October 21, 2010
Students, employees, alumni and residents gathered the morning of Oct. 7 in front of Northwest's Administration Building to reflect on 100 years of the structure and its recent addition to the National Register of Historic Places.
The 10 a.m. ceremony was scheduled exactly 100 years from the moment Maryville and Nodaway County residents were welcomed through the building's front doors for the first time on Oct. 7, 1910. At that time, the University was known as the Fifth District Normal School, and the Administration Building was the only academic building on the campus.
For an audio slideshow of the ceremony, click here.
The Administration Building was added to the National Park Service registry in July as the result of six years of research by Jason Williamson, a graduate student working toward his master's thesis in history.
"The Administration Building has seen two world wars, a global depression, survived a tornado and a fire, been remodeled, repurposed, and the building's functions have changed," Williamson told the crowd gathered outside the building's south entrance. "But throughout it all the Administration Building remains a focal point of a growing and changing campus."
Williamson noted construction on the building began in 1906, but a lack of funding forced construction to stop and start multiple times until the building was ready for students to occupy it in 1910.
Much of the building's interior has changed drastically since 1910, but its southern façade and iconic towers remain almost unchanged. During its early years, the building was the hub of all campus activity, hosting track meets, theater productions, lectures and other events in addition to classes.
"When I picture Northwest, I see the towers and the southern façade of the building rising over the campus and the community of Maryville," Williamson said. "With the foundation of the Fifth District Normal School, education and culture in this region were forever changed, and the Administration Building is the symbol of that change."
Northwest president Dr. John Jasinski said the Administration Building remains a centering point for Northwest students, employees and University alumni when they return to the campus.
"It stands for longevity, perseverance and what we're all about at Northwest Missouri State," Jasinski said.
Emeriti faculty member Thomas Carneal noted the Administration Building's listing on the registry does not impact Northwest's use of the building or future alterations to the structure. The listing also makes the University eligible to apply for federal funding if the building becomes endangered.
"We can use the building anyway we so desire. If you wanted to put it in a hay barn, you could," Carneal joked. "But I think we'll keep it here. I think we kind of like it here as it is."
Carneal added, "I don't think there's ever been a student, an employee, a person of interest that hasn't walked through these doors in the last 100 years."