Nostalgia Home 

military science

Above, cadets parade in front of Academic Hall in 1885. 

In 1868, the University became the first of 20 schools in the nation to teach military science. Now there are more than 500 students enrolled in Mizzou’s military science program. One of the most inventive and energetic commanders ever assigned to the University was Lt. Enoch H. Crowder, who was appointed professor of military science and tactics in 1884. He formed the first university military band, established a female drill company and persuaded faculty to give class credit for military instruction. 

The Reserve Officers Training Corps building on campus is named for him. ROTC was established in 1916 after passage of the National Defense Act, which resulted in improved military science instruction. At Mizzou, ROTC continued to expand until 1942, when it was suspended because of World War II. Air Force, Navy and Marine units were formed at the University in 1946.

Chancellor's Residence

Mark Twain ate dinner here. 

Eleanor Roosevelt dressed here for a reception, Jihan Sadat stood in its foyer and greeted guests and Harry Truman slept here. Supposedly, a few ghosts have danced in its windows as well. Such a fascinating history should be expected of the oldest building on campus. 

The Chancellor’s Residence, on the east side of Francis Quadrangle, has been home to 11 university presidents and chancellors. Currently, it is the University’s official sesquicentennial headquarters. Built in 1867, the house is actually the second constructed on the site; the first, completed in 1843, was destroyed by fire in 1865. 

Legend has it that the residence has also been home to a few unwanted guests. The Columbia Missouri Herald reported in April 1890 that “ghostly apparitions” were dancing in the windows of the upstairs bedrooms. The house, unoccupied at the time, was placed under guard. 

At right is Thomas Jefferson’s original tombstone. It was given to the university by his heirs in 1883 because MU was the first state university to be located in territory secured by one of Jefferson’s greatest political achievements, the Louisiana Purchase.

Academic Hall fire


The evening of Jan. 9, 1892, University President Richard H. Jesse was reading in his study then he was stirred by the cry, “The University is on fire!” Jesse was one of the first on the scene, but like others, the president could only watch as Academic Hall, the University’s first building, was consumed by flames. 

Volunteers fought the blaze, which was believed to have been caused by faulty electrical wiring using water from Lake St. Mary, a small pond where the School of Journalism now stands. The next morning, only the columns were left intact. 

The Board of Curators quickly finalized plans to form the present Red Campus on Francis Quadrangle, but the fate of the Columns remained undecided. Many believed them to be unsafe, while others thought they would spoil the look of the new Academic Hall to be constructed to the south. 

The board voted in 1893 to dismantle them, but alumni protested the decision. Nearly 100 years after the fire, the Columns remain an internationally recognized symbol of the first public university west of the Mississippi River.

1896 Football team

The trip began innocently enough. 

The 1896 Missouri football team left Columbia Dec. 10 to play the University of Texas in Austin. The Tigers stopped in Dallas long enough to whip the Dallas Athletic Club 28-0. 

After the game, the University of Texas head coach proposed to MU Head Coach Frank Patterson that their respective squads go on an exhibition tour to Mexico City.  Without university approval, the team voted unanimously in favor of the idea. After shutting out the Longhorns, the Austin Mutes and the San Antonio YMCA, the Tigers boarded a train, along with the Longhorns, and crossed the border. 

The first stop was Monterrey, where the teams, fatigued from travel and sightseeing, played an uninspired Christmas Day game, which Missouri won. Then it was on to Mexico City where,along with playing two mixed-squad games, the players enjoyed the city and its people. 

When they returned to Columbia Jan. 4, the Missourians had traveled 6,000 miles. That’s the last trip Patterson took as Mizzou’s head coach. He was fired, and the team captain and manager were suspended from school. 

Years later, a letter surfaced in which the American consul general in Mexico commended the squad for its conduct and extolled the trip’s educational benefits.

1903 Graduation


The class of 1903 gathers around the Columns May 31 for commencement. 

No doubt, they looked forward to paying their $2 Alumni Association initiation fee and $1 annual dues, the turn-of-the-century membership rates. 

Today, the Alumni Association offers graduating seniors a reduced-rate first-year membership of $30. The association has been serving alumni since 1853, when a small group of Mizzou graduates met to form the Alumni Association of the University of Missouri. 

Through the years, the association has recruited students, offered scholarships, taken the lead in private giving to the University and provided educational programs for its members. From these activities, a hearty volunteer spirit has sprouted within the association--a spirit which blossomed in the ‘60s. During this period, membership reached 6,000, and it continued to grow in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Dues-paying membership now numbers more than 38,000.

Ag Class


The study of horticulture at the University is as old as the College of Agriculture, which was founded in 1870. Modern "aggies" continue to learn about horticulture, but the college’s students also study such non-traditional agriculture disciplines as biochemistry, food science and nutrition and atmospheric science. 

Such diversity and quality of curricula rank the college among the best in the nation. Because of its founding date, the College of Agriculture claims a sizable share in the University’s 150-year-old educational tradition. Passage of the Morrill Act of 1862, which established the University as a land-grant institution of higher education, created the college. 

Similar initiatives, such as the 1887 Hatch Act, which started an agricultural experiment station, and the 1914 Smith-Lever Act, which produced an agricultural extension service, took the college’s programs to the people.

Farmer's Fair Demonstration


In 1905, Mizzou agriculture students established the Farmers’ Fair, one of the most successful student-run activities in campus history, but the event did not come without controversy. 

With permission from faculty, the aggies dressed in overalls and carried garden tools to chapel on March 11, the first day of the fair. President Richard Jesse, unaware of the festivities, met the students in the hallway outside the chapel and would not permit them inside. The surprised students gathered on the south steps of Jesse Hall and were soon joined by the rest of the student body. 

There, Jesse (the bearded figure with his arm raised in the right center of the picture) chastised them for their disrespectful garb and ordered the aggies to disband. They did and then paraded downtown with every known farm implement in tow. 

That afternoon, the aggies held a fair on campus. The success of the day was tainted only by Jesse’s speech, for which he apologized at chapel the next morning. The Farmers’ Fair was held annually through 1957.

1919 MU Basketball


Ol’ Mizzou dominated the Missouri Valley Conference in 1919-20. The football Tigers won the conference championship with a 4-0-1 record, and the basketball team, above, compiled a 17-1 mark, losing the last game of the year to Kansas State. 

The Mizzou roundballers outscored their opponents that year 666 to 362. According to the 1920 Savitar, the Tigers, led by all-conference captain Craig Ruby, front row, second from right, played a steady yet flashy brand of basketball never before witnessed in the Missouri Valley Conference. 

Mizzou captured conference basketball championships in 1921 and 1922. The 1939-40 Missouri's football team and basketball squads accomplished a similar conference “sweep,” this time in the Big Six Conference.

J School lions


Two stone lions, which once guarded a Confucian temple in Nanking, China, were given to the School of Journalism by the Chinese government as an act of international goodwill May 7, 1931, during the 22nd annual Journalism Week. 

The first dean of the School of Journalism, Walter Williams, left, then University President, accepts the gift from Chao-chu, right, minister of the Republic of China to the United States. Dr. H.H. Kung, China’s minister of industry and a descendant of Confucius, arranged to have the sculptures given to the school after he became acquainted with journalism alumni working in China. 

The figures, which now stand in the archway between Neff and Williams halls, were sculpted by an unknown artist around 1400, at the beginning of the Ming dynasty. Each stands five feet tall and weighs 5,000 pounds.

Union tower

This is how Memorial Union looked from 1926 to 1950, but not by design. 

Original construction plans for the tower were approved by the Alumni Association in 1916 and called for a tower flanked by north and south wings. The underlying concept of a student union was a campus location for alumni and undergraduates to interact. 

The project reached completion in 1926 and became a memorial when the names of 116 students killed in World War I were engraved in its stone arch. Construction of the south wing began in 1930, but soon after the foundation was laid, work was halted by the Great Depression. 

For almost 20 years, the project lay dormant. In 1946, the Missouri General Assembly approved financing for the north wing, and it was finished in 1950. Finally, in 1963, 30 years after it was started, the south wing was completed. The union, made mostly from native Missouri stone, is regarded as a fine work of Gothic architecture.

Temporary Housing


Before World War II, there were approximately 4,000 students at Mizzou. When the war ended in 1945, an influx of veterans to Campus made housing extremely scarce. By the second semester of the 1945-46 school year, there were 5,000 students enrolled. The next year, nearly 7,000 more veterans swelled enrollment to more than 11,000. 

To meet housing needs of students and faculty, the University acquired war surplus barracks, like building T-18 above, and other temporary buildings from the federal government. T-18 was located between the Student Health Center and McAlester Hall. 

By 1948, there were 224 temporary buildings and 165 government- owned trailers on campus. As more residence halls were built, the temporary housing was torn down. The last was removed in 1984 to make room for the J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library.



From left, University President Frederick Middlebush, Governor Phil Donnelly, Springfield businessman Lester Cox, Arts ’23, and journalism Professor Ed Lambert, PhD ’52, help dedicate KOMU-TV in January 1954. 

The University’s commercial television station, five miles south of Columbia on Highway 63, was built mostly with the help of private gifts. The station started transmitting its signal Dec. 21, 1953. Cox, a Board of Curators member, was a leader in developing the station for the University; Lambert was its first director. 

The station’s purpose has remained the same: to provide a laboratory to train journalism students for professional broadcast careers. Students also gain practical journalism experience working for radio station KBIA and the Columbia Missourian daily newspaper, both of which are operated by the University.

early hospital


Construction workers put the finishing touches on the University of Missouri Medical Center in 1956. 

The 7-floor structure, designed as a 441-bed, outpatient and emergency-care facility, quickly became a statewide referral center.  By the mid-‘60s, the hospital was admitting more than 9,000 patients annually and had 60,000 outpatients. 

As the demand for medical services increased, the hospital expanded.  The Medical Sciences Building, part of the Medical Center complex, was expanded from four to seven stories in the mid-‘60s. Rusk Rehabilitation Center, the Outpatient Clinic and the School of Nursing were built in the ‘70s. 

Because of its rapid growth, in 1976, the hospital was administratively separated from the School of Medicine and became known as University Hospital and Clinics. In the 1980s, the Mason Institute of Ophthalmology, the Cosmopolitan International Diabetes Center and the SameDay Surgery Center were added to ensure that the state would have a modern, comprehensive medical facility for years to come. 

Marching Mizzou


Memorial Stadium has served as the main stage for the Big M of the Midwest: Marching Mizzou. Above, the group performs at halftime during the 1958 Missouri-SMU game. 

The band, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 1985, was organized and outfitted by Lt. Enoch H. Crowder, cadet corps commandant, with a $125 grant from the Board of Curators and private support. The 12-person band was the second cadet band in the nation. 

In 1903, a student band was created to supplement the military band. The 1905 Savitar said “For real enthusiasm and genuine college spirit, the band far outranks any organization in school.” 

The band publicized the University’s 100th birthday far and wide in 1939 by playing for the Nation Farm and Home Hour, which was broadcast on 102 NBC radio stations to 7.5 million listeners. It also represented Missouri at World’s Fairs in New York and San Francisco. Today, Marching Mizzou delights crowds wherever it goes with its mix of pop, jazz and march tunes.

Ellis Library


In 1842, University President John Lathrop used a small portion of the University of Missouri’s operating budget to purchase six journal subscriptions. Seven years later, he bought $1,250 worth of books for university use. 

From such humble beginnings the University’s main library, Ellis Library, grew. The photograph above shows the library in the 1960s. The 4-story structure, built in 1915 with white cut stone in English Renaissance style, is the geographical and educational heart of campus. 

With more than 2 million volumes, Ellis Library is the largest research library in the state and one of the best university libraries in the country. The main building was dedicated in 1916; the west wing in 1937; the east wing in 1960; and the 50,000-square-foot south wing, featuring a centralized reference collection in 1987. The library was named in honor of University President Emeritus Elmer Ellis in 1972.