex when looking northward. The annex can be discerned by the exposed gutters, as well as different windows and trim work at the top as compared to McDonald. The fourth photo is the main entrance to the annex which is on the east side of the structure. The remaining photos are of the Hamilton Science Center. The front of the building is to the north of McDonald.
There are numerous residence halls on campus, and I had the opportunity to photograph three of them on my visit. These include Wiff Hall, Gross Hall, and Davage-Smith Hall.
The 1st photo below is Wiff Hall. The building was, obviously, undergoing a significant renovation during my visit. In addition to work on the inside of the building I could see that brickwork on the front façade had been repointed. Wiff opened in 1965, the building historically had space for 96 students. Many colleges expand individual student space when renovating old dorms and that will be the case with Wiff Hall. The dorm was previously only for women, but it will be coed after the renovation. Wiff is one of three buildings constructed during the presidency of Earnest A. Smith, Rust’s ninth president (the other two being Gross Hall and the McDonald Science Center). I was unable to find out for whom the building is named.
The second and third photos are of the front Gross Hall which, like Wiff, opened in 1965. Since it opened, Gross has been a dorm for men. The building is scheduled for a remodel to begin sometime in the next year or so. Unlike the Wiff Hall renovation, the floorplan of Gross is not changing. I was unable to find out anything about the name of the building.
The set concludes with a photo of Davage-Smith Hall. The first part of the building’s name is in honor of Matthew S. Davage, who became the first African American to be president of Rust in 1920 (his term in office was from 1920 to 1924). Davage was a native of Louisiana, having been born in Shreveport on June 16, 1879. He served as president of five colleges during his lifetime. These included George R. Smith College (Missouri), the Haven Institute (Mississippi), Samuel Huston College (Texas), and Clark University (Georgia). In addition to these (and Rust obviously), he was interim president of the combined Huston-Tillotson College. He also served on the board of trustees of eight colleges, and from 1940 until 1952 he was Director for all African American colleges and universities for the Department of Higher Education of the Methodist Board of Education. The second part of the name is in honor of Earnest A. Smith, Rust’s ninth president.
Next, we have the Doxey Alumni Fine Arts Communications Center. The building is named in honor of Ms. Natalie Doxey, a Rust alumnae who would stay at the college for most of her career. She founded the Rust “A 'Cappella Choir” in 1930 and the group would remain well known through her tenure there. In addition to routine concerts and tours, under her direction the group would often tour to raise funds for the college. She stayed with Rust as a music instructor and director of the choir until her retirement in 1969. Ms. Doxey was born in 1880. She passed in 1973, a year before the building which now carries her name was opened.
The set below begins with two views of the front (west side) of the building. The third photo is a portrait of Ms. Doxey which hangs just inside the vestibule which can be seen more fully in the last photo.
The first photo below is the James A. Elam Chapel. It is, of course, named for James Elam. Elam founded Belmonte Park Laboratories in Ohio and used the wealth this venture afforded him to be a philanthropist for many causes. He was a significant contributor to his alma mater, Central State University. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Rust in April 2000. The chapel was completed in 2001. The chapel sits near the main campus entrance on the south side of the grounds.
The second photo is the R.A. and Ruth M. Brown Mass Communications Center. The building is named in honor of Rainsford A. Brown and his wife Ruth of Iowa. Mr. Brown was active in the Methodist Church and became a trustee of Rust College as well as for the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Cornell College. There is also a scholarship, the Rainsford A. and Ruth M. Brown Award at Rust. The building sits just southeast of McCoy Hall.
Lastly, we have the W.A. McMillan Multipurpose Center and Kinzell Lawson Gymnasium. Dr. William Asbury McMillan was the 10th president of Rust, a position he held for twenty-six years. He had previously been a dean there. McMillan was a native of North Carolina. He completed his undergraduate studies at Johnson C. Smith University and his master’s and Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. Rust also has a scholarship in his name. Kinzell Lawson was a longtime fixture in Rust athletics. He coached basketball, track, and when they had it, football (Rust ceased having a football team in 1965). He passed away in December 2000 at the age of 91. The first two photos are the front of the building and the third was taken just inside the front doors.
Today’s entry is another defunct institution. Unlike the only other one covered to date (the Memphis College of Art), this one has long been closed. The Mississippi Industrial College (MIC) was founded in 1905 by the Mississippi Conference of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop Elias Cottrell was the driving force and founder of the college. He had been working to open a school which would serve students at all levels (primary, secondary, and post-secondary) since the 1890’s. He established a board of trustees in 1900 and began the arduous process of fund raising. MIC opened its doors to students in January 1906. Some 200 students were enrolled that year. By 1908, enrollment grew to more than 450. The vast majority of students were not at the post-secondary level, however. Records indicate that most were primary school students. Still, the college was in existence and growing.
The site in Holly Springs, MS, consisted of some 120 acres (donated in 1903) and were situated on Route 7, or Memphis Road as it was known (it is now referred to as Memphis Street). Apparently, the decision to name the school with “Industrial” in the title was two-fold. Although some industrial skills-type courses would be offered, the curriculum was more general at the lower levels and best described as a teacher’s college with a liberal arts tradition at the collegiate level. The Industrial moniker appealed to students and their parents who sought practical skills leading to employment and was a less controversial orientation to the white populace who did not feel that another liberal arts college was needed for African Americans in the region. You see, Rust College, another HBCU and a liberal arts college itself, was located directly across the street. Founded in 1866 by the United Methodist Church, Rust had been in existence for nearly fifty years when MIC opened its doors.
Given the proximity of the two schools, one might wonder why MIC came into being. Unlike MIC, Rust was founded and funded by the white Methodist Church. It is named for Reverend Richard S. Rust, an antislavery activist from Cincinnati, OH. MIC, on the other hand, was funded by the African American Methodist Church, and its leadership and most of its faculty were not only black but were themselves educated at HBCU’s. Rust, with white supporters and many white faculty, was quite a different institution, and MIC was quite proud of its heritage. I will cover Rust in a future post.
Upon its founding and for many years thereafter, students had daily chapel time and wore uniforms. The institution would carry on for 77 years. Unfortunately, desegregation had an unintended negative consequence for MIC. As was the case for some other HBCU’s, desegregation resulted in declining enrollment. African American students, now free to enroll in historically white institutions, chose to do so. Funding for the white schools had always been more robust and the school’s benefited from such wealth with more faculty, majors, and support services. The decline hit MIC hard. By the 1970’s enrollment drops were causing increasing financial hardships. In the early 1980’s, Rust College floated the idea of buying MIC, but the overture was dismissed by MIC. Federal funding cuts in 1981 led to the institution’s closing in 1982. The campus has been vacant since. A few years after its closing, the campus was acquired by Rust College who has maintained ownership of the site ever since.
Despite much of the core campus being declared a historical site in 1980, it has largely been left to ruin. You can find photos on the internet of the campus over the last couple of decades showing the slow demise of the buildings.
The day I visited this May began as a bright, sunny morning. But after my quick drive down from the Memphis area, clouds had rolled in, and it threatened rain. A gloomy feel and a damp silence permeated the air. It was, given the state of decay of the campus, both appropriate and eerie. Immediately after photographing the remains of the campus, I crossed the street to visit Rust College and within a half an hour on that campus the sun came out again. It was as if ghosts of MIC had arranged the gloom for my visit to add an air of grief at the state of the place.
We begin with the college marker set in front of the Carnegie Auditorium Building. The sign is obviously a more recent addition, given that it notes the place as a historical site.
Behind the college sign is the Carnegie Auditorium and Library. The Colonial Revival structure opened in 1923 and included a 2,000-seat auditorium and the college’s library. When it opened, it was the largest auditorium open to African Americans in the state. The roof has long since collapsed and vegetation covers part of the façade and even inside as well (at least in the areas where I could see in). Just this month, Rust College was awarded $500,000 from the National Park Service to restore the building. Obviously, $500k is not sufficient to bring such a large structure back to life in any usable form. I don’t know whether the goal is to raise additional funds or to simply use the existing amount to stabilize the building in a static form for reference. The building was designed by the Nashville-based architectural firm McKissack & McKissack. The firm was founded by Moses McKissack III in 1905 along with his brother Calvin. The McKissack’s have been architects since, with the family now operating a firm in Washington, DC. The building is a shaped as a “T” with the front entrance facing Memphis Street (looking east). Given the name and it use, in part, as a library, I am certain that at least half of the funds for its construction came from the Carnegie Foundation (which typically provided half of the funding for the buildings that carried the Carnegie name). However, scant information about the history of the building is available online (at least that I could easily find). The first photo is the front of the building, followed by two views of the north side of the structure. The last is south side.
Immediately adjacent to the Carnegie Auditorium, to the north, sits Hammond Hall. Hammond was a residence hall for men and was designed in the Jacobean Revival style. It opened in 1907. I have been unable to find out for whom the building is named. It was designed by the Jackson, TN based architecture firm Heavener and McGhee. As you can see, the building’s residents have long since departed only to be replaced by ivy and a vulture sitting atop the front façade. Hammond can be seen in the first two photos.
The building directly adjacent to Hammond to the north, seen in the second and third photos is Davis Hall, a gymnasium. I could not find any information about the building online. MIC had athletics for men, but not women, and were known as the Tigers.
To the south of Carnegie is Washington Hall, which served as the administration building for the college and also contained classrooms. It was named for Booker T. Washington. The Colonial Revival building opened in 1910. The first photo below is north side of the structure. This is followed by three photos of the front of the building. The fourth and fifth are of the south side. The sixth is the rear of the building. Even the sidewalks are slowly giving way to nature.
On the lawn in front of Washington Hall is what appears at first glance to be a headstone, seen here in the last photo of this series. It is, in reality, a tribute to William M. Frazier, MIC’s seventh president. His tenure at MIC was 29 years, with 24 of those as president. The marker was a gift of the MIC classes of 1955 and 1956. I am not sure when it was installed, but it was on the campus in the 1970's (see here).
Just beyond Washington Hall is the now vacant spot where Cathrine Hall (that’s not a typo, there is no “e” after the “h” in the name) once stood. It was demolished in 2012. It was a beautiful building, and the first on campus. Opened in 1905, it was a three-story building with a large patio in front. It served as both a dorm for women and classrooms (although I believe later the classrooms were used for other purposes). Cathrine cost around $35,000 to build which is about $1.149 million in today's value. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and designated a Mississippi Landmark structure in in 2002. You can see photos of it in various states of decay online. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has photos of it deteriorating away in 2011 as well as one color photo of it in June 1979 here.
Behind Washington Hall were two small rectangular structures that were classroom buildings. I have seen old aerial photos of them. They look to have been rather nondescript buildings that were not named (at least I have found no records which have a name listed for them). One appears to be more or less gone - collapsed and covered with vegetation. The other, which sat closer to the rear of Washington Hall, is still visible. Seen here, it is basically a shell with the remains of the roof largely inside. Beside it is a sidewalk that apparently led to a service building of some sort (I have seen maps with a building outline but no name) but is now a path to nowhere.
Old, abandoned buildings can be quite a sad site. To see an entire college left to ruin like this is heartbreaking. This is particularly so given the history of the college.
As I noted at the beginning of this post, you can find lots of photos of the campus since its closing online. Much fewer are photos of the campus when the college was operational and more limited yet is any substantive information about the place. If you would like to know more about the buildings, you can read the National Register of Historic Places application for the college site here. Also, Dr. Paul Batesel, a professor of English at Maryville State University in North Dakota, runs the blog America’s Lost Colleges. It is a wonderful blog and among all too many other closed colleges he’s covered he too has an entry on MIC which you can read here.
Today's post is the Mississippi State University. I have been to State on a number of occasions, most of which were for student recruitment. A good number of State alums apply for the various programs in my department, and prior to the pandemic I had participated in graduate student fairs there. The students and staff there are a friendly group. In fact, of all of the colleges and universities I have visited in the state, the people on the campus in Starkville have always been the friendliest. It is always a pleasure to be there.
Mississippi State was not the first Land Grant institution in the state. The state designated the University of Mississippi and Alcorn State University land grants in 1871. Whereas Alcorn State was able to make a go of it, the agriculture mission never caught on in Oxford. Ole Miss was also losing faculty at the time and in 1876 it gave up the Land Grant designation. Alcorn State soldiered along as the only Morrill Act institution until 1878. The state created legislation that year which, in addition to continuing to support Alcorn State as a land grant, created a new school – the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Mississippi. The law creating the new school was signed by then Governor John M. Stone on February 28, 1878. A board of trustees was established and met for the first time on April 11th. They would meet again on July 24th that year to consider a location for the new school. A variety of locations were considered with most being in the central and northern areas of the state as southern Mississippi was not known as an agricultural area. The board was most interested in locations in the so-called “Black Belt” area of central Mississippi, so named for its black soil which was crucial to cotton farming. By the board’s next meeting on December 13th, the potential sites had been narrowed to Meridian, Starkville, and West Point. In the end, Starkville was selected. In part, the decision was likely influenced by board member Colonel W.B. Montgomery who was from the town and who had influence in the state. Starkville was also the county seat (Oktibbeha County) and had both a rail and a telegraph line. The town, originally named Boardtown, was subsequently renamed for Revolutionary War veteran John Stark. The board purchased 390 acres of land owned by William Bell at a price of only $2,450 (roughly $70,438 in today’s value). By any standard, the price was a bargain.
The name of the new school would be, like many others of the land grant cohort, Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College, or Mississippi A&M. When Morrill had begun the process of creating the land grant legislation, he had viewed the development of such schools to mirror that of the national military colleges at West Point and Annapolis. When they came into being, many new land grant schools had a military preparation program and the new A&M would be no exception, developing a Corps of Cadets from the outset. This is still reflected on campus today with the central quad still carrying the name the Drill Field. The university opened in a grand ceremony on October 6, 1880. The dormitory was not yet ready, and students had to find housing among the populace of Starkville. Some 354 students enrolled that fall. Interestingly, all students were expected to work on campus. The condition was not an option nor a form of financial aid. A good deal of work making the nascent grounds into a working campus was completed by students. The university was for men only until 1882 when the first women enrolled. Marianna DuQuercron and Mattie C. McKay, would be the first women to graduate from the university. The institution would revert to men only in 1913 and would not return to coeducation until 1930. A YMCA opened on campus in 1882 and in time would have a notable building on campus (see below). The university would graduate its first fully educated at State class in 1883. In 1885 an alumni association was created. The fledgling school also graduated its first master’s degree student in 1885 (the first doctoral graduate, Si Marchbanks with a Ph.D. in Agronomy, would not occur until 1953).
Reflecting the change in its mission and the scope of its offerings, the college changed its name to Mississippi State College in 1932. That same year, it became a founding member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) athletics conference and has remained in the conference since. In 1958, some 22 years after the graduate school was established, the name would change again to the current Mississippi State University to reflect the comprehensive graduate offerings then in place. Today, State enrolls over 23,000 students, has a faculty of nearly 1,400, and maintains an endowment valued at about $700 million dollars.
The athletic teams were known for a time as the Maroons owing to the university’s colors of maroon and white. The bulldog was already the mascot, however, and in time the university’s teams were known as the Bulldogs. The bulldog is the mascot of about 45 college teams across the U.S., including State’s SEC rival the University of Georgia. I’ve covered two other schools with bulldog mascots already – California State University, Fresno, and Union University. We start with one of several bulldog statues on campus, this one just outside Davis Wade Stadium.
The first building I will review is the iconic Lee Hall which anchors the Drill Field. Lee Hall is named for Stephen D. Lee, the first president of Mississippi State. Lee served in that role from 1880 to 1899, making his 19-year tenure the longest of any Mississippi State president to date. Groundbreaking for the structure occurred in 1909 and it was completed the following year. It was designed by the architectural firm R.H. Hunt and Company. You may recall that they designed the Lowrey Memorial Baptist Church on the campus of Blue Mountain College I posted about last year. Reuben Harrison Hunt designed collegiate buildings and other structures all over Mississippi and the Southeast. It was designated a Mississippi Landmark structure in 1984.
The photos below begin with two views of the main entrance to Lee which faces the Drill Field. The plaque in the third photo which commemorates the 2004 renovation of the building, is located just inside the front entrance. In the main hall in front of a large lecture hall is the mural seen in photos four and five. As noted in the sign in the sixth photo, it is the World War I Memorial Mural. These photos do not do it justice. It is an awesome piece that honors the fifty-five State students (then Mississippi A&M) who died in the Great War. It was painted by William Steene. The seventh photo is a view of the interior just adjacent to the mural. The last photo is a memorial to President Lee which stands in the quad in front of his namesake building. It was installed in 1913. The street behind the building also carries President Lee's name. Lee Boulevard stretches from Davis Wade Stadium to state Route 182.
The photos in the next set are of McCain Engineering Building, one of several engineering buildings on campus. McCain is another building designed by R.H. Hunt and Company. It opened in 1905. A fire broke out in the building requiring a renovation in 1920. Most recently, another renovation was completed in 2002. Like Lee Hall, it was named a Mississippi Landmark in 1984. It opened with the simple moniker “Engineering Building” but would later be named in honor of Dewey M. McCain, a professor and long-time chair of the Department of Civil Engineering. In 1956 the first computer in the state arrived on campus through a deal with IBM which offered the computer to the university for the sum $20,000 per year for its use. The contract called for the university to use the computer only half-time; it could lease its use out the rest of the time for a profit. President Hilbun founded a committee to oversee the use of the device, an IBM 650, which would be housed on the second floor of McCain.
The first two photos below are of the front entrance to the building. The dedicatory plaque for the renovation seen in the third photo is just inside the vestibule. The two plaques seen in photos four and five are to Dewey McCain, the building's namesake, and James Worth Bagley, for whom the College of Engineering is named. Bagley, a two-time State alumnus (classes of 1961 and 1966), was a successful businessman in the technology (semiconductor) sector. He was Chairman of the Board and Chief Operating Officer of Lam Research in 2002 when he and wife Jean gave $25 million to support the college. The last three photos are interior shots.
Carpenter Hall is a Beaux Arts style building that is another of R.H. Hunt’s designs on the State campus. Ground was broken for the building in 1909 and completed in 1911. It faces the Drill Field looking toward the northwest. The building is named in honor of Randle Churchill Carpenter, the first engineering graduate of the university (from the class of 1895). Carpenter would go on to chair the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1918 to 1938. It was designated a Mississippi Landmark in June 1985. When it opened, Carpenter was known as the "New Chemistry Building". The first two photos are the main entrance (Drill Field side) of the building. The plaque in the third photo is just inside the main entrance as are the painting of Dr. Carpenter and the second plaque (photos four and five). The art installation in the last photo is in a courtyard behind the building.
Below we have the Mitchell Memorial Library. Named for Fred T. Mitchell, the tenth president of the university. It was one of seven buildings completed in 1950; all were dedicated on the same day, October 24th. Mitchell was president when the building opened. It has been enlarged and renovated over the years. Part of the collection of the library are the papers of John C. Stennis, long serving US Senator for Mississippi and the “father of the modern Navy”. It is also home to the Ulysess S. Grant Presidential Library and Museum. It is interesting to me that the man who many consider responsible for the Union's victory in the Civil War would have a presidential library in Mississippi. It is only one of six university libraries to house a presidential collection. Overall, Mitchell houses more than 2.6 million volumes. The first photo below is the main (Drill Field side) of the building, which is followed by three interior views. Just outside the library is a nice sitting area with trees and the fountain seen in the last photo of this set: the Wiley Carter Memorial. Carter was an alumnus (class of 1958) and a longtime political staffer, most notably as the assistant to Senator Thad Cochran.
Next, we have the Swalm Chemical Engineering Building, which was completed in 2001. When an MSU alumnus named David Swalm provided funds for a chemical engineering building on the southern edge of the Drill Field facing Lee Hall, he wanted his building to be a mirror image of Lee. And so it is, a reminder of alumni affection for campus facilities. Swalm made a fortune in the petrochemical business in Texas. He founded the Texas Olefins Company (later Texas Petrochemicals) in 1968 with $6,000. He would sell the firm in 1996 for $500 million (about $945 million in today’s value). He donated better than $30 million to State over the years which, in addition to naming the building in his honor, branded the Swalm School of Chemical Engineering for him. The 95,000 square-foot building cost $18 million (about $34 million today) to construct. Part of his donations to State include $3 million to endow a scholarship for graduates of Jackson State University to attend graduate school at MSU. He also endowed an engineering scholarship at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX.
The first two photos are the front of the building as seen from the Drill Field, and the third is the interior as seen as you enter the building. The fourth photo is the floor just inside the front entrance. It may not be easy to recognize given the angle, but the terrazzo floor is designed like a magnolia leaf. Mississippi is known as the Magnolia State, it is the state's official flower, and the flower adorns the state flag. The state flag, by the way, was designed by Starkville-based graphic artist Rocky Vaughan.
To the left and behind Swalm in the last photo you can see the Hand Chemical Lab, a modernist structure that opened in 1963. The building is named in honor of William Flowers Hand, who became the chair of the chemistry department when it was placed in the school of agriculture in the early years of the 20th century. Hand was a two-time alumnus of the university (classes of 1893 and 1895) who went on to get his doctorate at Columbia. He went on to be a dean and a vice president at State.
Below we have photos of McCool Hall, home to the State College of Business. The building is named in honor of E.B. McCool and his wife Ines. The story goes that President William Giles was sitting in his office one day when E.B. McCool (Barney McCool to most, Dutch McCool to his friends) came in and offered money to support the business school. The state was going to appropriate money for a new building but was about to cut $500,000 from the budget. McCool offered to give stock from his investment in the Holiday Inn chain to equip the building if the state agreed to not cut the funding. McCool was one of the original investors in the hotel chain. Giles immediately phoned Lieutenant Governor Paul Johnson with the proposal. The timing was prophetic as the state senate was debating the funding on the state house floor when he called. Johnson took the offer to the senate which approved the budget without cutting the $500k. The rest is history. You can read more about that very interesting meeting here. You can see a photo of Mr. and Mrs. McCool at the site of the building’s construction here. The first two photos are the front of the building which faces the Drill Field. Just inside the main entrance are portraits of Mr. and Mrs. McCool seen photos three through five. The original dedication plaque can be seen in the sixth photo. The next three photos are interior shots. The seventh photo was taken just inside the main entrance. Photos eight and nine are interior shots of an addition to the rear of the building which was completed in 2003. The $10 million (about $16.5 million in 2022 value) addition increased the overall size of the building by some 52,000 square feet. Initially, the funding was given by an anonymous source. Later, it was revealed that the funds were given by alumnus (class of 1949) Leo W. Seal, Jr. Seal's father, Leo Seal, Sr., was also an alumnus of State (class of 1911), as are his sons Leo W. Seal, III (class of 2000) and Lee (also class of 2000).
Below we have three photos of the Perry Cafeteria. Perry, designed by architect Theodore C. Link, was completed in 1921 in the Gothic style. It was for a time the largest cafeteria in the U.S. When it opened, it was known simply as the Cafeteria Building. Perry is named for Mr. George D. Perry (class of 1919), thanks to his widow Jane who donated a $1.5 million for the renovation of the building in 1993 (which is about $3 million in today’s value). Mr. Perry was named the 1972 National Alumnus of the Year. He was a member and chair of the MSU Foundation for many years. The street that runs to the building (the portion directly in front of the building is now a pedestrian mall) is named George Perry Street. The building has two entrances on the same side on either end of the building (seen here in photos one and three). The plaque seen in the second photo is by the doorway in the first photo.
The first four photos below are of the YMCA Building, which stands adjacent to the Colvard Union. It was designed by architect Noah Webster Overstreet, an alumnus of the university (class of 1888 I believe). The building was constructed beginning in 1914 and was complete by 1915. Overstreet was the first registered architect in Mississippi. The construction of the building was aided by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The foundation provided $40,000 (about $1.1 million today) on the condition that State raise the remaining $20,000 needed for construction. The Young Men's Christian Association had been active on campus since at least 1882. As was the case on many college campuses, the YMCA served as the student union for decades. There was an eatery in the basement called “The Shack”. The building has been modified and renovated from time to time, with the most recent being a significant work completed in 2018. It was designated a Mississippi Landmark in March 1985. The day I visited campus, the Dean of Students, whose office is in the building, was sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch completing some paperwork. We exchanged pleasantries and chatted for a moment about the weather. It was a southern experience straight out of a movie. The first two photos are of the front of the building. The plaque seen in the third photo is on the side of the front porch. The fourth photo is the side of the building.
Standing directly beside the YMCA is George Hall, seen here in the fifth photo. George was designed by architect P.J. Krause. It opened in 1902 as the student infirmary. The building is named in honor of U.S. Senator James Z. George. After his death, it became known as the James Z. George Memorial Hospital. George worked to get Federal funding for the construction of the facility. The campus would be hard hit by the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918, so much so in fact that a temporary embalming facility would be constructed in the basement. It served as the student health center until 1985. It now houses a variety of support offices. The view of the building, which stands between the YMCA and Magruder Hall, is toward the Y.
The last two photos of this set are of the front of Magruder Hall. Magruder was a result of PWA funding and was constructed beginning in 1937. It opened in 1938. Georgian Revival in style, the building was designed by Starkville-based architects Stevens & Johnston. It is named in honor of W.H. Magruder who was the head of the English department from 1883 to 1908. It began life as a dorm. I am not sure when it changed roles, but today it houses the Department of Psychology.
Below we have Montgomery Hall, another Beaux Arts structure which was designed by architect R.H. Hunt. It was originally called the "Scientific Building" when it opened in 1902 but was later named in honor of Colonel W.B. Montgomery who was a member of the first Board of Trustees and who was the driving force behind the university being located in Starkville. It housed the library for a time, which moved into Harned Hall in 1921. It houses a variety of student support offices today. I love the brickwork on the front of the building over the first floor windows.
The set below are of Harned Hall. Harned stands out both due to its Gothic style and its brick which is among the lightest on campus. The building opened in 1921 and at the time was simply called the Biology Building. It was named for Professor Horace H. Harned, who chaired the department of microbiology for many years. The building is the work of architects Theodore C. Link and Wilbur T. Trueblood. Both were notable architects of the era. Link designed the Mississippi capitol building and, along with Trueblood, many structures on the “new” campus of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Trueblood taught at Washington University for a time. They were based in Saint Louis. As noted above, Harned became the home to the library after it moved out of Montgomery Hall. It would remain in Harned until the Mitchell Memorial Library was completed.
The set begins with two views of the Gothic entryway at the front of the building. I love the Gothic style and despite the fact that both Harned and the Perry Cafeteria do not match the bulk of campus I think it fits in well none the less. The next four photos are in that entryway, with views of dedicatory plaques and the arches of the vestibule. I love the fact that the doors have curved tops to match the archway! What a lovely element!
The seventh photo shows a 1960’s-era addition to the building. It has a similar shade of brick but lacks any attempt at copying the Gothic style. The last photo is a hard to read cobble stone for the class of 1932 located in the sidewalk which runs in front of the building.
The next set of photos are of some rather plain box-type buildings. First, we have three photos of the Howell Building. The building is much larger than these photos imply. Although the structure itself is rather plain, I did like the light fixtures by the front entrance. I was not able to find out much about the building or its name. It currently houses the Building Construction program and components of the arts programs. Photos four and five are of Freeman Hall, one of several building that appears to be part of an old dorm complex which has been transformed into more general buildings. The fourth photo is the front of the building (note the red metal art piece to the right of the front door) as approached from the street. The fifth was taken just inside the front door and shows a rather unique elevator which was added at some point. The building, which houses part of the art department, shows its age. As was the case with the Howell Building, I was not able to find out anything else about the building or its name. Photos six and seven are of Moore Hall, which sits directly behind Freeman Hall. It too appears to be an old dormitory. It houses the Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion program. I was not able locate any additional information about the building or its name. The last photo is Memorial Hall which also began life as a dorm. It now houses the Center for Distance Education and an English language institute.
Next, we have the Cullis Wade Depot, a relatively new addition to campus. The Wade Depot houses the university Welcome Center, bookstore, and, of all things, a clock museum. Charles Cullis Wade and his wife Gladys were big supporters of State. Cullis was an alumnus (Class of 1940) who would enter business in several domains. He owned a number of businesses including a construction company, a tree farm, cattle farms, and a radio station. He and Gladys gave generously to the athletics department over the years. They became collectors of antique clocks, some 400 of which are now housed in the Cullis and Gladys Wade Museum inside the Depot. The Depot stands adjacent to Davis Wade Stadium, home of the Mississippi State Bulldogs football team (see below). The first photo below is the back of the building. The next two are the main entrance with a large clock emblazoned with the Mississippi State logo. I love the glass clock face!
Below is the front of MacArthur Hall. It opened as a dorm for the exclusive use of athletes. It is a six-story Modernist structure and was a plush facility for its day. During a time when the football program was having some difficulties, the powers that be hoped the new dorm would aid in recruiting star athletes. The building is named in honor of James Wesley McArthur. I was not able to identify who James McArthur was, and when I first saw the building, my mind went to another university and another McArthur Hall but the two are not related. There is a McArthur Hall at the University of Miami, and it shares more in common with the McArthur Hall at Mississippi State than just the name. The J. Neville McArthur Engineering Building (the J. in this McArthur’s name is also for James) was a gift of the man of the same name who launched a dairy in south Florida in the early 20th Century. That building, also a Modernist work, was made possible by a $1 million gift from the other Mr. McArthur. The last connection is what really had me thinking it was the same person at first: J. Neville McArthur was an alumnus of State. I didn’t realize my mistake until I saw the dedication plaque for this McArthur Hall which had the different middle name. I forgot to take a photo of the plaque, perhaps due to my surprise over the odds of two men sharing a common name who had buildings on separate campuses named for them. This McArthur Hall ceased being a dorm at some point and now houses human resources, payroll, and other support services. It was designed the architectural firm Thomas S. Jones and Associates, a Starkville-based firm. Construction began in 1969 and was completed in 1970.
The set below are of the Colvard Student Union. The Union is named for Dean W. Colvard, the 12th president of the university. Colvard was a North Carolina native and a graduate of Berea College. He did his master’s degree at the University of Missouri and later earned his Ph.D. at Purdue University. He came to State from North Carolina State University in Raleigh where he was dean of agriculture. One important facet of his tenure was the creation of the Mississippi State University Foundation in 1962. But Colvard became known more for his actions regarding a single basketball game than just about anything else. The University of Mississippi hit the national news when James Meredith attempted to register for classes. Meredith, an African American, attempted to enroll at Mississippi beginning in 1961. He was denied twice based solely on his race, but a court ruling in September 1962 gave him entry. Riots ensued resulting in two deaths, numerous arrests, and deployment of army troops to quell the violence. Colvard watched from Starkville and vowed to not let such troubles happen at State. The issue of integration would come to Colvard and State not from student enrollment, but from a winning basketball program. State had won the SEC basketball championship four times from 1959 to 1963. When the team beat Tulane on February 25, 1963, it had an opportunity to compete in the NCAA tournament. A tradition had been that no Mississippi team could play an integrated opponent, a fact which had kept the squad out of tournament play in the past. In the lead up to the March tournament, it looked as though State's first match up would be Loyola University of Chicago. Loyola was integrated; indeed, four of its five starters were African Americans. A groundswell of support from the student body wanted the team to play. The support was not so much for making a statement on Civil Rights as it was for seeing the team move on in play and in the rankings. Colvard supported the team’s playing Loyola, as did the State Athletics Director Wade Walker who made an announcement on March 2nd to that effect. Many in the state were not pleased. State senator, MSU alumnus, and member of the university's board Billy Mitts led the charge to prevent the team from playing Loyola and to have Colvard fired. The majority of the board disagreed with the notion and voted not only to support the playing of the game but to note their continuing faith in Colvard. In the end, the Bulldogs travelled to East Lansing, Michigan, and lost to Loyola 61 to 51. Mississippi State would finally integrate in the Fall of 1965 when Richard Holmes applied for and was admitted to the university without much fanfare and very little upset.
The building opened in 1964 and at the time was called the University Union. It has been modernized and expanded since that time, most notably in a major upgrade begun in 2006 and completed the following year; the Union then reopened in January 2008. It is quite nice and during my various to visits to campus I have always been pleased to see just how clean it is kept. The photos below begin with a view of the building from across the street by the Chapel of Memories (see below) from across Lee Boulevard. That portion of the building faces the YMCA Building. The second and third photos are of the Bully Bulldog statue that stands before the entrance on that side. As noted at the beginning of this post, there are several bulldog statues on campus, most being by the football stadium. Banners adorning the side of the building can be seen in the fourth and fifth photos. Inside you will find the portrait of Dr. Colvard (photo six) and on the Drill Field-side entrance an extremely large photo of what appears to be a funeral procession (photo seven). The picture is enormous, being at my best guess at least 12 feet high and 18 feet across. It appears to be a funeral for one of the bulldog mascots. There is no description nearby, however, and this is only a guess on my part. If you know, please leave a comment. The last photo is an interior shot from the second floor. The doors behind this sitting area lead to the location where most graduate school fairs are held.
Below we have the Chapel of Memories, a remarkably beautiful structure on campus. The building was completed in 1965. It was built with bricks recovered from a building called “Old Main”. Old Main was a beloved men’s dorm that had a large auditorium. The structure burned down in 1959. Supposedly, then State President Colvard had the idea that the bricks from Old Main should be used in the construction of the chapel. I have seen the inside and it is quite beautiful. Unfortunately, it was locked during this visit. The lead architect on the project was Charles Gardner of the Jackson-based Dean & Pursell architectural firm. The firm is still in existence today but has changed its name to Dean Architecture.
A notable feature is the Perry Tower. Like Perry Cafeteria, the tower is also named after George D. Perry, who, along with his wife Jane, gave the funds to build the carillon. The room containing the chimes is named in honor of William Gearhiser who was caretaker of the Chapel for many years.
The photos below begin with four views of the front of the building. These are followed by six photos of the Perry Tower courtyard complete with a fountain. The eleventh photo is a courtyard on the opposite end of the building from the Perry Tower. You can see a fountain, formally called the Cast Iron Fountain, in the center of the photo. The fountain was donated by Adonis Watson Carpenter in honor of her late husband. Mrs. Carpenter's father Randle Churchill Carpenter was head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1918 to 1938. As noted above, the current Carpenter Hall on campus is named for him. Mrs. Carpenter grew up in a faculty home which was located on the present site of the Chapel. The last two photos are of an angel statue which stands on the grounds of the Chapel facing the front of the building.
Next, we have photos of two statues on campus. The first four photos below are the World War I Memorial which stands behind Lee Hall on Lee Boulevard. The Doughboy is marble and the base is granite. The memorial was a gift of the class of 1932. Little did they know that a second world war would be upon them within a decade. Fifty-five State students died in the war. The base is inscribed with the names of the Class of 1932. The last photo is a statue of Sonny Montgomery, an alumnus (Class of 1943) who would serve in the Mississippi State senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. There are many buildings and monuments which carry Montgomery’s name. The main VA hospital in Mississippi, located in Jackson, is named the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center. A lock on the Tombigbee Waterway carries his name as does an airport in Forest, Mississippi. In addition to the statue pictured below, there is also a bust of him inside the university’s main library. There is also the G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Advisement and Career Services Center at State's campus in Meridian.
The next set of photos are of Giles Hall. The building has had an interesting life. It opened in 1929 and was then a livestock judging pavilion. Due to this fact, it is sometimes referred to as “The Barn”. The building would serve in its original role until 1976 when after a multi-year renovation and addition it re-opened to house the School of Architecture. A further addition came in 1982. It is an interesting mix of old and new as a result. Named for the 13th President of State, Dr. William L. Giles. It was during his ten-year tenure from 1966 to 1976 that the School of Architecture came into being.
The photos below begin with the front of the building which faces College View Drive. The second photo shows the addition, which stretches behind and to the side of the original building. The third photo is an interior shot taken just inside the main entrance. You can see where this was the arena floor of the judging pavilion. The Bob and Kathy Luke Library extends from this older portion of the building (photo #4) and the new addition (the fifth photo). An interesting way to mix the two buildings to be sure. The library is named for alumnus (Class of 1980) Robert “Bob” Luke and his wife. Luke first came to State in 1972 and reportedly enjoyed his time there a great deal. So much so, in fact, that his poor grades forced him to leave. He returned a few years later with his wife Kathy and their child in tow. He graduated from the School of Architecture and moved on to practice in South Carolina. Life brought him back to Mississippi and he and his firm later designed the north end zone area of the Davis Wade Stadium, as well as the Leo Seal football practice facility, and several dorms on campus.
A computer lab in the building, the Digital Research and Imaging Laboratory, or DRIL, is named for former State faculty member Charles M. Calvo (sixth photo). Although much of the work of architects are on computers these days, drafting tables have not yet totally disappeared from the scene. The row of tables in the seventh photo indicate that pencil and paper are still in use. I was surprised and pleased to see a grill just outside the back entrance to the building (photo #8)! There is a sitting area there and circular columns bring unity between the rear of the addition (photo #9) and the original portion of the structure (photo 10). The set ends with a view of the rear portion of the addition.
The photos below are of Allen Hall, a white monolith building which opened in 1972. It is unabashedly Modernist in every respect. It was designed by Meridian, MS, based architect Bill Archer and Associates, with Starkville-based firm Wakeman and Martin as associate architects. Interiors were designed by the Jackson, MS, based firm Morris Thomas and Associates. I didn’t take photos of the inside in part because I was amazed at how much it appeared stuck in time – it could have been the 1970’s in there. Although, changes were afoot during my visit. It appeared they were re-doing restrooms in part of the building and other changes could have been in the works. The cost of construction of Allen came in at $3,034,500, which would be about $22,201,000+ today. The building is named for H.E. “Slim” Allen of Jackson, MS. I did some searching on the internet, but unfortunately could not find out anything about Mr. Allen. If you have a reference or know about him, please leave a comment. The building houses administrative offices and the College of Education.
The set below begins with two views of the front entrance to the building. In addition to the tower portion you can see here, there is a low-rise section in the rear behind. The dedication plaque seen in the third photo is located outside in the area by the front door. The last photo is the Eternal Flame, a monument installed in 1997; the flame was lit in a ceremony on September 27, 1997, to honor the alumni and friends of the university who have donated to State.
The building opened with just two of the three current names and was known as the Lloyd-Ricks Building. It was designed by Mississippi-based architect Claude H. Lindsley. He designed some iconic buildings in Mississippi, including collegiate buildings the University of Mississippi, Belhaven University, and the Mississippi University for Women. Groundbreaking occurred in 1929 and the building opened in 1931 and cost about $210,000 (nearly $3.6 million in today’s dollars) to build. The contractor for the building was the Isaac Calvin Garber company, known for the most part as “IC Garber” which can still be seen on dozens of cornerstones and plaques in many of the most notable early- to mid-20th Century buildings in the state. IC Garber constructed many buildings on the campuses of State, Ole Miss, Belhaven, Mississippi College, and the University of Southern Mississippi. An addition was completed in 1932 at a cost of $162,000 (about $3.3 million in today’s value). Ricks was dean of the School (now College) of Agriculture when he stepped in to take over the extension program in 1935. He would remain in both roles until 1937 when a new director was hired. Edward Lloyd was the first Director of Cooperative Extension. He came on board in a temporary position on July 1, 1914. He stayed in the position until 1919. The Watson portion of the name is honor of Vance Watson. Watson came to State as an Assistant Professor in 1966 and would eventually rise to be Vice President for Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine. In 2004, he served as Interim President. The building currently houses Agriculture Economics, Human Sciences including the Human Development and Family Studies program, and he Southern Rural Development Center.
Next, we have the Davis Wade Stadium, home of the Mississippi State Bulldogs football team. Davis Wade Stadium has more than 100 years of history behind it. Opened in 1914, it is the second oldest stadium in the FBS Division of college football (Georgia Tech has the oldest stadium). It opened with the name “New Athletic Field” and was the replacement for Hardy Field where the team had previously played. In 1920, the students voted to rename the stadium after Mississippi native and two-time Olympian Donald Scott (he played football at State and competed in the 1920 and 1924 Olympics). It would keep the name until 2001, when it was renamed in honor of Floyd Davis Wade, Sr., who gave a very large donation to the athletics program. It retains the Scott Field name for the playing surface. Officially, the stadium has a seating capacity of 61,337, but a single game attendance record of 61,748 was set in 2015.
The first football game played by a Mississippi State squad occurred in 1895. At the time, the State athletics teams were known as the Aggies. They played only two games that season and lost both. Both were away games. In 1901, a true rivalry was formed when they played the University of Mississippi for the very first time at the Starkville Fairground. State won the game 17 to 0. The teams have played a total of 111 times to date, and State is in the deficit in the win column having only won the match up 45 times. State was the first SEC team to hire an African American as head coach; Sylvester Croom was named head coach in 2003 and served in that capacity from 2004 to 2008.
My undergraduate and master’s alma mater Tennessee has, as an SEC school, played Mississippi State many times in all sports. In terms of football, Tennessee leads the series at 29 wins, 16 losses, and one tie. Their last match-up occurred at Davis Wade Stadium on October 12, 2019, with Tennessee coming away with a victory 20 to 10. My alma mater Texas Tech has played Mississippi State in football on four occasions, the last being a game here in Memphis at the Liberty Bowl where we won 34 to 7 on December 28, 2021. But they hold the edge in the series 4 wins to 3 losses (they have also tied). Two of those losses and the tie were on the field here at Davis Wade. Tech and State are scheduled to play a regular season game in Lubbock in 2029.
The first three photos below are of the Humphrey Coliseum, colloquially known as “The Hump”. The coliseum is named for George Duke Humphrey, the 9th President of Mississippi State. Humphrey came to the position on June 5, 1934. He was elected to the position by one vote. His competition was A.B. Butts, a Mississippi State faculty member who would leave the next year to take the presidency of the University of Mississippi. Humphrey was a Mississippi native and alumnus of Blue Mountain College. He went on to get a master's degree at the University of Chicago and did doctoral studies at Ohio State University (I do not believe he finished his doctorate however).
The Hump is the largest on-campus basketball arena in Mississippi. The arena opened in 1975 and the first game pitted State against Indiana State on December 1, 1975. Larry Bird had enrolled in ISU that fall but had to sit out the season as a redshirt. State won that game 85 to 82 and one can’t help but wonder what might have happened if Bird had played. At the close of the 2021-2022 season, state had accrued an impressive record of 475 wins and 185 losses in the arena. The Lady Bulldogs opened their era in the Hump in December 1975 as well, with a loss to Jackson State University on the 12th.
My undergrad/master's alma mater has quite the record against the Mississippi State basketball team, having won 88 of their 132 games. The two institution’s women’s basketball teams have only played each other 45 times, but Tennessee again holds quite the edge with 38 wins and 7 losses. My doctoral alma mater has only played the men’s team three times and won all of them. However, none of these were played at Mississippi State or Texas Tech. The Lady Raiders have only played the Lady Bulldogs once, back in 2002 in Lubbock and Tech won the game.
The last photo is the Mize Pavillion at Humphrey Coliseum. Mize is a basketball training facility which opened in 2011. Construction costs came in at $13 million (about $17.1 million today). The Henry Mize Foundation gave $4 million for the construction of the facility.
Below is Dudy Noble Field / Polk-DeMent Stadium, home of the State baseball team. It seems like a great stadium, although I have unfortunately been unable to catch a game there to know for certain. The stadium is the largest on-campus baseball facility in the U.S. The field is named in honor of former Bulldogs Coach and Athletics Director Clarke R. “Dudy” Noble. The Polk name comes in honor of another former coach, Ron Polk. The DeMent is honor of long-time State supporter Gordon DeMent.
In addition to having recently won the national championship, the Bulldogs have dominated by alma mater Tennessee on the baseball diamond with 58 wins in 88 games. They have played my other alma mater, Texas Tech, only 10 times but again hold the edge with 6 wins. Tech did, however, win their last match-up this past March at a neutral site in Biloxi, Mississippi.
I will sound like an old man here, but back in my days as an undergraduate, many major universities had their soccer teams play on intramural fields. Dedicated fields for teams were around and slowly becoming a thing, but actual stadiums with press boxes and such were not as ubiquitous as they are today. The soccer stadium at State has an older press box (seen in the first photo) and a newer structure for the locker rooms and such (second photo). Currently, it has no name unlike the other stadiums and athletic venues on campus.
I did a post on branding and have mentioned in multiple posts that colleges and universities are obsessed with brand identity these days. State is no exception, and the photos below show some of the branding on campus. From soap dispensers, to sign posts, and floor mats, the university's colors and logo were everywhere. As was the case with their in-state rivals at Ole Miss, the folks at Mississippi State have painted their water tower with their logo. A crew was starting the prep work to repaint the tower during my visit.
I saw a couple of these signs on campus sidewalks and their advice is quite sage.
I have read three books about Mississippi State and recommend each of them as full of information and good reads. The most recent of the three is Maroon and White: Mississippi State University, 1878-2003, by Michael B. Ballard (University Press of Mississippi, 2008). A quick but enjoyable read which focuses agricultural research and extension is A&M to MSU: The People and Events of the Agriculture Division at Mississippi State University by Heather R. Denison (Mississippi State University, 2003). Finally, an in-depth book on the early years of the university and a good read is People’s College: A History of Mississippi State by John K. Bettersworth (University of Alabama Press, 1953). Another good read is the book Buildings of Mississippi by Jennifer V. O. Baughn, Michael W. Fazio, and Mary Warren Miller (University of Virginia Press, 2021). It goes well beyond collegiate architecture, but you can find good information about Mississippi State, and other Mississippi colleges and universities throughout the book.
As I noted at the beginning of this post, I have been to many colleges and universities across the state of Mississippi. I have found, without exception, the people on the various campuses to be friendly. But none are as welcoming as the people at Mississippi State. The students are extremely nice, and I have always enjoyed being on campus. There is a strong tradition in the state for young people to use “Yes Sir/Yes Ma’am” type politeness for people over thirty, but the level of respectability, politeness, and genuine kindness is bountiful on the campus in Starkville. As a parent, I can’t help but think about my sons’ future college careers. I have been on numerous campuses since their births, and at times I have a strong feeling about a place’s potential for one or the other. Sometimes the feeling is “I would never want my sons to come here!” Given the kindness inherent in the place, I could see either of my boys – but particularly my younger son – finding a place at State. It's impossible to guess the future and since they are both young at the moment there is much time for things to evolve and change. But Mississippi State is one of a handful of institutions I think would be a good place for my youngest.
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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