Friday, September 17, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Morrill Hall

Morrill Hall, one of the oldest buildings on the Michigan State campus, is set to be demolished in 2013, and its classrooms, and offices moved to a new addition of Wells Hall. Ground was broken for that new addition earlier this week. To commemorate Morrill, plans are to restore the area to a park, with a plaque and part of the stone or brick of Morrill Hall.
My first thought was we should save this building as it is a major part of Michigan State's history. But, some investigation finds that the place is deteriorating with the floors and ceilings tilted and the place infested with cockroaches and bats, so maybe the history, English, and religious studies departments will be better off in their new home in Wells Hall.
Morrill Hall in 1912, known at the time as the...Image via Wikipedia
A little history: It was dedicated in October 1900, and known as the Women's Building, and as its name implies was built to house women. At the time of the dedication it housed 120 women students, and had cooking laboratories, and a large gymnasium, as well as the dorm rooms. In 1937, the name was changed to Morrill Hall and it became a liberal arts division center. The new name honored the Morrill Act of 1862, which laid the groundwork for the land grant colleges providing university funding by the government, and built on federal land.

My main memory of Morrill Hall is from spring term of freshman year, when for some reason now forgotten I decided to drop an economic course a couple of weeks into the term. The course was taught by one of the most popular professors on campus, but one who had a reputation for being foul tempered and mean. I announced at dinner that I was headed to Morrill Hall for a face to face with the professor. The reaction I received was pretty much, 'You are really going to get blasted." This girl I had been dating (Leslie) came with me for support, or maybe out of curiosity. I remember the long slow walk up the four flights of stairs, and knocking on the door. I survived. He basically told me I would be stupider for not taking his class, and would live to regret it, but he signed the paper, and I shot out of there

.Some early Women's Building Residents.

The Library.

The gymnasium.
Earlier this week Leslie and I went into Morrill and shot some pictures:

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1 comment:

  1. Great job, Tom, on an old but respected part of MSU history. I walked thru that building out of curosity one time "several years ago" and had the same feeling of awe of all those that came before me.
    I have to wonder what will happen to all the beautiful oak trim (note around the door and windows etc), the oak furniture, etc.
    Van Reid