FIRST HISTORICAL MARKER
MSU's first metallic campus marker of historical significance was unveiled Nov. 17, 1972, on the front lawn of Lappin Hall. It was dedicated in connection with the University's 50th anniversary as a public institution.
The text reads: "The citizens of Morehead and Rowan County proudly convey their congratulations and gratitude to President Adron Doran, the faculty, staff and students of Morehead State University on the occasion of the institution's Golden Anniversary, fully realizing that the University is the economic lifeblood of our community and has made Morehead the educational and cultural center of Northeastern Kentucky."
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It was on this property that Phebe Button and her son, Frank, with help from the Christian Church of Kentucky, founded Morehead (Christian) Normal School (MNS), the noble forerunner of Morehead State University. Classes began here in a rented house on the morning of Oct. 3, 1887, with one student, Annie Page. By day’s end, Ethel Bertie Hamm also had enrolled and the Buttons had created what would be known as “a light to the mountains.” MNS was among 25 private normal schools opened in the state between 1870 and 1905. The school became a public institution in 1922. Dedicated Oct. 3, 1997, and erected at the main entrance of the Adron Doran University Center, the marker later was moved to the northeast corner as a result of a building expansion.
Thomas F. Hargis, a native of Morehead and chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, donated four acres of land and $500 in cash to Morehead Normal School in 1889 for the institution’s first classroom building. Hargis Hall, a wooden structure, was razed 36 years later to provide a site for Allie Young Hall. It is believed that the Hargis land extended from just east of Allie Young Hall to west of Camden-Carroll Library and south to University Street. The native stone monument just west of this marker was placed in the foundation of Hargis Hall to honor Judge Hargis for his gift to the struggling young school which would evolve into Morehead State University. Dedicated April 3, 1998, and erected near the Adron Doran University Center, the marker and cornerstone later were moved to the Little Bell Tower Memorial Plaza to be closer to the original location of Hargis Hall.
President Frank C. Button employed nine persons to constitute the faculty and administrative staff of Morehead State Normal School when it reopened in 1923-24 as a public institution. They included Charles D. Lewis, academic dean; Inez F. Humphrey, English; Emma Shader, music; Dan M. Holbrook, mathematics; Charles O. Peratt, history; Evelyn Royalty, expression (speech); Henry C. Haggan, agriculture; Ruby Vansant, mathematics; and Anna Carter, secretary. The nine first were memorialized in 1960 with the naming of student family apartment buildings in Lakewood Terrace, all of which have been razed. Dedicated April 3, 1998, the marker was erected at the main entrance of Camden-Carroll Library.
As its primary support of the war effort in World War II, this campus hosted the training of more than 4,400 sailors as shipboard electricians between June 1942 and July 1944. The U.S. Navy Training School (Electrical) had 600 trainees at a time. Coming directly from basic training, the “Bluejackets” lived in Thompson and Mays halls during their four-month tours. The sailors went from MSU to wartime duty stations aboard U.S. warships, many never to return. Thanks to the leadership and patriotism of President William H. Vaughan and Dean Warren C. Lappin, the Navy’s presence helped MSU survive the strains of wartime rationing and low enrollments. Dedicated March 29, 2001, the marker was erected near the main entrance of Grote-Thompson Hall, a residence hall actually used by the sailors of MSU.
1. Each of the original public campus buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places is identified with a marker affixed to the front of the structure. Street markers also denote the east and west boundaries of the historic district. 2. The National Register Historic District itself is identified with an official Kentucky Historical Marker erected by the Kentucky Historical Society and the University. It is located in front of Fields Hall near the main sidewalk, west of the Little Bell Tower. 3. Another state historical marker stands at the Cora Wilson Stewart Moonlight School on East First Street in downtown Morehead. It traces the history of the "moonlight schools" and the pioneering role of Mrs. Stewart in adult education in the U.S. and the world. 4. This marker was erected in March 2004 to permanently designate the site of apartment buildings named for the nine original faculty and staff members. Although an earlier marker said the buildings were razed by 2004, the last two buildings actually didn't come down until late 2007. This marker is attached to a limestone rock in what was known for nearly 50 years as Lakewood Terrace.
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