Friday, September 07, 2007


Eastern's Tradition

Greetings, I know it's been a while since I've checked in with new information. Things have been busy around this office as we gear up for the school year.
A few notes, University Relations is now called Marketing and Communications to better reflect our role. Same service though, as our staff is still the sort of public relations arm of the University.
But we've been undergoing a lot of changes, all of them challenging but exciting.

Wanted to share a nice article in the Spokesman about Easstern's own historic district.

start something big.

Buildings on Cheney campus make up historic district

Stefanie Pettit
September 6, 2007

The campus of Eastern Washington University in Cheney is home to something that exists on no other college campus in – a historic district.

EWU's historic district, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, also might well be the only such district on a college campus west of the Mississippi River, said Michael Houser, architectural historian for the state of Washington.

The Washington state Advisory Council on Historic Preservation awarded the historic-district designation in spring 1992, encompassing the six buildings that formed the original core of the campus. The national designation came in December of that same year.

While EWU's historic district is highly unusual in a college setting, other colleges do have individual buildings with national or local historic designation.

All historic districts contain a concentration of buildings that retain their architectural integrity and, by definition, are deemed worthy of preservation. Criteria include being associated with events that made important contributions to the history of the region, being influenced by the lives of people significant to history and embodying distinctive characteristics of a period.

Historic designation encourages preservation, recognition and rehabilitation of historically significant properties, Houser said.

In the case of EWU's historic district – which includes Showalter Hall (built in 1915), Monroe Hall (1915), Senior Hall (1920), Sutton Hall (1923), University House (1929) and Hargreaves Hall (1940) – the buildings are examples of Classical and Renaissance revival, Colonial/Georgian and Romanesque revival architecture.

The district is significant for its role in the education of students on the east side of the state, with the site beginning as a school dedicated to training new teachers, which were called normal schools at the time, and evolving into a state university.

Four of the buildings are named for individuals who influenced the course of education and politics in Washington:

•Noah Showalter, first president of Cheney Normal School.

•Mary Monroe, longtime member of the Cheney Normal School board of trustees and 1913 president of the Washington Education Association.

•William Sutton, who saved the school from being closed and later was elected to four terms in the state Senate (and also is credited with preventing the state college in Pullman, later to become Washington State University, from being reduced in status to a trade school).

•Richard Hargreaves, who served as president of the Cheney institution and under whose tenure a new library was constructed on campus.

With the historic-district designation come some obligations when architectural changes are planned. State executive order No. 0505 requires that renovation plans undergo historical and cultural review if the work is funded as a state capital project.

"If public dollars are being spent, we need to see the impact, in the broadest terms, to the project as a cultural resource," Houser said.

Hence, the $10.8 million renovation under way on Hargreaves Hall has been reviewed by Houser's agency, and the university has made some modifications to keep within the parameters of the historic quality of the structure.

"While the significance of National Register designation is largely honorary, it is a recognition and a celebration of the architecture and history of a locale," Houser said.

"Eastern is to be congratulated for honoring its own history in this way."

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