Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Barnes Hall: Before (and Before) and After

Like any university, the landscape is always changing at Central. This past summer, Barnes Hall was razed. In just a few short weeks, the home of thousands of CMU students for over 60 years was replaced with a green space. The demolition of Barnes Hall presents an opportunity to compare the campus landscape past and present. Below are pictures of Powers Hall before Barnes Hall was built in 1952, Powers Hall with Barnes Hall just south of it, and the area today, without Barnes Hall.

Aerial photo, Warriner Hall (left) and
Keeler Union (later renamed Powers Hall), circa 1946

View toward southeast of Powers Hall with Barnes Hall south of it, circa 1950s

View toward southeast of Powers Hall without Barnes Hall, 2019

View toward northeast of Barnes Hall, 2019

View toward northeast of Powers Hall, without Barnes Hall, 2019

Monday, August 19, 2019

Do you remember that one time at Central...? The New CMU Historical Information Resource

by Bryan Whitledge and Clarrissa Klein

Imagine the scene:


A group of friends is back in Mt. Pleasant for Homecoming. They’re enjoying a pizza and reminiscing about the past, when a disagreement breaks out:

Chip 1: "Do you remember when school was cancelled for a whole week in the spring of '87 because of that flood?"


Chip 2: "No way, it was the fall of '86 – I remember because a couple weeks later Wendy Smith was voted Homecoming Queen."

Chip 1: "No, it was definitely spring '87."

Chip 3: "What are you both talking about, it was fall '86 and Julie Johnson was the Homecoming Queen that year – but she wasn’t called Homecoming Queen, she was the Gold Ambassador."

Chip 2: "Are you crazy? The Gold Ambassadors started in the late '90s."

Chip 1: "Listen, I bet you the flood was spring '87 – I’ll buy pizza if I’m wrong and you’ll buy if I’m right."

Chip 3: "Yeah, and I bet you the Gold Ambassadors replaced the Queen and King in the '80s – You’ll buy the drinks, too, when you find out I’m right."

Chip 2: "We'll see... but how are we gonna find out?!?!?!"



Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place our hypothetical Chips could go to quickly answer all of these questions? If a resource like that existed, then, within two minutes, the Chips could have settled the bets – the flood happened in September 1986, Julie Johnson was Homecoming Queen in 1986 and Wendy Smith was Homecoming Queen in 1985, and the Gold Ambassadors started in 1997.*

Well, there is such a place with all of that great historical information – the Clarke Historical Library has recently created a new webpage with links to a dozen lists of information you have been missing!

You say you want to know who was the Grand Marshall of the 1977 Homecoming Parade? We’ve got that – two clicks and you’ll find out it’s Dick Enberg!

Has remembering the name of the first woman to serve as CMU’s Provost been bothering you all week? We’ve got that – two more clicks and there it is, Janice Reynolds (who incidentally earned her PhD from Ohio State, which is also listed on this new page)!

Is whether or not you need to spring for pizza riding on the year that Central’s first sorority, Phi Kappa Sigma, started? We've got that, too. And you were right, it was 1902! Now, they owe you a pizza!

For years, the Clarke has fielded all sorts of questions about CMU history. And we have spent hours poring over old Centralight magazines, Bulletins, and CM Life newspapers tracking down nuggets of information. Instead of making you do the same work, we decided to share the bounty of our labors.

And those labors amount to lists of:
  • The number of CMU graduates, 
  • Links to CMU Athletics record books, 
  • Central’s name changes throughout history, 
  • The names of University Presidents, SGA Presidents, Provosts, and members of the Board of Trustees, 
  • The names of Greek organizations, 
  • Weather-related closures, and 
  • Homecoming Grand Marshals, Queens and Kings, and game scores.

So the next time you are trying to win a bet, or if there is a factoid buried deep in the recesses of your mind that needs a little prodding to come to the surface, the Clarke Historical Library is here for you.

*For those keeping score at home, it looks like Chip 1 is buying pizza and Chip 3 is buying drinks.