Muse Hall goes up, Founders Hall comes down: 1968-1970

Completed in 1970,  Muse Hall stands in the corner of campus that was once home to Founders Hall. The change from the stately columns and dome of Founders Hall to the modern high-rise profile of Muse dramatically changed the landscape of Radford’s campus. These photos document the building of Muse Hall in 1968-1970, as well as the demolition of Founders Hall.

Founders Hall with Muse Hall under construction.

Muse Hall under construction behind Founders Hall

Founders Hall, originally called the Administration Building, was the first building constructed on the Radford campus.  The two-story building featured a distinctive golden dome, and housed classrooms, an auditorium, a gymnasium, and a pool.  Construction began in 1911, and the building was open when the first classes at the State Normal and Industrial School (the original name of Radford University) were held on September 17, 1913.

The Administration Building as depicted on a postcard from the 1920s.

Founders Hall, as pictured on a postcard from the 1920s.

By 1968, Radford had nearly 3,600 students, and was the second-largest woman’s college in the country, second to Texas Woman’s University.  The campus was growing rapidly in the mid-to-late 1960s, with the addition of seven new dorms, the fountain in the middle of the campus, an expansion to McConnell Library, and Powell, Curie, and Young halls.  Despite all this growth there was still the need for more dorm space.  Consequently, construction was started on Muse Hall in 1968 behind Founders Hall – and Founders was slated for demolition.

The demolition of Founders Hall.

The demolition of Founders Hall.

As Founders Hall came down, Muse Hall went up. Muse was named for Leonard Muse, who served as Rector of the Board of Visitors, and was built at a cost of $5.5 million.

Muse Hall under construction - and Founders Hall is gone.

Muse Hall under construction - and Founders Hall is gone.

Muse Hall has provided a photographic vantage point for the Radford campus, a trend that started before the building was completed.  The following photos were taken in 1969 from somewhere near the top of Muse:

A wide-angle view from Muse Hall while under construction.

A wide-angle view from Muse Hall while under construction.

The following photo is from same vantage point, but without the wide-angle perspective.  You can see McConnell Library and Reed and Curie Hall to the left.  The President’s House stands between Russell and Whitt, where Heth Hall now stands.

View of the Radford campus and surrounding area from Muse Hall, 1969.

View of the Radford campus and surrounding area from Muse Hall, 1969.

The Grapurchat (the student newspaper before The Tartan) described Muse Hall in January 1969:

The building, which will house 900 students, will have a 16 story center structure and five and three story wings. The center structure will feature a tower, stained glass windows and a 12-ft. clock. The building will contain a coffee shop, 32 kitchens, a glass enclosed penthouse, a formal parlor, 14 dating parlors, 20 recreation and study rooms, ten laundry rooms, 16 dress storage rooms and two trunk rooms. Completion date is 1970.  (January 29, 1969)

Muse Hall, nearly completed. Note the chain fences beside the sidewalk.

In the photo above, students are walking down the sidewalk near the library, with Muse Hall in the background.  Note the chain fence beside the sidewalk.  As reported in the January 29, 1969 issue of Grapurchat, in an article about the construction of the fountain and the sidewalks on campus,  “It is necessary to remind students that it is still not permissible to walk on the grass. The purpose is not to conserve the grass….but to prevent the tracking of mud into the buildings. Warnings are still in process for this infraction.”

A creative way to cross campus without walking on the grass.

A creative way to cross campus without walking on the grass.

Sources: Radford University: Investing In Lifetimes. 2006 (LD4701.R332 R3345 2006); online issues of Grapurchat, and photos from the Radford University Archives.

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