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Historic Tour > Chronological Tour > Starkweather Hall

Starkweather Hall

Starkweather Hall

Historic Name(s): Mary Ann Starkweather Hall

Date constructed: Built 1896. Dedicated Friday March 26, 1897

Architect: Malcomson and Higginbotham, Detroit

Style of Architecture: Richardsonian Romanesque expressed by low arches over the doorways, squat tower, grouped windows, and heavy exterior of local fieldstone.

Original Use: Student’s Christian Association (Funds donated by Mrs. Mary Starkweather)

Dates of renovation: 1961 renovation including improved handicapped access, and updated room use. 1976 redecorated when it was transferred from Office of Religious Life to University. 1990, interior repainting and air conditioning and heating improvements

Current Use: Graduate Studies Office.

National Register of Historic Places: 1977

Mary Anne Starkweather

Starkweather Hall - stage (1925)

Starkweather Hall - kitchen (1925)

History: 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 Mary Anne Starkweather, a local philanthropist, for funds to help build them 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, however, she offered to build them their own building 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 by 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).

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 Graduate Office. It is the oldest building still standing on campus, being three days older than Welch Hall next door.



Location of Starkweather Hall (Click on the image for a bigger view)