The scene in the newly completed Student Activities Building was a festive one the night of December 2, 1955. University officials, dignitaries from around the state, including Governor Theodore R. McKeldin, and representatives from other Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) schools gathered to dedicate the new structure and celebrate the opening of the second largest arena on the East Coast, dwarfed at the time only by Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The ceremonies, chaired by J. Freeman Pyle, dean of the College of Business and Public Administration, featured addresses by Governor McKeldin and Charles Wickard, president of the Student Government Association. Judge William P. Cole, Jr., Class of 1910 and chair of the Board of Regents, presented the building to the university, and President Wilson H. Elkins officially accepted the structure.
Following all the speeches and photo-ops, the Terps took to the court against the Virginia Cavaliers. Bob Kessler scored the first points in the new arena, hitting two free throws in the opening moments, but Virginia answered back quickly, with two free throws of their own from Bob McCarty and a basket by Bob Hardy. The Terps hit a lay-up and capitalized on an offensive rebound to take the lead at 6-4. At halftime, they were in front of the Cavaliers by 4, at 34-30, and they continued to pull away in the second half, thanks to some hot shooting from Kessler and teammate Bob O’Brien.
Game day program, Dec. 2, 1955
Game action, Dec. 2, 1955
Ultimately Maryland prevailed in a low-scoring affair, 67-55, the ACC opener for both teams. Kessler finished with 23 points, and O’Brien 15, as the high scorers for the Terps.
Who could have predicted at the time that the Terps would also end their playing days in Cole with a game against those same Virginia Cavaliers, winning that final contest on March 3, 2002, 112-92.
Today the historic field house, named in December 1956 for Judge William P. Cole, Jr., has been re-purposed as the Terrapin Performance Center, with a dazzling indoor practice facility; the Center for Sports Medicine, Health, and Human Performance; and the future home of the Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
This is the second in a series of blog posts the University Archives will be featuring as part of the commemoration of the 100th season of Maryland men’s basketball, 2018-2019, with our colleagues in Intercollegiate Athletics. Visit the #Terps100 website for more information about and to participate in the celebration.
Follow Terrapin Tales throughout the season for additional features on landmark days in Maryland men’s basketball history. Next in line is December 30, when we mark Maryland’s first win in the Big Ten.
Cutting along the eastern edge of UMD’s campus, Route 1 is a familiar site and busy thoroughfare for students. Students roaming the sidewalks of Route 1 have immediate access to food, shopping, and housing. But that’s not all the highway has been used for over the years. Check out these changes to Route 1!
Farmers walk oxen down Route 1 near the Rossborough Inn, 1900.
This rural scene shows what Route 1 and College Park were like before the road became a bustling, paved main street. With the rise in popularity of the automobile, traffic on the road increased, and the state mandated that the road be paved in 1904. Officially designated “State Route No. 1,” the College Park segment of the road wasn’t paved until 1910.
Dairy cows crossing Route 1, 1933.
Widened and added to the official US highway system in 1926, Route 1 connects the country from Maine to Florida. But even as the road expanded, the sections around College Park remained rural. Cows and other livestock were frequently seen crossing the highway in the 1930s!
The growth of the University of Maryland drastically and rapidly changed the character of Route 1 in College Park. As the university expanded, businesses congregated along its waysides to cater to students. Stoplights were added, and the road was widened again in the 1940s to accommodate increased traffic. Below you can see the lit signs of businesses and the large number of cars parked along Route 1 in College Park after World War II.
Route 1 at night, 1949.
In the 1970s, Route 1 became a site of protest. In 1970, UMD students blocked this busy thoroughfare during protests against the escalation of Vietnam War into Laos and Cambodia. Similar scenes occurred again in 1971 and 1972. The National Guard was called to campus three times in three years.
Student protesters congregate on Route 1, 1970.
Today UMD students continue to have a deep appreciation for Route 1. In 2010, an alum named her online clothing company Route 1 Apparel. The company sells Maryland state pride and Maryland-themed clothing. Additionally, many of students’ favorite hangout spots are in Route 1’s many restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.
Route 1 at night, 2018. Photo credit: Washington Post
More changes are on the way for US highway 1. The street will intersect with WMATA’s new Purple Line that is scheduled to open in 2022, and new businesses continue to spring up along the street.
From cows to light rail transit, Route 1 has seen it all!
What was the University of Maryland like in 1928? In 1968? How does it compare to 2018? Then and Now explores the evolution of the University of Maryland over the years. This week’s spotlight: the Horticulture Department!
The Horticulture Department, better known today as the Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture, has been a part of the curriculum at the University of Maryland since the very beginning. Horticulture has been a part of university curriculum since the Maryland Agricultural College opened to students in 1859. Early on, Horticulture was not its own separate department; rather it was coursework in the larger field of agriculture. Students focused on practical experience and fieldwork conducted with the Agricultural Experiment Station. Through the years, focus shifted to academic research and lab work, although practical knowledge and job experience are still key.
Students plant lilies in Horticulture class, 1900
By 1928, Horticulture was its own distinct department with four tracks for specialization: Pomology (Fruits), Olericulture (Vegetables), Floriculture (Flowers), and Landscape Gardening. Professors in the department also worked for the Agricultural Experiment Station, an agricultural research facility affiliated with the University.
All dressed up and no place to go…except class! Female students in Horticulture class, 1925.
Students in the Horticulture Department in 1928 took a variety of classes including “Public Speaking,” “Greenhouse Construction,” and “Vegetable Forcing.”
By 1968, the course of study expanded to include Ornamental Horticulture and Processing of Horticultural Crops. The Department also shifted its focus towards industry, preparing students to enter the field as fertilizer manufacturers and equipment managers.
Curriculum in 1968 bears strong similarities to the coursework of 1928. However, focus has shifted to lab work and technology. Courses like “Flower Production Laboratory” and “Technology of Ornamentals” indicate the growing role of technology in science following World War II.
Today the Horticulture Department is called the Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture. Specializations are available in Plant Biology, Landscape Management, Turf and Golf Course Management, or Urban Forestry. The department supports both undergraduate and graduate studies, and the four specializations blend elements of science, design, technology, and fieldwork.
Current courses in the Department of Plant Sciences show more science courses and laboratory work.
The Horticulture Department is a long-standing element of the curriculum at University of Maryland. Since the creation of the Maryland Agriculture College in 1856, the department has changed dramatically. Coursework has shifted, and lab attire has changed. You won’t see fur coats in the lab today! However, the focus on preparing students to make meaningful contributions beyond the classroom has remained constant. Whether they graduated in 1928 or 2018, Horticulture students from UMD are prepared to make an impact in the field.
In the early 1960s, the threat of nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union was on everyone’s mind. In the fall of 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world closer to nuclear warfare than ever before. As the Cold War escalated,, and the world seemed to hover on the brink of disaster, many ordinary citizens began to prepare for the worst. In 1961, the federal government started the Community Fallout Shelter Program to create spaces to shelter citizens from nuclear fallout. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy wrote a letter to Time Magazine advising private citizens to prepare for the worst, causing many citizens to construct their own private backyard bunkers. The University of Maryland, like other colleges nationwide, participated in the fallout shelter mania of the early 1960s. The UMD Civil Defense program prepared for the worst by constructing and stocking fallout shelters across campus. Where were these safety havens from nuclear doom at UMD, and whatever happened to these spaces representing life on the brink of nuclear war?
In 1961, UMD began the process of constructing 34 fallout shelters on campus to accommodate more than 7,000 people. Shelters were located in the basements and hallways of academic buildings and residence halls. By 1971, there were 43 shelters on campus. The largest shelter, located in the Physics Building, could accommodate 2,472 people while the smallest fallout shelter, in Montgomery Hall, had space for only 50 people. Each shelter stocked enough rations to supply each resident with 8 survival biscuits for breakfast and lunch, 10 for dinner, and 4 cups of water per day. Not the most lavish of meals, but enough to sustain 23,000 people for 2 weeks!
The University’s Residence Hall Council even sponsored a course in fallout center management for interested students. The course involved simulations of conditions and situations that could arise in a fallout shelter during a nuclear emergency. Students could volunteer to participate in the exercise, spending 24 hours overnight in a fallout shelter in Denton Dining Hall. Students ate survival foods and practiced scenarios like decontaminating outsiders who could infect shelter inhabitants with radiation. Female students were even excused from the strict rules of nightly curfews to experience fallout shelter life. The course proved popular and occurred several times and in several different locations across campus in 1966 and 1967.
The University of Maryland also participated in community efforts to prepare for a nuclear attack. In 1961, the Prince George’s County Office of Civil Defense published a call for applicants in The Diamondback. Married college students with families were asked to participate in an experiment in living one week in an underground fallout shelter at Prince George’s Plaza. The Diamondback wrote:
The purpose of the test is to observe the reactions of a typical American family to the confined living imposed by the bomb shelter. The bomb shelter, yet to be built, will be the underground cellar-like type recommended by the Office of Civil Defense Mobilization. Its occupants will live on canned foods. They will communicate with the outside during periodic broadcasts made by radio station WWDC.
We were unable to find evidence in the Archives if the experiment actually happened or if any UMD students participated in the study. However, this call for participants shows the widespread uneasiness of the residents of Prince George’s County, including UMD students, during the Cold War.
The University of Maryland also provided community education about nuclear warfare and emergency preparedness. In February 1963, McKeldin Library featured an exhibit on how to survive atomic warfare, complete with a model basement fallout shelter and recorded messages providing information about survival shelters. The University of Maryland was clearly a part of a larger local community concerned about the impact of nuclear war.
In the mid-1970s, as the nature of the Cold War changed, fallout shelters began to fade from public interest. Funding to replace shelter supplies stopped, food supplies rotted, and vandals ransacked shelter sanitation kits. In 1976, the University gained permission from the Prince George’s County Civil Defense and Emergency Preparedness Office to dismantle the shelters, a process that took place throughout the remainder of the 1970s. As the Cold War continued into the 1990s, nuclear emergency plans shifted to focus on evacuation of students instead of efforts to seek shelter on campus.
Today, there is little evidence of the tension and anxiety experienced by students, staff, and administration as they faced the prospect of nuclear war. The idea of surviving a nuclear blast in a flimsy basement shelter equipped with survival biscuits seems naive and silly to us today. However, after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, nuclear war seemed inevitable, and a sense of helplessness consumed many American. These citizens, UMD community members among them, clung to the small amount of hope available to them, using fallout shelters to soothe fears of nuclear obliteration.
There are many great stories in college and university lore about kidnapping the mascot of a rival school, e.g. the Army mule and the Navy goat or USC’s theft of UCLA’s Victory Bell, among many other tales. Believe or not, our beloved Testudo was not immune from this phenomenon too!
The first Testudo statue was revealed on the afternoon of June 2, 1933, when a 400-pound replica of a Diamondback Terrapin was presented to University President Raymond A. Pearson by Ralph Williams, President of the Student Government Association (SGA). The original memorial, created at the Gorham Manufacturing Company in Providence, Rhode Island, was placed on a brick and stone pedestal, funded by donations from the SGA, outside of Ritchie Coliseum. Major Howard C. Cutler, the architect who designed the Coliseum, finalized plans for the base initially drawn by D.C.-area artist Joseph Himmelheber.
The Testudo-nappings began not long after the dedication. According to a short article from the September 23, 1958, issue of the Diamondback, Testudo was stolen from his perch outside Ritchie Coliseum twelve times in fifteen years, between its unveiling in 1933 and 1948. This blog post explores the more memorable kidnappings of Testudo from his perch outside Ritchie Coliseum, before the statue was filled with cement and relocated outside the football stadium in 1951.
The statue was first stolen on May 28, 1934, on a Monday night, the last day of the semester. At 8 AM the next morning, SGA President Warren S. Tydings and Ralph Williams, former SGA President who presented the memorial to University President Pearson, ordered a search. The thieves left “J.H.U.” painted in green on the statue’s base, hinting that the thieves were from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. University Vice President Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd called Johns Hopkins’ auditor Henry Iddins, informing him of the theft. Through information obtained from a state policeman, the search party learned that the thieves, “who looked like college boys,” may have stopped at a gas station in Berwyn, where one thief acquired iodine and a bandage for an injured finger. Later in the afternoon, administrators were tipped off by a phone call from a University of Maryland student, informing them the statue was located at a Johns Hopkins fraternity house in the 3100 block of North Calvert Street. Ralph Williams called Baltimore Police requesting a search of the fraternity, to no avail. By the time the UMD search party prepared a trip to Baltimore, the statue had been found in front of a dormitory at Hopkins, surrounded by roughly sixty Hopkins students. The crowd was questioned by Iddins, who then demanded that the students return the statue. “Fun is fun, but this is carrying it too far,” Iddins said, adding that the statue “must have cost several thousand dollars–and is a beautiful piece of work.” University of Maryland authorities echoed similar sentiments, suggesting that the theft “transcended the prank stage.” While Johns Hopkins administrators suggested that the thieves, if caught, would be expelled, Hopkins Dean Edward Berry also said he did not expect the thieves to be identified.
Baltimore Sun – May 30, 1934
Diamondback – June 1, 1934
Testudo was stolen again by Johns Hopkins students early Saturday morning, May 17, 1941. When Maryland students discovered Testudo missing from his perch at the Coliseum, they immediately gave chase to the fleeing Hopkins students. After an unsuccessful pursuit, Maryland students alerted Baltimore Police of “the crime of the century,” who then notified Johns Hopkins officials of the theft. This time, Hopkins administrators found the bronze Terrapin locked up at the Homewood athletic field, where Hopkins students planned to bring the terrapin onto the field during intermission of a lacrosse match between Hopkins and the University of Maryland the next day. Instead, the Hopkins administrators sent Testudo back to the University of Maryland, much to the chagrin of their students. According to one Hopkins student, “about a hundred of us, certain that we’d beat the Marylanders this afternoon, got in autos and trucks and went to College Park last night to do something about that Terrapin.” For better or worse, by the time this gang of Hopkins students arrived, Testudo had already been taken by another group of “about fifty.” Police, searching for the terrapin, stopped the gang of Hopkins students several times, but, without Testudo, they were let go. “When we got back to Homewood,” one student said, Testudo was “on the steps of Levering Hall. So we locked it up and decided we’d pull it on the field this afternoon and give it back to its owners.”
Diamondback – May 20, 1941
Testudo was stolen several times in 1947. In the first instance, Johns Hopkins students captured the terrapin in May before the national championship lacrosse game. Sidewalks on the Johns Hopkins campus were painted by individuals who believed Maryland would beat Hopkins in the upcoming game. In retaliation, Hopkins students traveled to College Park and stole Testudo. As many as 25 Hopkins students were caught, “scalped,” and held hostage by University of Maryland students until Testudo was returned.
Later that same year, Testudo was stolen on Halloween night by University of Maryland students who resided in West Virginia. According to news accounts, on the evening before the theft, a student asked a police officer about the penalty for stealing Testudo. “Don’t know,” the officer replied, “it has never happened to a Maryland student.” In this case, Testudo was not painted or damaged, but temporarily removed and left “camouflaged in the greenhouse shrubbery.”
Only a month later, Testudo was stolen again from his pedestal outside Ritchie Coliseum, this time by students from Loyola College. Maryland students, less than excited by this specific kidnapping of Testudo by Loyola students, cited a lack of an athletic rivalry between the two schools as the reason for their indifference to his disappearance. In this case, Testudo allegedly attended a Loyola pep-rally and spent an evening on “The Block” on East Baltimore Street in downtown Baltimore. He was returned undamaged and without Loyola’s colors painted on him. Loyola students also sent a letter back with Testudo, thanking University President Byrd, for his “generous hospitality” in loaning them the statue and even wrapped Testudo in a blanket for his trek back to College Park.
After the abundance of kidnappings, Testudo was moved from his perch outside of Ritchie Coliseum into storage in the General Services Department on the east side of Route 1 for several years. Upon the completion of the new football stadium at the University of Maryland in 1950, Testudo was brought out of storage, relocated outside of the new stadium, and filled with cement to prevent future thefts. Seeking a more central location for the statue, students requested that it be moved to the front of McKeldin Library, where Testudo has resided safely since 1965.
A star was born 85 years ago today, June 2, 1933! As part of Class Day festivities celebrating the graduation of the Class of 1933, our beloved “real Testudo” completed her final task and unveiled the original bronze statue created in her likeness that stood in front of Ritchie Coliseum. But what led up to all this hoopla?
Athletic teams at the Maryland Agricultural College/ University of Maryland had had various nicknames over the years–the Farmers, Aggies, Old Liners, even the Ravens at one point–but the university had never had a mascot. Members of the Class of 1933 decided they wanted to correct this and worked with then-Vice President Harry Clifton Byrd to choose the appropriate animal and create the first bronze representation. While the students diligently gathered the necessary funds, Byrd wrote the owner of the Holland Sea Food Company in Crisfield, MD, his hometown, asking him to send
one big Diamondback Terrapin of Maryland variety, and not one of those that come from North Carolina. I want it to use as a model for a sculpture
When this beautiful creature arrived in College Park, SGA President Ralph Williams took her off on a train trip to Providence, RI, to meet up with sculptor Aristide Cianfarani for multiple modeling sessions. The Gorham Manufacturing Company, led at the time by former UMD quarterback Edmund Mayo, created the statue and dispatched it to College Park, where our plucky terrapin participated in the unveiling.
The original statue stood in front of Ritchie Coliseum, but, at 300-400 pounds in weight, was subject to frequent turtle-napping by rival schools. When university officials tired of tracking down the missing bronze and arranging for its return, they filled Testudo with cement and steel rods, bringing its total weight to approximately 1,000 pounds, and permanently attached the piece to its base. They also decided to move Testudo to a more secure location, and, after several shifts, positioned the statue in front of McKeldin Library in 1965, where it remains to this day.
The popularity of this university symbol has led to the creation of additional replicas, located across the campus. You can find Testudo near the information desk in the Stamp, at two different spots in Maryland Stadium, at the top of the south stairs at Xfinity, on a brick pathway at the Riggs Alumni Center, and now in the Robert L. and Gertrude M. Edwards Courtyard at Van Munching Hall.
So when you pass one of the statues today, give Testudo’s nose a vigorous rub for good luck and wish our beloved mascot “Happy Birthday!”
Today marks the 105th anniversary of the Great Fire of 1912, which destroyed the two largest buildings on campus at that time, the Barracks and the Administration Building. The story is a familiar one to Terrapin Tales readers, since we have blogged about this event before. You can find a good overview of this landmark event in UMD history on TT at: https://umdarchives.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/fire-fire-m-a-c-in-flames/.
We mark this important anniversary with the debut of the re-designed website about the fire, available at: lib.umd.edu/fire. This site contains photographs of the conflagration in progress and its aftermath, personal accounts from students, coverage of events in the local press, and images of the Barracks’ cornerstone and its contents.
When you think about the cool historical items housed in the University Archives, maybe you think about the original Testudo or the old freshmen beanies. You probably don’t think that meeting minutes would be that exciting. However, these notes often tell us a great deal about the history of the university, with some Maryland-famous cameos to boot.
One example of such a collection is the minutes of the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Agricultural College (the institution which ultimately became present-day UMD) from 1912 to 1916. Picking up only days after the fire that destroyed the two largest buildings on campus, the minutes provide valuable insight into the mindset of the campus community, and their resolve to continue with their educational mission. The minutes record that “…the sentiment and great desire of the students, patrons, and Professors was that the work should go on uninterrupted if possible…”
Careful readers will also recognize the names of H. J. Patterson, who was president of the college from 1913 to 1917 and whose name now graces a building on the Mall, and one “Mr. Byrd,” athletics enthusiast and later university president Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd, who succeeded in getting the Board to agree to pay for the replacement of college athletic gear lost in the fire out of the university’s insurance funds. The minutes also mention the Trustees’ resolution, apparently without much incident, to allow women to take college classes, and the Board’s condemnation of hazing, which was punishable by expulsion. This last issue is especially illuminating in terms of illustrating how issues that were relevant on campus over 100 years ago remain so today.
You can find the entire run of the Trustees’ minutes during this four-year period online in University AlbUM to learn more about the college’s recovery from the devastating 1912 fire and its progress toward becoming the University of Maryland.
This is the third in a series of blog posts prepared by students in the current HIST 429F: History of the University of Maryland class taught by University Archivist Anne Turkos and Assistant University Archivist Jason Speck. Each of the students was assigned an historical item to analyze by responding to a series of six questions. They were also required to submit a brief blog post as the concluding portion of their assignment. We will be featuring some of these blog posts and the items the students reviewed for the remainder of the semester, so check back frequently for more of the HIST 429F student projects.
Byrd Stadium, now known as Maryland Stadium, opened on September 30, 1950, with a win over the Navy Midshipmen by a score of 35-21. This was the first game between these two teams since 1934, when university officials suspended the rivalry series that was marred by rough play and vandalism on both of the schools’ campuses.
It is difficult to imagine what it was like to be a fan who attended that game simply by looking up the final score, but reading through the original copy of the program book that was distributed to attendees of that game can take you back in time to a different era of the Terps football program. This piece of football memorabilia is filled with photographs and names of players, coaches, and other important individuals in the UMD and Navy football programs. Various feature articles appear in the book, including one that discusses why Navy was the ideal football team for the Terps to play in the Byrd Stadium dedication game. An entire list of possible in-game penalties and the associated number of yards lost, some of which have been modified over the years, are included for spectators who were not experts in the rules of football. Advertisements in the book are printed in black and white and are mostly text-based, which is quite different from the ads and commercials to which we are exposed at football games today.
This program was printed long before D.J. Durkin was the coach of the Terrapins; the team was still a member of the Southern Conference, they were coached by Jim Tatum, and the president of the university was Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd. The Byrd Stadium dedication game was undoubtedly an important milestone in the university’s athletic program history. Members of the university community can take a look at the program books for this game and other games in the University Archives to see what has changed and what has stayed the same over the years in the long and storied history of the Terps football program.
This is the second in a series of blog posts prepared by students in the current HIST 429F: History of the University of Maryland class taught by University Archivist Anne Turkos and Assistant University Archivist Jason Speck. Each of the students was assigned an historical item to analyze by responding to a series of six questions. They were also required to submit a brief blog post as the concluding portion of their assignment. We will be featuring some of these blog posts and the items the students reviewed for the remainder of the semester, so check back frequently for more of the HIST 429F student projects.
On this day in 1967, the Board of Regents voted to rename Margaret Brent Hall at the eastern end of McKeldin Mall for Marie Mount, who came to campus in 1919 as the head of the Department of Home and Institution Management and served as the dean of the College of Home Economics from 1925 until her death in 1957, with “quiet dedication and unswerving loyalty,” as the Board noted at the time of her passing. The building was constructed in 1940, and it was originally named Margaret Brent Hall after the colonial Marylander who was the first American woman to request the right to vote.
UMD President Wilson Elkins noted in a tribute to Dean Mount that he was
“impressed by her quiet efficiency, her ability to carry out the duties assigned to the office of the Dean and, above all, her ability to inspire confidence. She had an abundance of common sense which was apparent to all who sough her judgment on important questions.”
The re-naming came at the request of a group of alumni from the college who felt strongly that Miss Mount’s legacy should be honored in a very visible way.
At one time, Miss Mount supposedly lived in the building in a special dean’s apartment there. She was much loved by her students, and University President Wilson Elkins declared in a 1957 memorial to the dean that “The character of Marie Mount will live forever.”
Dean Marie Mount does just that. Night watchmen and building inhabitants in the late 1970s reported sensing other-worldly presences, doors opening and shutting on their own, toilets flushing when no one was there, and matches blowing out when all the doors and windows were closed. Could these activities be Dean Mount reminding us of her everlasting presence? It’s said that on dark and stormy nights, as the wind blows through the building, and the rain pounds on the window panes, she can be heard vigorously playing a piano. Next big thunderstorm, Marie Mount Hall is the place to be!