Nov. 23, 2009
Christian Basi, BasiC@missouri.edu, 573-882-4430
Academic Hall was the first building erected on MU’s campus in 1840. When the iconic building burned to the ground on Jan. 9, 1892 few things were saved. After the debris was cleared, the cornerstone was preserved. On Sept. 21, 1915, it was moved to the north gate of Francis Quadrangle. The stone was originally laid in 1840, making it older than the symbolic Columns that also were saved following the burning of Academic Hall.
“The cornerstone is a very important part of our university’s history,” said Tom Schultz, director of development for MU. “We want to make sure we preserve it for future generations. Now, with the help of some very generous donations, it will be restored and become the centerpiece of an educational display showcasing MU’s history.”
The cornerstone will be positioned to face the Columns in its new home in the rotunda of Jesse Hall. The display will feature information about Academic Hall, the fire and the Columns. Schultz estimates the move will cost about $30,000, with the entire amount coming from private donations.
Presently, the cornerstone is located at the very bottom of the north gate and is barely visible to those who are not looking for the inscription. Workers from MU Campus Facilities will remove the stone for restoration work beginning today, Monday, Nov. 23. The move is expected to be completed by spring of next year with a formal dedication to take place in the fall.
Design for the display will be decided in a contest for students in the architectural studies program in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. The winner of the competition, which will be completed by February, will receive $500.
Fundraising has started for the removal, restoration and display of the stone. For more information, contact Tom Schultz at SchultzT@missouri.edu or 573-882-2032.
The stone was quarried just south of Columbia in 1840. The original inscription read: “Corner Stone in Main Building of University Laid July 4, 1840.”