Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University
Monday October 20, 2014

Library Hours: 7:30am - 12:00am

Eastern Michigan University Library

Campus Buildings At a Glance

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Building name : Starkweather Hall

Construction date : 1896

Dedication date : March 26, 1897

Name after : Mary Anne Starkweather, Local Philanthropist

Building function : Honors College

Cost(USD) : 10,000

Architect : Malcomson and Higginbotham, Detroit, MI

Builder :

Architecture style : Richardsonian Romanesque

Square footage : 6,726

Cubical content : 110,457

Prior name :

Date changed :

Old function : Student Christian Association

Notes : The Student Christian Association was first organized in 1853, the same year the school opened. Over the next forty years, the SCA continued to grow. By 1892, its members were looking for new housing and asked local philanthropist Mary Anne Starkweather for funds to provide a building of their own. Mrs. Starkweather had planned to donate $10,000 to Normal for a new science facility in her will. Following the appeal of the Student Christian Association, she offered to build them their own instead. The Student Christian Association building was named for its benefactress. Normal was the first teachers college in the United States to have a building designated for religious activities. Starkweather Hall, as it came to be known, was fully outfitted for the students. The first floor contained rooms for receptions or dining, a dressing room, a library, and a few classrooms. These rooms were separated by rolling partitions that could be opened to enlarge the space. A kitchen was also installed so that students could cook meals for the dining area. Upstairs, plans called for a large assembly room and a “keeper’s room” rented to a student who looked after the building. All of the hardware was made especially for the building. Today original doorknobs remain in certain parts of the building, bearing the in initials of the Student Christian Association (SCA). Mary Ann Theressa Newberry Starkweather (1819-1897), daughter of Elihu Newberry, was born September 22, 1819, in Sangerfield, Oneida County, New York. She married John Starkweather in 1839. From 1839-1841, the Starkweather’s lived in Marshall, Michigan, where John served as Assistant Supervisor of Public Instruction under John Davis Pierce. In 1841, the Starkweather’s moved to Ypsilanti where they became very active citizens and eventually benefactors of the community. Mary Ann Starkweather was an heiress of her uncle, Walter Loomis Newberry of Chicago who gave half his estate to build and endow the Newberry Library there. She was a sister to the Honorable John S. Newberry who gave his name to the town of Newberry in Luce County in the Upper Peninsula. John Newberry was a Detroit entrepreneur and former congressman, who in 1882 joined together several businessmen and formed Vulcan Furnace Company (1882-1945) which turned hardwood into charcoal for iron smelting. During her lifetime, Mary Ann Starkweather gave generously to the city of Ypsilanti. Some of her gifts include, the Starkweather Memorial Chapel at Highland Cemetery, dedicated 1889; a public fountain on Huron Street, the Ladies Library next to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (on North Huron Street, now a restored building housing commercial offices and housing a large Tiffany window, which faces North Huron Street); the Soldiers Monument in Highland Cemetery; and Starkweather Hall on the campus of Eastern Michigan University. Mary Ann Starkweather died September 30, 1897, and was buried next to her husband, in the family plot just behind the Starkweather Chapel in Highland Cemetery.



Type : Renovation

Year : 1961

Function : Honors College

Cost (USD): 105,000

Architect : John Jickling

Builder : Schiller Construction Company, Detroit, MI

Square footage :

Cubical content :

Notes : In 1961, the building was renovated to improve handicapped access. Meeting rooms, another assembly room, and a library-lounge were also added. The north entrance, an archway like the western doorway, was converted into a window and one of the chimneys was removed. The largest change in the life of the building came in 1976, when the Office of Religious Affairs was dissolved. Though several religious organizations had used the building since the Student Christian Association ended in the 1920s, it had always remained in religious hands. Now, the building passed into the hands of the university to become the home of the Campus Interact program and other public relations services. At this time, the university remodeled the building again. Today, it houses the Honors College. It is the oldest building still standing on campus, being three days older than Welch Hall next door. Starkweather Hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.