College Hall

Alice was interested in preserving the history of Lansing. One of her most significant projects in this regard was the preservation of Old College hall. Unfortunatly, no specific records about Alice's involvement in its preservation efforts were found other than what was present in her obituary. From what we know about the project though, we can probably guess Alice thought about the building. 

From about 1857 to 1870, College hall was the nexus for all class-room work. It eventually served many more purposes including debates, organization of societies, church services, Y.M.C.A activities, political clubs, orations, alumni banquets, and occassionally dances. There were many people using the building and there was a fight to prevent the building from being knocked down (Beal 266). However, the building had construction issues from the start that were so bad they delayed the opening of the college. For the first months of classes, the floors sagged to bad they had to install piers. There was much sentimental value associated with the building however. 

Henry A Haigh, a builder from the area, when speaking of Old College Hall, said:

"I know it occupies a central site on which many may think should arise the great and magnificent marble palace of learning which will be College Hall of future generations. But I would keep, preserve, strengthen, restore and fondly cherish the old structure forever, in memory of the dear, dead days that are gone. Keep it as a rallying place for the old boys, coming back, weary with wandering and wishing - reminder of happy days gone by" (Beal 266-267).

One can imagine that Alice would vehemently agree with this statement if not helping to create it. In the early 1900s efforts were started to turn the building into a student union while preserving its historical integrity. These efforts were stopped with they found several several problems. There were tree stumps in the foundation, the bricks were soft and the walls were hallow. The builidng collapsed while a band played the national anthrem at a war trainees' retreat. The rubble was carried off by the football team and eventually Beaumont tower was build over the site. 

Alice passed away before Old College collapsed. 

*I would like to thank Lisa Bright for helping me find sources for college hall and providing some of the background for the building. 

Legacy
College Hall