Iowa State Band History Album - Page A

Music Hall

Nearly all Iowa State student musicians have known a facility called Music Hall.  As many years passed, at least four different structures have been given that name. Here are four versions of Music Hall.

Old South Hall - the first Music Hall
photo from the Farwell Brown collection

Music Hall - Version One - 1896-1912

Old South Hall stood facing North on what is now Union Drive directly south and east of the where the Campanile now stands.  It was contracted to be built in 1868 as the first of three "professors' houses", and became the home of the first president of the college when it was occupied by Adonijah Welch and his family in 1869.  After the Welches moved into The Gables in 1879, South Hall was used by the departments of Botany and Veterinary Medicine.  In 1880, it was used by Domestic Economy and then after 1896 Old South Hall was known as Music Hall (the first Music Hall) until it burned in 1912.
click image for larger view
photo from the Ames Historical Society collection - click image for a wider view

Music Hall - Version Two - 1912-1927

This was the Sanitary Building on the ISC campus.  It faced North on a rise about where the northwest corner of the Memorial Union later would stand. Originally built as a college hospital facility in 1884-1885 (remodeled in 1900), it held hospital rooms on the second floor.  The first floor housed offices for the Veterinary College.  In 1907, the hospital facilities were moved to the Boarding Cottage-West.  In 1912, when South Hall burned, this building was converted into quarters for the Music Department and was known as Music Hall (the second Music Hall) until it was torn down in 1927 for the construction of the Memorial Union.  The Edwards Coal Company building on Lincoln Way (first called Boone Street) is visible in the background.

photo by Fred Cerwick, 1972

Music Hall - Version Three - 1928-1978

The second "professors' home" built on campus (1863) was first occupied by mathematics Professor George W. Jones.  Edgar W. Stanton lived with Jones's family when they lived in the house, and from 1879 to Stanton's death in 1920, the home was known as the Stanton House.  In 1899, The house was remodeled and enlarged. After her husband's death, Mrs. Stanton continued to live in the house, and when she started a tea room in 1922, the home became known as The Maples.  The music department moved into the house in 1928, and the house became known as Music Hall (the third Music Hall). This house (the back side overlooked Lake LaVerne) became the department headquarters until the house was torn down in 1978 for the new music building (also named Music Hall) that was constructed on the same site.  Many of the music faculty had their offices here. When the department first offered a music degree in 1967, it was known that the next proposed construction on campus would be a new music building, today's Music Hall (the fourth Music Hall).  At that time the music department was spread across much of campus, with the band staff in Exhibition Hall, orchestra and choruses in Morrill Hall, and some music education staff in Pope Cottage (just East of Buchanan Hall, graduate student housing).  However, since the Iowa legislature was in charge of funding, and with money in short supply, the new music building project was really many years away (1980).
This rare 1885 view of campus (facing Southwest) was taken from the area just west of where the Knoll today stands.  Visible from left are the Sanitary Building, Old Main, Morrill Hall, and South Hall.  The bridge spans College Creek.

photo from the Farwell Brown collection

This 1925 photo of the proposed site of the Memorial Union shows the second Music Hall (soon to be razed, and formerly called the Sanitary Building) directly above the word Memorial.  It also shows (directly to the left) the building which would become the third Music Hall.  That special location close to the Campanile and Lake LaVerne, would also be the site of the present Music Building.

Music Hall - Version Four - 1980

The fourth Music Hall had been dreamed of and had been promised and talked about since the late 1960s, when the Music Department could first offer a Music Degree (a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Music).  However, available funding delayed the building for over twelve years.  This fine facility replaced the third Music Hall which was removed before this facility was constructed in the same location.  This fourth Music Hall first opened in 1980 and has been used ever since.  Besides being more up-to-date, this building is much larger, providing offices for the entire Music Department, rehearsal halls for all ensembles, rooms for nearly all classes,  liberal practice rooms, and an impressive auditorium.

next page - Page B

back to photo album index



If you wish to suggest corrections or additions, e-mail alan (at) spohnheimer.com