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In the Center of It All!

A photographic history of the ESU campus from the Walter M. Andersen Collection.

Earliest Campus Structures

Stone Building. Click to enlarge.
Old Administration Building. Click to enlarge.
Fire of 1878. Click to enlarge.
Stone Building, 1867-1878. From 1865 until 1867, the Normal School was located in a building belonging to the district school of Emporia at approximately Seventh and Constitution. On January 2, 1867, ceremonies were held to dedicate the first building on the new KSN campus at the head of Commercial Street. After the opening of a new and much larger building in 1873, the Stone Building eventually became the president's residence. It was destroyed in the fire of 1878. Old Administration Building, 1873-1878. The legislature appropriated $50,000, and the city of Emporia added $10,000, to put up this building approximately where the Sunken Garden is now. The building was opened in 1873. The basement floor contained a gymnasium, science laboratory, engine room, and cloak rooms. In the second story were six recitation rooms, a parlor, office, and three cloak rooms. The third story contained six recitation rooms, and an assembly room capable of seating 250 students. The fourth floor was divided into four rooms, one for the library, one for the museum, and two for literary societies. The building burned early in the morning of October 26, 1878.

"On the morning of October 26, 1878, the entire building was destroyed by fire. As well as could be ascertained, the origin was in the spontaneous combustion of the coal which had been recently stored in the basement for the winter's use.... The president visited the coal cellar at seven o'clock on the evening of the 25 th , and then again at nine, and the fireman made an inspection at a later hour, but all seemed safe. It is possible that the change in the direction of the wind about midnight, forcing a strong draft from the northeast, while there was mist and sleet and a sudden fall in temperature, may have hastened the combustion.... Nothing was saved of the Normal property - library, museum, apparatus, all perished...."

From A History of the State Normal School of Kansas for the First Twenty-Five Years.


New Administration Building, 1880-1917. A new administration building was built on the burned foundations of the old administration building, using practically the same plans. A west wing was added in 1888, and a new east wing (the first Albert Taylor Hall) was opened in 1895. The building was demolished in 1917 after the construction of Plumb Hall.


ESU Name Changes Through the Years....

1863-1923 Kansas State Normal School (KSN)
1923-1974 Kansas State Teachers College (KSTC)
1974-1977 Emporia Kansas State College (EKSC)
1977- Emporia State University (ESU)



Plumb Hall

Plumb Hall, 1917-. Plumb Hall opened in 1917, and remains the central administration and classroom building on campus. Major renovations were made to the building in 1985 and the early 1990s. The building was named after Preston B. Plumb, one of the original settlers of Emporia, and U.S. Senator from Kansas from 1877 until his death in 1891.


Athletic Field

Athletic Field


Athletic field, 1911. The baseball field was located where the science building and Cremer Hall are now. The street in the background is Merchant Street, on the west edge of campus.


  Physical Training Building

Physical Training Building

Physical Training Building (Gymnasium), 1910-1974. This building included an indoor track and swimming pool as well as the gymnasium. It was located just north of the present library. It is said that the floor and walls of the swimming pool still exist beneath the pavement of the parking lot between the library and the science building.


Old Training School

Old Training School

Old Training School, 1905-1948. Elementary and high school students attended the Training School, where students studying to be teachers had the opportunity to work with them and the experienced teachers at the school. This building was razed in 1948 to make room for the William Allen White Library.


Kellogg Library

Kellogg Library, 1903-1953. The first library building was named after Lyman Beecher Kellogg, the first president of KSN. It was located on Twelfth Avenue between the main entrance to the campus and Merchant Street. By the 1930s, structural problems and space constrictions led to plans for a new library. Kellogg Library was demolished after the William Allen White Library opened, in 1951.


Sunken Garden

Sunken Garden, 1918-. The Sunken Garden utilizes the site of the old administration buildings, the second of which was demolished in 1917. The sun dial currently north of the Garden was the original centerpiece, but was moved to its present location when the fountain was built in 1934. The garden and the fountain were remodeled in 1978.


Wooster Lake and Wooster Bridge

Wooster Lake and Wooster Bridge. Named after Lyman C. Wooster, the lake was once a ravine. By 1917, when it was named for Professor Wooster, the ravine had been dammed to form a pond. In 1922 a dirt dam was built at about what is now the south edge of the lake, and a rock and earth dam was built to define the north edge of the lake in 1936. Wooster Bridge was built in 1928 to carry steam pipes across the lake, and to connect Morse Hall with the cafeteria on the east side of the lake.



Cafeteria, 1918-1963. The first floor dining room seated 500, and was furnished in oak. The domestic science department was located on the second floor. The building was demolished in 1963 to make way for the east wing of the Memorial Union.


Memorial Union

Memorial Union, 1924-. The first campus student union west of the Mississippi, Memorial Union was built to commemmorate the veterans of World War I. It was dedicated in 1924. Additions were built to the north in 1957 and 1963 and to the east in 1972.


Beach Music Hall

 Beach Music Hall, 1926-. The Music Hall opened in 1926, and was named Beach Hall after Frank A. Beach, professor of music, in 1956.


Power Plant

Power Plant

Power Plant, 1920. The Power Plant as it appeared in 1928 was built in 1920. Additions were completed in 1931, 1947, and 1962.


Norton Science Hall

Norton Science Hall

Norton Science Hall, 1905-1968. This building was located along Twelfth Avenue just south of the current Roosevelt Hall, and was named after Henry B. Norton, first teacher of natural sciences at KSN.


Morse Hall

Morse Hall, 1924-. Abigail Morse and her husband were among the first settlers in Emporia. Her husband, the Reverend G.C. Morse, was instrumental in starting the Normal School in Emporia, and after his death, in 1870, Abigail taught at KSN for three years, and was also preceptress (dean of women). Additions to Morse Hall were completed in 1952, 1961, and 1964. This photograph was made around 1920.

New Training School

"New" Training School, 1929-1980. For much of its life, this building housed the university's model elementary and high schools. In 1953, high school students were moved to what is now Roosevelt Hall, and in 1961 elementary students were moved to the former Butcher School. From 1961 until its demolition in 1980, the building housed humanities and art programs.