Monday, January 27, 2014

Dining at the Home Economics Cafeteria

From 1929 through 1982, the institution now known as UNCG hosted a unique and popular campus resource that served not only as a teaching laboratory but as a meeting and dining space for people across the University. The Home Economics Cafeteria allowed students in the School of Home Economics an opportunity to learn about "the scientific and artistic principles of cookery as they apply to quantity food production and service in a real situation."

Home Economics Cafeteria, 1951
Located in Home Economics (now Stone) Building, the cafeteria focused on providing lunch, initially only three days a week and then on all five weekdays. Beginning in 1973, the cafeteria also offered a 45-minute "coffee break" from 9:30-10:15 "to help brighten your morning." Students worked with a number of full-time employees to ensure that a variety of healthy meals were prepared in sanitary conditions.

Menus from the cafeteria demonstrate the wide range of foods prepared by the students and staff. Students in 1941 served a variety of soups as part of their work to assist in the revision of Army and Navy cookbooks. Often, the student cafeteria managers would select themes for the week's menu, and plan accordingly by researching and selecting appropriate recipes and soliciting comments for future planning.

The week of September 16-20, 1974, was deemed "International Week" in the Home Economics Cafeteria. Each day of the week featured food from a different culture. Monday was "German Day," and included red cabbage, sauerbraten, and reuben sandwiches. Tuesday was a celebration of Jewish New Year, and included potato soup, lox, and bagels. Italian cuisine was featured on Wednesday with lasagne, minestrone stoup, and garlic bread. "French Day" was Thursday, and included French onion soup, beef bourguignon, and broccoli almandine. And, finally, on Friday, the cafeteria returned to "American Day," with fried chicken, cornbread, and, of course, "Mom's apple pie."

Stone (previously Home Economics) Building
The cafeteria proved a success as a meeting place for University faculty members. Charles Adams, the head librarian at UNCG, noted that the cafeteria's "very friendly and open atmosphere makes it a good place to visit with colleagues." Augustine La Rochelle, a professor of Romance languages, declared "it's the best food in the city!"

In spite of its success, the cafeteria ceased operations on Wednesday, December 8, 1982, due to the increasing costs of operation. Much equipment was obsolete or in need of major repair, and administrators felt the cafeteria "no longer provided an up-to-date, relevant educational experience." Dr. Jacqueline Voss, dean of the School of Home Economics, stated that "we all recognize the significant role the cafeteria has played on campus. It has provided over the years a place where faculty and staff members from across the campus and from different disciplines could gather and talk and get to know one another. However, given the current restraints under which we are currently operating, it is no longer feasible for us to maintain the operation of the cafeteria."

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Brick Dormitory Fire of 1904

The State Normal and Industrial College (now UNCG) faced a number of challenges in its infancy. An 1899-1900 typhoid fever outbreak killed 13 students and one staff member. Then, in the early hours of January 20, 1904, a massive fire consumed Brick Dormitory, one of the original campus buildings and the largest dormitory on campus.

Student body at Brick Dormitory, 1896
Brick Dormitory, designed by Epps & Hackett of Greensboro, North Carolina, opened in 1892. Also known as the "matron’s hall" or the "living building," the three-story structure was built in a number of stages. By 1895 a kitchen, infirmary room, and dining hall that held 150 students had been added. A final wing, including more dormitory rooms and larger dining and kitchen facilities, was added at the rear of the building by late 1903.

Around 3:45 am on that cold winter night, Eugene Osborne, the campus night watchman, discovered a fire and began evacuating  residents. Faculty resident Minnie Jamison and students quickly alerted all of the 300+ residents. One student resident, Josephine Scott, ran outside in her nightgown to ring the college bell and sound the alarm until everyone was safely out of the building. Thanks to these alerts as well as previous fire drills, no lives were lost and no one was seriously injured in the evacuation. The dormitory building, however, was completely consumed, along with a nearby power plant and laundry building.

Campus in 1897.
Main Building (now Foust) on left; Brick Dormitory on right
The residents of Brick Dormitory, while safe, lost almost all of their possessions. As Emma McKinney recounted, the residents were awakened with shouts of "Fire! ... Don't take time to get anything. Hurry." She and her roommate, like most others, grabbed their robes and bedrooms slippers and rushed out of the building as quickly as possible.

Luckily, other students, faculty, townspeople, and residents from around the state were willing to assist the displaced students with offers of money, clothing, and spare rooms. McKinney recounted "the nice breakfast the different hotels sent out to the College" due to the fact that the kitchen was destroyed. Eventually a temporary shed was set up on the campus tennis courts (near the current Mary Foust Dormitory) to serve as a kitchen and dining hall. The Students' Building, which was in use but not yet completed, was used as an emergency dormitory space, with sheets hung to form impromptu rooms.
Brick Dormitory remains, 1904

President McIver, who was returning to campus from a trip to New York at the time of the fire, called a student assembly the following morning. There he had the students join in singing the hymn "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow." He also expressed his sympathies for those who lost their possessions, along with his gratitude that no lives were lost. According to McKinney, "his talk was one never to be forgotten."

The total loss due to the fire was evaluated at $64,458, and classes were suspended for three weeks. Within three days of the fire, however, the state legislature promised $80,000 for the construction of a new dormitory and McIver and the faculty began planning its features. The result of this was a two-story, very long building (492 feet) divided into fireproof sections. The new building would also house a dining hall. Construction began in April 1904 along College Avenue, and, in October, the dormitory -- named for Cornelia Phillips Spencer -- was completed.




Monday, January 13, 2014

All Along the Clocktower

University Clocktower in the snow, 1995
Standing near the southwest end of the University Dining Hall, near the Jackson Library Tower, is UNCG's University Clocktower. The Clocktower was a gift to the University by members of the Class of 1941 as part of their 50th class reunion. The Class raised approximately $45,000 to support the construction of the Clocktower in 1991.

 On October 4, 1991, as part of the University's Centennial Celebration of the 100th anniversary of its founding, UNCG held a groundbreaking ceremony, featuring leaders from the Class of 1941 reunion committee along with Ann H. Gaither (Chair of the Board of Trustees), Dr. Richard Moore (Vice Chancellor for Development and University Relations) and Chancellor William E. Moran.

An aerial view of the Clocktower, from the Jackson Library Tower
Alumna Charlotte Abbate of Durham (Class of 1982) was selected as the project's designer and architect. Commenting on the Clocktower's design, Abbate said, "While clocktowers are found on other college and university campuses, the design of this one is very much unique to UNCG. Our objective was to design the clocktower using materials and images that relate to the surrounding architecture at the University." To accomplish this, Abbate used four large concrete columns inspired by columns found at the entrance to the Dining Hall. Additionally, the tubular steel design in the clocktower drew from similar steel tubing used in the Dining Hall and Spencer Residence Hall.

Wonder if they graduated on time?
A year and a half after the groundbreaking ceremony, the University Clocktower was completed and officially dedicated on Saturday, May 15 in a 2pm ceremony held as part of UNCG's commencement weekend as well as the 100th anniversary of the founding of the UNCG Alumni Association. Four members of the Class of 1941 participated in the ceremony. Anne Braswell Rowe of Wilmington, Helen Fondren Lingle of Osprey, Fla., Mildred Younts of Greensboro, and Elizabeth Booker of Greensboro represented their classmates in officially presenting the gift of the 17-feet-high Clocktower to the University.

Twenty years after its dedication, the Clocktower continues to serve as a campus focal point. While a plaque noting the Clocktower as a gift from the Class of 1941 lies directly underneath the structure, many students never see or read it. Campus tradition holds that walking under the Clocktower means that you won't graduate on time. Some students even take the extra steps to avoid the bricks expanding from underneath the Clocktower altogether.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Music on Demand, Part 2: Music and the Early Curriculum, 1892-1910

Clarence R. Brown
While the founders of the State Normal and Industrial School agreed that some music education was critical to a woman’s education, the first fifteen years of the School’s history were spent puzzling over why and how to fit music into the curriculum rather than developing a music curriculum. As the School was founded with the mission of producing teachers and educated mothers to assist in the recovery of the post war South, classes needed to support the three concentrations of study: Normal, Industrial, and Commercial. Consequently, what would become the early Music Department (beginning 1907-08) was built from two separate music departments, the Department of Vocal Culture and the Department of Instrumental Music. These two programs operated parallel to each other, formed by differing needs and influences.    

Announcement of the creation of the Instrumental Music Studio
When the Prospectus for the State Normal and Industrial School was published in 1892, the “music program” was part of the Department of Vocal Culture, listing Bessie Worthington as the instructor. By the time the first class of students arrived on campus, the instructor position for the department had been transferred to Clarence Richard Brown, a music teacher from Winston, North Carolina. Brown, with Lina McDonald as his assistant, constituted the first music faculty on campus. However, Vocal Music was only one part of the Department of Vocal Culture, which also included Reading and Elocution. Vocal music comprised the entirety of the music curriculum until 1899. The Department of Vocal Culture was categorized as a Special Department, meaning that requirements for the courses would be specific to certain concentrations of study.

Laura L. Brockmann
In the Third Annual Catalog , courses in music were most emphasized in the Normal (listed as “regular” in the catalog) and Commercial curricula. Classes in Vocal Music were required for freshman and sophomores, but transitioned to Elocution for juniors. None of the three concentrations of study required classes in Vocal Culture by the senior year. Examinations for these classes were divided into theory and practice by 1897, and particularly talented freshmen could transfer to or place out of required classes after a three month review.
The rationale for requiring classes in vocal music for all students derived from the leadership roles available to women at that time. Singing and teaching others to sing served as a necessary skill set for women in secular and religious organizations. By the 1894-95 school year, when Vocal Music was listed in the course catalog as an official department, the mission of the department was:

Charles J. Brockmann
“To give each student, regardless of any special talent for music, an opportunity to become a fairly good singer, to have sufficient knowledge in the rudiments of music to enable her to read at sight all ordinary music, and to be able to teach the first principles of singing and sight-reading to the pupils of her school.” 

Predictably, the first music classes at the State Normal and Industrial School aimed at music education, reflecting the overall mission of the School—to produce competent educators. Because of the narrowness of the pedagogical focus on music and the democratic view that all students “regardless of any special talent for music” should be taught, demand was made for more extensive and exclusive training by the more musically inclined students.

In 1899, Dr. McIver and the Board of Directors approved the creation of the Special Department of Instrumental Music, under the leadership of Charles J. Brockmann and Laura Brockmann. Although classes in this department were open to any student, an extra $40.00 in fees had to be paid for lessons in this program. The Brockmanns had been operating a private music school on West Market Street, providing instruction for piano and stringed instruments, their students commonly serving as the orchestra for School functions.

Although the Brockmanns offered training in a variety of instruments, only piano and violin counted in terms of grading (with the exception of a rouge mandolin performer mentioned in the 1903 course grades). The course of study was more rigorous than that of Vocal Music, two years work in harmony, one year in music history (taught by Clarence R. Brown), and one or more years in ensemble performance. Entrance requirements for the “Music Course,” a course designed for skilled musicians, demanded that the student demonstrate “sufficient training to play the simple forms of scales in all keys correctly, and to read music in the easier grades readily at sight.” By the 1900-01, the School Orchestra was formed and in the 1902 semester, nearly fifty students had enrolled to take classes in instrumental music.    
The 1913 Orchestra pictured above was far more dynamic than the Infant Orchestra,though Brockmann mentions that "the violin family... is sufficiently large..., but they seem a little timid about the wind instruments as yet."

Although Vocal Music and Instrumental Music were separate departments as of 1902, the School had implemented a more robust music curriculum overall.  In this year, the first diploma in music was offered, specifically for vocal music, pianoforte, and violin. This diploma was not an actual degree in music, serving more as a certification designating a course of study with a music concentration.   The first student to earn this diploma was May Lovelace, who taught music at the Graded School in Wilson after graduation. The first senior essay devoted to music, “Influence of Music,” was written in 1902 by Ella Louise Mallison.

The 1907-08 school year was pivotal for the music program, as the program experienced substantial changes in terms of staffing and structure. After Clarence R. Brown’s death in 1907, Hermann H. Hoexter served as head of Vocal Music. Additionally, Albert S. Hill was hired as Director of Music, combining the Departments of Vocal Music and Instrumental Music into a single unit. With the unification of the music program, the first course of study leading to a Bachelor of Music was offered. The Department of Music continued to grow, in terms of faculty and courses offered, but would experience a massive transformation under the leadership of Wade R. Brown in 1912. 

This is part two of a series of posts chronicling the history of music program at UNCG. Part 1 on the funding of the music program can be found here.