The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

REMINDERS OF BYGONE DAYS STILL PRESENT

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Remnants of Mississippi State University’s over 130 years of history are found in places students walk by every day.
The Drill Field has been the center of campus since the foundation of Mississippi A&M in 1878. According to Mitchell Memorial Library online exhibit of historical buildings, the original campus consisted of the Drill Field, where cadets held drill practice, the chemistry building which stood where Carpenter Hall now stands, the administration and chapel building which was replaced by Lee Hall and Old Main dormitory.
Michael Ballard, university archivist, said the first president, Lieutenant General Stephen D. Lee, created a military environment at the school, which emerged after the Civil War as a land grant institution. Students were required to wear uniforms, attend chapel and perform manual labor.
Crossing the Drill Field and running through campus was the Mobile and Ohio railroad line. According to the book “125 years at Mississippi State University,” the Stennis Institute of Government building on engineering row was originally the train station in use until 1969. Anna Catherine English, an admissions counselor, said there are still parts of the railroad tracks left in the Junction. English said male students took the train to Columbus for dates with MUW students when females were banned from MSU. Also according to “125 years at Mississippi State University,” in 1913, after a male and female student were caught talking in the library, all coed communication was forbidden. The male cadets protested and, as punishment, females were not admitted from 1913 to 1930.
 The Drill Field lacked a library until 1950, so many other buildings on campus served as temporary locations. According to the Mitchell Memorial Library online exhibit of historical buildings, the original administration and chapel building first held the library, but Montgomery Hall became the new library soon after it was built in 1902. The library was moved again to Harned Hall, the biology building, in 1921 until Mitchell Memorial library was built.
East of the Drill Field is McCarthy Gym, which was the basketball stadium until the 1970s. The basketball team played a part in the integration of MSU in the 1960s. Ballard said the 1963 basketball team under Coach McCarthy defied a state injunction to play a racially integrated team in the NCAA tournament. MSU lost to Loyola of Chicago, but the act encouraged the admission of the first black student, Richard Holmes, in 1965 with little resistance.
English said the Junction was the original baseball field, as well as the former Malfunction Junction where many roads intersected. In the 1960s, a sign to a one-way street famously read “Don’t Never Ever Enter.” Scott field at Davis Wade Stadium is the second oldest in the nation and the burial site of one of MSU’s most well-known bulldogs. English said Bully is buried on the home side of the 50-yard line. The school bulldogs used to roam campus freely until 1939 when Bully was hit by a bus.
 
Erron Flowers, admissions counselor, said a funeral was held for the mascot that progressed half a mile down what is now Lee Boulevard. The athletic website said the funeral was led by the Famous Maroon Band and three ROTC battalions and was covered by LIFE magazine.
“His funeral was actually larger than Stephen Lee’s funeral,” Flowers said.
Ballard said MSU history spans through many different time periods, but there is a factor which has remained since its foundation.
“People come here and talk about how friendly everybody is, and … I think it goes back to this people’s college where these were just common, run of the mill, rural people. They set the tone, and … I think that atmosphere has not changed. I think if you understand the history of where we came from, you can understand why we are like we are,” Ballard said.
English said she feels a deeper bond with MSU after learning the history of MSU.
“I think anytime that you take the time to learn the traditions of your school and the history behind it, it deepens your attachment to it and makes you feel more connected,” English said.

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REMINDERS OF BYGONE DAYS STILL PRESENT