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!
The 40 cadets who remained on the Maryland Agricultural College (M.A.C.) campus during the 1912 Thanksgiving weekend would never have predicted the catastrophic event that altered the campus’ future.
On Friday evening, November 29, the gallant cadets arranged an impromptu dance. Their charming dates, in resplendent dress, gathered on the first floor of the Administration Building.
At the peak of their mirth, around 10:30 p.m., the Cadet Major was notified that a blaze had begun in the Administration Building between the third and fourth floors of the administration building.
The alarm sounded!
Initially, the brave cadets fought the blaze. They scrambled to rescue their classmates’ property, and miraculously, most of the valuable records in the offices President R.W. Silvester and the college treasurer were also saved.
The ladies, adorned in evening gowns, contributed to the heroic efforts of their escorts as they worked to fight the flames.
Never was there a more nervy bunch of girls. The heroic way in which they helped to save our belongings will go down in the history of old M.A.C. No praise can be too high, no tribute can be too great for them.
Hyattsville fire departments were called and fought desperately against a stiff wind, until tragically the water supply was depleted.
Saturday morning, the devastation became a reality in the bright sunshine.
The Barracks, M.A.C.’s original college building, and the administration building lay in ruins.Newspaper reports estimated the loss at $150,000. Every dorm room was destroyed, as well as half of the classrooms and offices. These two buildings housed 200 students and served as the music hall and science hall, in addition to the kitchen, chapel, and laundry. They served as the backdrop for faculty and athlete photos, such as these shots from the 1911 Reveille yearbook.
The people in nearby towns threw open their doors to us. The College work went on, almost without a break . . . The old school has emerged triumphant.
It looked for a time as though M.A.C. would have to suspend operations indefinitely. But four days after the fire, every student, save one, reported for duty, resolved to keep the College going. The sense of loss was soon overcome with an indomitable spirit.
Today marks the 104th anniversary of this landmark event in University of Maryland history. You can find more information about the Great Fire of 1912 at https://www.lib.umd.edu/fire.
It’s only 2.25 inches wide and 3.5 inches tall, but the information this jewel contains is unique to the holdings of the University of Maryland Archives. The Archives recently purchased the 1865 diary of Maryland Agricultural College (MAC) cadet Charles Berry who enrolled in the college on September 12, 1864, at the age of 16. Berry’s journal is the oldest account of daily life at the MAC that the Archives possesses, so this was a very special acquisition.
Unfortunately there’s no account of his first semester, but you can learn quite a bit about his second term from Berry’s little journal. Beginning with the January 1, 1865, record of his demerits for bad behavior, Berry lists weather observations, books he read from the library, his grades, guard duty stints, student chores, and various events at the college, among many other topics. Of particular interest to Terrapin sports fans are the earliest known mentions of the cadets playing football (March 13) and baseball (March 18) at the college. Berry’s diary ends dramatically with six entries commenting on Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and its effect on the Washington and Baltimore area.
Berry’s tiny journal is a rare find and a true treasure! Stop by the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library and ask to see this gem when you get a chance! We’re very excited to share this special piece of UMD history with the research community!
In 2015, we introduced our readers to 20 secret campus locations. Today, we’d like to show you a few more, and we hope that you’ll remember them throughout the semester. UMD has a number of hidden resources that may prove helpful to students as the year progresses. Some places are informational; some just provide a space to relax, reflect, and de-stress!
1. The University Libraries (That’s right! There’s more than just McKeldin!)
Our campus has 7 libraries dedicated to providing millions of resources to our students.
McKeldin Library features our general collections, covering most subjects of study, as well as the Terrapin Learning Commons for group and late-night study 6 days a week.
Tucked away in the Geology Building is a wealth of minerals and gemstones for your viewing pleasure. You don’t need to be a Geology student to visit, and at the right time of day, you might be able to ask someone to tell you more about the different objects and gems. The quality of the specimens in the museum’s collection is often compared to the Smithsonian!
The Norton-Brown Herbarium (Herbarium code MARY) was established in 1901 and is administered by the Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture in the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland, College Park. MARY’s natural heritage collection contains the largest number of Maryland-native specimens and includes approximately 87,000 specimens of various plant types from all over the world. The website for the herbarium hosts a searchable index of the collection and tons of digital images of the many different plant types.
The Campus Farm is a daily reminder of our heritage as a land-grant university and serves as an important study center for animal science students interested in large animals. Though the buildings currently used on our farm were not built until 1938 and 1949, the farm has been a long-standing presence on our campus. Recently, the campus farm, home of the campus equestrian team, saw the birth of new foals for the first time in many years. The farm is one of the biggest centers of activity on Maryland Day, when visitors can see demonstrations by the equestrian team and a cow with a port-hole, known as a fistula, into its stomach…
Currently, the campus farm is raising money for a massive revitalization project of the barns and other buildings. It hopes to raise $6 million to turn the farm into a “teaching facility for the future.”
On North Campus, near the Apiary building and Maryland Stadium, stands a new habitat “to raise public awareness of wild pollinators and to facilitate monitoring of campus bee populations.” As many studies have recently shown, wild bee populations are dwindling across the country and, as much as we might fear them, we need bees to continue to enjoy a lot of the luxuries we hold dear. This habitat is designed to revitalize our campus bee population and to encourage further research on wild pollinators in other parts of the country as well!
Veteran Chinese artist Han Meilin designed “Diversity in Unity” to serve as a physical reminder of the growing bond between the University of Maryland and China. Meilin’s design is a Peace Tree which stands approximately 5 meters tall and serves as the focal point of the University’s peace garden on the vista of the University House. Meilin was inspired by Chinese-style gardens, which often incorporate asymmetry, art, stone, water, various colors and textures, and a variety of plant materials. The Peace Garden is open for visitors throughout the day and is an excellent place to indulge in a little inner peace without leaving campus.
Ever feel stressed during the semester? Exercise and physical activity are always a good way to deal with stress in a healthy and productive manner. RecWell provides numerous facilities and activities for our community – but the climbing wall , located just behind the ERC, is one of the most exciting. Take a break to practice a new physical skill and have fun at the same time.
9. Secret Subway and Taco Bell in Glenn L. Martin Hall
Imagine it – you’re starving in between a class in Math and another class in the Martin building. You’ve only got about 30 minutes, and Stamp seems like a mile away. Have no fear! There’s a Subway and a super-secret Taco Bell tucked away in between Martin and Kirwan Hall, which sometimes only seem to be found when you’re not looking for them…
10. Turtle Topiary outside of the Benjamin Building
Just across from the Benjamin Building and Cole Field House sits a Topiary Testudo – a sculpture made to allow a plant to grow around it and take its shape. As the hedge grows, the turtle becomes less metal-structure and more plant-like. This testudo arrived as a gift from the class of 2004.
The greenhouses behind Terrapin Trail Garage are a state-of-the-art facility for research on plant life. These structures replaced the Harrison Labs along Route 1, now the site of The Hotel, and the original greenhouses behind the Rossborough Inn. The greenhouses, along with the campus farm and the Norton-Brown Herbarium, help us stay in touch with our roots as the Maryland Agricultural College.
The Driskell Center honors the legacy of David C. Driskell – Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Art – by preserving the rich heritage of African American visual art and culture. Established in 2001, the Center provides an intellectual home for artists, museum professionals, art administrators, and scholars, who are interested in broadening the field of African Diasporic studies. The Driskell Center is committed to collecting, documenting, and presenting African American art as well as replenishing and expanding the field. Each semester the center features exhibits that showcase African American visual art and culture. This semester’s exhibition, “Willie Cole: On Site” will be hosted from September 22nd to November 18th.
Ever catch yourself in need of a nice, quiet place to study, relax, or just sit and think? The Clarice’s courtyard is the perfect outdoor study space. At any time, you can enjoy the weather, read, take notes, chat with a friend, all while listening to the various music rehearsals taking place around the building. The courtyard can also be reserved for an outdoor reception or celebration.
14. Dessie M. and James R. Moxley, Jr., Gardens at Riggs Alumni Center
Moxley Gardens, in the courtyard at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center, is home to some of campus’ most relaxing spaces. The garden uses red, yellow, and white to represent our school pride – which is fitting, since the gardens sit right across Maryland Stadium’s main gate. While a number of events are hosted at the Riggs Center and in the gardens throughout the year, students and visitors are welcome to enjoy the garden any time the gates are open. It’s a wonderful place to study, chat, or just sit and relax – and it’s much less crowded than trying to enjoy the ODK fountain on McKeldin Mall!
The University of Maryland’s Golf Course opened on May 15, 1959. There was immense student interest in having an accessible, affordable course, as well as adequate facilities in order to teach students to play. Since its opening, players have enjoyed the course’s combination of “challenge and playability,” as well as its landscaping, which keeps the course tucked away from the hustle and bustle of our busy city. The course was renovated and updated in 2008-2009 and has since been named one of Golfweek magazine’s top 25 campus courses several times. Famous golfer Jack Nicklaus even played a round there in 1971. If you visit, be sure to have lunch at Mulligan’s – one of the best-kept food secrets on campus!
If you have any other hidden places on campus that you like to frequent, let us know in the comments below.
September 11, 2001, left a deep scar on American hearts. Over the past fifteen years, individuals have had time to reflect on what 9/11 means to them and how it affected both their communities and their relationship to our country. University Archives would like to take time today, on this solemn anniversary, to reflect on the impact of the terror attacks on the University of Maryland and its surrounding communities.
Our university has a direct tie to the events of 9/11, as we lost two former faculty members, Charles Falkenberg and his spouse Leslie Whittington, on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. The family was traveling to Australia where Leslie was going to work at the Australian National University in Canberra.
On September 12, 2001, the University of Maryland and The Diamondback focused on how the repercussions of 9/11 affected the campus community. President Mote cancelled all campus events and designated September 12 as a day for mourning, reflection, and grieving. Throughout campus, The Diamondback reported scenes of students hugging, crying, and praying together. Although everyone was affected differently, the university community pulled together to support one another.
At 1:00pm on September 12, the University held a memorial on McKeldin Mall to mourn and remember those who lost their lives at the Pentagon, World Trade Center, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Over 8,000 people paid their respects by lining the Omicron Delta Kappa fountain with colorful flowers following the service, creating a little bit of beauty on a day overshadowed by such darkness. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the flowers were collected and buried in front of the Main Administration building at the foot of the mall. That site is now the University Peace Garden and stands in memory of the events of 9/11.
The terror attacks left a lasting mark on the University of Maryland. Students were deeply saddened but immediately willing to help with blood drives and other services to benefit those most personally affected. As the 2001 fall semester continued, and more hardship beset the campus, increased counseling and support services were made available to students. Six years later, in 2007, the Memorial Chapel dedicated the Garden of Reflection and Remembrance. Each year, the Walk of Remembrance is held there to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11.
We hope you will take a moment today to remember the Falkenberg family and the nearly 3,000 individuals killed on that tragic day.
The University Archives at Hornbake Library is home to a wealth of information about the history of our school, campus, and the College Park area. One of the frequent tasks that we perform is researching questions that people have about the university. Some of the most commonly requested information has been gathered together on the University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium website, but there are also questions that aren’t so easily answered and require a bit of detective work on our part.
One such question arrived in our inbox recently from an alumnus who wanted to know if we had any photos of his old frat house. He said he had graduated in 1955, and during his junior and senior years, he lived in the Alpha Chi Sigma house on campus, which he remembered as being an old farm house with a metal roof and a water pump on the front lawn. According to the gentleman, the house was demolished during the construction of Cole Field House. With this information in hand, I began my investigation to uncover what I could find about the AXE fraternity house.
Fourteen represents the number of houses on Fraternity Row
Greek life! It’s one of the most frequently stereotyped facets of undergraduate existence, and also one of the more enjoyable (provided you don’t end up on Double Secret Probation). From raucous parties and pledging hi-jinx to community service and school spirit, fraternities and sororities have been an integral part of student life at the University of Maryland since 1913. Greek organizations have also long served the university in a somewhat less obvious way: by helping to ameliorate the chronic shortage of housing.
As strange as it might seem now, fraternity houses were once scattered throughout the area: in Old Town College Park, west of Route 1 in the area between Knox Road and modern-day South Campus Commons, and even on the main portion of campus itself, intermingled with the academic buildings and residence halls.
In the years following World War II, the university was flooded with former soldiers and their families, arriving in College Park to make good on the promise of the G.I. Bill. Temporary barracks and dormitories were built to house the new students, but it was clear that more needed to be done, thus the Board of Regents and President Byrd ushered in the greatest period of construction and expansion in the history of the university. One of the many new additions was the current football stadium, which freed up a large plot of land across Baltimore-Washington Boulevard next to Ritchie Coliseum, on the site of the old Byrd Stadium, dedicated in 1923. Plans were made to build ten Colonial-style houses in a ring around a central field to house 400 Greeks.