A group of enterprising Maryville citizens took advantage of their train system to bring the State Selection Committee to town. The State Selection Committee was looking for a location for a state-funded Normal School. The citizens of Savannah were also vying for the institution and kept the State officials in their town past the time that the evening train would be traveling to Maryville. All seemed lost for a Normal School in Maryville.
However, Nodaway Valley Bank President James B. Robinson, The Nodaway Democrat Editor-in-Chief James Todd and Nathaniel Sisson, President of Sisson Land and Loan Company, were determined to make sure the state officials made it to town. Impressed with Maryville, its leaders, and particularly the Gaunt House and surrounding grounds for the Normal School location, the State officials did, indeed, decide to make Maryville the site for the Fifth District Normal School.