Michigan State University is finally taking down Morrill Hall, one of the oldest buildings on campus and one of the last structures remaining from when the school wasn't even known as MSU.
When Morrill Hall was built as a women's dormitory in 1900, MSU was known as State Agricultural College. But the dorm was named after the Morrill Act of 1862, signed into law by President Lincoln. The act paved the way for land-grant universities and, as a result, there are several Morrill Halls across the U.S.
Land-grant universities would stand the test of time, but preserving the building's original use would become a challenge. Morrill would be converted to class and office space over the years, but small dorm rooms can't make for proper workspaces — especially as student enrollment soared and technology demands increased.
When I was a student at MSU, I never had any reason to be at Morrill — and honestly, I don't know anyone who did — but I'd stop in every once in a while. I just remember it being extremely hot every time, and that could be because a building that age wouldn't allow for a proper electricity-sucking air-conditioning unit. There were also rumors that the building was so rickety, it would sway at the slightest gust of wind and was also prone to sudden implosion, something I dismissed along with the myth that Mary Mayo was haunted and that Fee Hall was basically a giant morgue.
But as someone who spent an inordinate amount of time in Student Services and Communication Arts & Sciences, two of the most architecturally uninspired buildings on campus, I could always appreciate older relics like Morrill Hall, Ag Hall, the West Circle dorms (I lived in Gilchrist my freshman year) and the cluster of smaller buildings in north-central campus.
I'm not going to throw myself in front of the wrecking ball because I know times and people change. Rumors of Morrill Hall's demise have been swirling since I stepped onto campus eleven years ago, but maybe I'll consider buying a brick that the university is offering for sale. There's more info on that here.
[Photo via Wikimedia Commons]
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