CORVALLIS - Venerable Education Hall - a building that twice was nearly destroyed by fire - turns 100 this October and Oregon State University will celebrate the centennial anniversary of its third oldest facility with a special rededication ceremony.
The ceremony will run from noon to about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, and will be followed by an open house and tours of the historic building. The public is invited. Speaking at the ceremony will be Richard Jarvis, chancellor of the Oregon University System; OSU President Paul Risser; Corvallis Mayor Helen Berg; Mary Hill, a 1949 education graduate; and Sam Stern, dean of the OSU School of Education, which is housed within Education Hall.
The building is rich with history. It is where Nobel Prize laureate Linus Pauling first met his wife-to-be. It has housed many of OSU's most prominent academic programs. And massive fires nearly gutted the building in 1924 and 1927.
When it first opened as Agriculture Hall in 1902, every business in Corvallis closed to commemorate the moment. The building's dedication drew 1,200 people from around the state - more than the entire population of Corvallis at that time.
"It was a magnificent building that loomed over the entire town," Stern said, "and it helped redefine the institution. It still is a magnificent building, though a little worn. And we hope that it can again help redefine the institution as we capture the 'spirit of Education Hall' to reshape and rededicate our efforts to prepare Oregon's classroom teachers."
Stern and the School of Education are using the anniversary and rededication ceremony to publicize a bold new education degree program (see attached news release). The 35,000-square-foot building was constructed with native stone for a cost of about $40,000. The first story is built of Oregon gray granite; the upper three floors are Cascade sandstone. The architectural style is called Romanesque Rival and Education Hall's gabled roof is similar to that of Waldo Hall. Both OSU buildings were designed by Albany architect Charles H. Burggraf.
Education Hall stands at the eastern edge of OSU's central campus core and its beautiful, classic exterior is marred by wire fencing to guard against falling stone. When the building was repaired after the second fire, the inner and outer sections weren' t fully connected.
Nevertheless, the 100-year-old building is sound, Stern said. "It's got plenty of life left."
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Sam Stern, 541-737-6392