Justin Morrill Hall
In 1870, what was then called State Agricultural College admitted its first 10 women, offering them the same physically and academically demanding courses offered to men.
The Women's Building was completed on this site in 1900. Wood framed and faced with Lake Superior red sandstone, the neoclassical structure provided living quarters for 120 women, including staff. It featured a two-story gymnasium, a dining room, cooking and sewing laboratories, a woodworking shop, and music rooms.
The building supported a women's course of study, which was established in 1896. While retaining many of the classical and scientific elements of the standard curriculum, the "domestic economy" course replaced the agricultural focus with courses in both the domestic arts, such as cooking, sewing, and music, and the domestic sciences, including nutrition, sanitation, first aid and physiology.
Over time, the number of women on campus approached that of men and, combined with the expansion of women's courses, diminished the building's unique purpose. When a new women's dormitory opened in 1937, the Women's Building was renovated to classroom, office, and laboratory space. Its name was changed to Justin Morrill Hall to honor the sponsor
of the federal act of 1862 that established the nation's land-grant college system.
The building would house a wide variety of academic departments in the ensuing years, providing students and faculty with fond memories of high ceilings, broad halls, handsome woodwork, and a home for their intellectual lives at Michigan State University.
Structural deterioration finally rendered the building unsuitable for occupation, and rehabilitation was determined to be prohibitively expensive. It was razed in 2013, and this marker commemorates its many years of service to the pioneers and scholars who lived and pursued knowledge under its roof.