UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
When the legislature appropriated $124,000 in 1913 to build an additional building at the River Falls Normal School, there was joy on campus and in the community. This strengthened the belief that the Normal School in River Falls was here to stay, since the enrollment had grown making the classrooms crowded. At the cornerstone laying, June 12, 1914, a metal box containing photographs and greetings from former presidents and faculty was placed in the cornerstone. There were speeches giving credit for this achievement to President Crabtree and Regent F. W. Ramer, capped with musical presentations by the glee club and orchestra.
When the appropriation had passed the legislature in the fall of 1913, President Crabtree “prowled the west part of the old campus” — the present mall between Hagestad Hall and South Hall — trying to select a site for the new building, “but it was decided that a block across from Cascade Avenue would be purchased ... the structure would face an open space to the west and was backed up by an alley [which is now Spring Street].”
Being north of the original Normal School site, the building became known as “North Hall” and the rebuilt old Normal, of course, became South Hall.
Credit for the addition to North Hall was given to Senator Walter Hunt (who was also a faculty member) and Regent F. W. Ramer who had the “political savvy” sufficient to influence the governor and legislature to provide the funds for the new building.
The “Training School” wing that was added in 1927 completed the complex and that was observed with a great celebration on May 17, 1928. Having just been authorized to offer a four-year course for teachers and with a name change to “State Teachers College” North Hall symbolized its new role in Wisconsin as a degree-granting institution. A former teacher in the Normal for 10 years wrote on this occasion, “Long may it prove a Beacon Light for Mariners/on the Seas of Thought.”
On April 13, 1999, during the 125th Anniversary celebration of the university, the copper box that had been sealed in the cornerstone of North Hall was extracted and opened. It contained old school records, local newspapers, letters and more. A 125th Anniversary Capsule was then prepared and buried in 2000 near the north entrance to South Hall, to be opened in 2100.