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The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
Local History

Old Normal School Torn Down in 1916

 From out postcard collection.

Old Normal rapidly passing into history

Springfield Daily Leader, January 26, 1916

"With the removal of the last brick of the old Normal building, one of the oldest educational institutions in this part of the state will have passed into history.  Recognized at one time as the largest structure of its nature in this section, the old building in later years has become obsolete so far as putting it to any practical use is concerned.

"The Brick structure was completed in the spring of 1894 and for years was utilized as a private Normal school, accommodating several hundred pupils.  In 1907 the building was leased by the state for the Springfield Normal school, which occupied the structure for two years. Upon the completion of the new Normal building, constructed of stone, the Normal school in 1909 moved to its new quarters, leaving the old building on Pickwick Avenue abandoned.  It has remained vacant for the last six years, with the exception of a few tenants who have resided there.

"In 1907, eight hundred pupils attended school there and fifteen instructors were employed to teach them.  With the exception of the public schools, it was the largest educational institution in this section. Five of the teachers were retained on the staff of instructors at the new Normal.  Four of this number, Prof. D. T. Kizer, Miss Elizabeth Park and Prof. and Mrs. C. P. Kinsey, are still employed at the Normal.

"Within the last six years, various plans of utilizing the old building have been contemplated.  It was at first believed the structure was admirably fitted for a military school but it was found to contain an insufficient number of dormitories.  Also it was planned to fit it out as a hospital but it was found to be too large.  So it has remained a veritable white elephant as far as practical use was concerned.

"Several years ago, E. J. Rhodes, the present owner, purchased a large share in the building from the corporation owning it.  Later he acquired the entire ownership.  About a month ago, under the supervision of Mr. Rhodes’ son, Clyde, the razing of the old structure was begun.  When the cornerstone is uncovered, interesting papers and publications probably will be brought to light.

"The Normal campus has been divided into twenty-four lots by Mr. Rhodes, who intends to build modern dwellings on them.  It is estimated that about 1,300,000 bricks were used in the old structure."

We have many newspaper articles indexed in our Ozarks News and Historical Index about the Normal School.  The articles can be seen on microfilm at the Library Center.

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