College Hall was the first building erected on the campus of the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan (now Michigan State University), and the first in the United States to be erected "for the teaching of scientific agriculture." Reputedly designed by John C. Holmes, it was built in 1856 and housed the school's classrooms, offices and laboratories, the school's library/museum, and a multifunction lecture hall/chapel. Along with Saints' Rest, and a horse barn, it was one of three buildings completed when the college opened for classes in 1857.
Because the Michigan state officials took the lowest construction bid possible, College Hall suffered from an extraordinary number of construction defects. These included hollow bricks, doors that wouldn't open, a leaky roof, floorboards that didn't reach the walls, and even a tree stump embedded in the foundation. These defects would ultimately prevent the building's preservation and rehabilitation.
By the turn of the 20th century, College Hall had outlived its usefulness, and its future was in doubt. Thus students organized a campaign to save College Hall from the wrecking ball. They convinced the college to convert the hall into a student union. The college went forward with plans to save the structurally unsound building, but it was too late. The construction weakened the shoddily-built structure, and in August of 1918, the building collapsed while a marching band played the national anthem outside the building. No one was injured in the collapse.
There were several proposals to replace College Hall, but in the end a clock tower was built on the northeast corner of the College Hall site. Beaumont Tower became the new architectural symbol of Michigan State College. Nevertheless, College Hall was not forgotten; to this day it is featured on the Great Seal of Michigan State University.
Sen. Stabenow Introduces Resolution Honoring Michigan State University Spartans on Winning Hockey Championship
Apr 16, 2007; WASHINGTON, April 16 -- Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, has introduced a resolution (S.Res. 144) "honoring the Michigan State...