Happy October! We hope everyone is doing well and is staying safe! Things are definitely looking a little different here this fall, as MSU has made the decision to stay remote for the entire semester. As our director, Dr. Camp, mentioned in her blog post …
Tag: beaumont tower
Happy Halloween! Yesterday we hosted our 5th annual Apparitions & Archaeology: A Haunted Campus Tour. For this year’s tour, we decided to change several of the stops and the MSU Paranormal Society added stories from their investigations of each area! If you weren’t able to …
We’ve found some interesting artifacts on campus, some of which can be a little difficult to identify, and others that are a little bit weird. There are random chunks of metal, bent and rusted until identification is impossible. Old bottles that have lost their labels and have weird embossing that make determining function hard. We’ve even found human hair! Many artifacts we find are more industrial and relating to building construction- items that we don’t run into on a daily basis. Others are things no longer used by our society such as parts of slate pens or inkwells. Usually, with a little bit of cleaning, research into potential artifacts and imagination we can come up with at least an idea of use or function.
I’m totally stumped on this one. This large circular hunk of concrete was given to us by construction workers putting in new steam pipes south of Beaumont Tower. The concrete has a horseshoe embedded in it, that appears to be some type of handle. There’s even a nail still in one of the horseshoe holes. They said it was a sump pump cover, but that doesn’t really make sense. It might be from an old cistern. It is definitely more homemade or make do. The thing is quite heavy show it would be a great cover for something that needed protecting. One suggestion from the department it that its an early version of a kettleball… Not too sure about that one.
Our second week of field school moved us from the Old MSC Power Plan to just west of Beaumont Tower, across West Circle Drive from the Library. Although we continued to dodge raindrops for the entire week, we managed to survey an enormous area in …
This past Tuesday, the Campus Archaeology Program completed their testing at College Hall, in an effort to determine whether or not a summer field school would be possible at the site. Unfortunately, the results are not favorable.
The extensive historical survey, and the photographs that were discovered, certainly indicate that much of the material culture that would have been located just south of Beaumont Tower were removed in 1918 and prior to the construction of the Tower in 1928. Archaeological work indicates that after much of the building was torn down in 1918, it was transferred to an area located off the intersection of Beal and Kalamazoo Street to serve as fill along the river. The leftover foundations were used to construct an artillery garage that stood for nearly 10 years. This shed housed 16 army trucks, and used part of the walls of College Hall. It was probably taken down in the mid to late 1920s, as minutes from Board of Trustees meetings in 1927 ask for the foundations of College Hall to be removed.
The photographs of Beaumont being built in 1928 provide the best evidence supporting the lack of remains. The first photo, taken of the Southeast corner of Beaumont Tower, shows that the sidewalk under which we discovered the northeast corner of College Hall was in tact during the construction of Beaumont. This explains the walls preservation. The second photo, taken from the Southwest corner of Beaumont Tower, shows that a good deal of earth was removed along the West side of the sidewalk, in order to provide a deep footing for the Tower. This is where the interior of College Hall would have been.
Our test units attempted to locate the West and South walls of the building. What resulted was some rubble of possible foundations stones, but nothing in situ. It is likely that much of the building was cleared out when Beaumont was built, and then redistributed across the site when the began to fill in the area that was excavated. The Northeast corner, however, was preserved underneath the sidewalk. Along the South end, a good deal of disturbance also came from the installation of steam, irrigation, and communication lines, limiting the areas possible for excavations, and further disturbing the deposits.
All is not lost, however. The discovery of the northeast corner, provided further insight into the difficult, early phases of the Agricultural College. The poor construction of the foundation, as evidenced by the use of small river stones and poor mortar, corroborate the historical record which indicates that the building was poorly built. The graffiti covered walls showed how manual labor by the students was a regular part of student life. This was further emphasized by the work done by the football team in 1918, who moved the remains of College Hall to their current resting spot at Kalamazoo and Beal Street.
This movement of the building’s remains also provide a glimpse into a period of transition and expansion, as Michigan Agricultural College became Michigan State College in 1925. Symbolized by the falling down of College Hall, and made permanent by the construction of Beaumont Tower, this transition included the construction of new, larger buildings such as the Memorial Student Union, the new Library (now Museum), and the addition of larger athletic facilities South of the Red Cedar River. Remains of College Hall were, therefore, discovered in two places, each a critical piece of this transition from MAC to MSC. The first is underneath the 1920s version of the Bridge to Future: the bricks of College Hall support the Kalamazoo Street Bridge, built as a link to South Campus. The foundation of College Hall rests in the shadow of Beaumont Tower, which symbolizes the advancement of Michigan State College as the founding Land Grant College, and continues to stand today as a reminder of our Univerisity’s heritage. Despite the fact that a field school at College Hall will not be possible, a significant amount of detail can be gleaned when what was discovered is put in a larger context.
Regarding a field school, we are still investigating other possibilities, so all is not lost in that regard as well. Additional opportunities are available, and will make an announcement soon. Stay tuned!
A couple weeks ago, the Campus Archaeology Program discovered the northeast foundation of College Hall, the first building built on MSU’s campus. Next week, on Thursday the 22nd and Friday the 23rd, the Campus Archaeology Program will return to the site to see just how …
Last week, Campus Archaeology performed survey at Beaumont Tower, to investigate the area below sidewalks that were being replaced. Underneath sidwalks located under the southeast corner of Beaumont, foundation stones were located. There is little doubt that these stones are the original foundations of College …
The Campus Archaeology Program will be performing Phase I survey at Beaumont Tower tomorrow, September 16. This was the site of the original classroom building that was built in 1856 called College Hall.
It served as a classroom and laboratory building, and by 1916, plans were made to reconstruct this building into a Student Union. However, it turned out the building was built on wood planks, one corner used part of a tree stump as a foundation, the brick walls were hollow, and the bricks were soft due to their homemade construction. In August of 1918, while the marching band played the Star Spangled Banner at a war trainee retreat, the building collapsed. It was later replaced by the Beaumont Tower to commemorate the beginnings of the college.
Landscape Services is removing sidewalks all throughout West Circle, and will be replacing sidewalks next to the Tower. This will provide Campus Archaeology a chance to survey near the building and underneath these sidewalks, before the new cement is poured.