Destroyed by Fire 1925
Old Main, as it came to be called, was the first building constructed
for Central Michigan Normal School. The cornerstone was laid on November 15,
1892. The building was designed by Fred Hollister of Saginaw. The building was
remodeled in 1899 and 1901, with east and west wings costing a total of $61,000
added to the original structure. A document placed in the cornerstone commemorating
the birth of this new school read:
Office of Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute
Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
November 15, 1892
The Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute opened September
13, 1892. Actual attendance on day of opening was thirty-eight of whom four
were in the stenography course, ten in the Commercial course and twenty-two
in the Normal courses. The actual attendance November 15, 1892 is eighty-nine
in all departments.
On December 7, 1925, a fire of unknown origin destroyed the building, along
with its 30,000 volume library. Anna Barnard, head of the foreign language department,
wrote of the fire:
shall never forget the all-gone feeling I had inside me standing two or three
hundred feet from the fiercely blazing structure, I all at once realized that
I was looking straight through and seeing the woods beyond.
Surprisingly, the college managed to continue functioning despite the loss
of its largest building. The library was relocated to the basement of the dormitory,
and over the winter holiday temporary buildings were constructed on Warriner
Hall to house classes. Soon after the fire, special funds were made available
by the state to the school and work was begun on a new "administration"
building, today's Warriner Hall, which was built on the site of the Old Main.