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September 15, 1958 - Image 8

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Death of a Building,
Birth of a Cement Patio
After Long Years of Service to the University
The Romance Languages Building Was Razed
By Tisosniss Ilaydoee
ONCE upon a very long time ago, short, round little Army major who
a young, ambitious university happened to be the only professor
in the Midwest found itself with a of architecture the university could
serious problem-of space. afford, was selected to design the
The professors, being cluttered new building. After many, many
by nature, saved all the stones and nights of work, he set his blue-
bones they especially liked and un- prints before the Board of Peers,
ceremoniously stacked them in who promptly approved.
their classroom cabinets. Having
very few students, the university THE MUSEUM was to be con-
had very few classrooms, and the structed in French Renaissance
classrooms had very few cabinets. style, four stories high, of red
So the cabinets got filled with bricks trimmed with stone. Its
stones and bones. most remarkable feature was to
be the distinguished tower. Its
Sensing a need for more cabi- ediface was decorated with the
nets, a virile, young science teach- grotesque images of battling mon-
er one day proposed a solution to sters, symbolic of the bones with-
the problem of the filled cabinets. in.
"What we need," he said, "is a When thebuuding was finished
great big building where we can at last, altepoesr apl
put our stones and bones." scurried around its insides, look-
Everyone agreed, "Huzzah," they ing at all the empty space where
shouted, they could stack their stones and
And so construction started. A bones.
"Huzzah," they shouted again.
Thomas Hayden, a member However, as years passed, the
of The Daily editorial staff, university expanded. The museum,
came under old RLB's spell aging rapidly, was no longer con-
the first day he went inside for sidered such a massive, wonderful
resmalan uagecorse.e rstructure. The original roof was
a freshman language course, found too heavy and was replaced
by a cumbersome, makeshift affair.

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Page Eight

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coming

"Ugly, Ugly Everywhere, and Not a Blade of Grass"
g a basement, the museum plain about the danger of a fire, 'old barn and a hole and a pile of
1 floor began to sink and had about the gnarled stairways, about erect rubble.
trengthened. the inescapable drafts. "What a pile," sai one pro-
the stacks of stones and A few nostalgics remained. They T hss r.
kept piling up. Soon the Then, while the old museum
sity was lacking space again. looked at the scarred edifice, at celebrated its 78th birthday, the
oard of Peers ordered con- the monsters in their never-ending Board of Peers made a startling
on of a big, new museum. battle, at the gate of heaven announcement-all the babbling
placed at the pinnacle of the language teachers were to move
STONES and bones were tower, and they shouted "Huzzah" out of the structure for it was to
wed out of the tired, old for the old building. But not quite be razed,
.m and replaced by an in- as loudly.
group of language teach- More and more people began to "HUZZAH"yelled some, and very
fifty-year-old silence was think the museum an eyesore loudly indeed, "Buzah, huz-
red by the babbling herd. "Y-e-e-e-ch, what an eyesore," zah, huzzah."
each year, the old museum they hooted. Others questioned the decision.
ed a bit more. A coat of grey Even some of the professors be- "It's rstinuisetheytoasked
was hastily slapped on its gan to dislike the museum. They down."
walls. People began to cam- called it a firetrap and a freezing, "Bah," the Board of Peers re-
torted. "The whole mess is coming
down."
orth cheering about! And soitdid. Rattling red dump-
trucks came and steam shovels
came and men came and fences
went up all around. And the rat-
tling red dumptrucks carried the
old museum away.
' -The people who felt bad began
\ ( to console themselves.
"Well, at least we'll have a
place to plant some decent grass
on campus," they said. The uni-
versity had certainly grown. There
were buildings with huge pillars,
and buildings with red bricks and
even one building which had blue
and yellow windows.
A green, fresh open space with
no buildings at all was needed.
THE VACANT PLOT where the
Students and faculty membero who need extra (ah old museum had been was
for any good reason, have found they can borrow silent, expectant.
with confidence from HFC. At Household, loans are Then one day the rattling red
made promptly, in privacy, with repayment terms dumptrucks came back and with
oselect. So if a them came men and shovels and
youn MONTHLY PAYMENT PLANS trowels and ... cement. The men
to your m oneyr Cos ti OY20 1 iknelt dawn and began to lay out
problems, phone or $ 50 5.03 9.24 "We have decided to build a
visit HFC. 500 5.83 6.65 9.98 18.39 patio," the Board of Peers an-
200 11.46 13.11 19.77 36.59 nounced. "We are moving for-
300 17.08 19.55 29.55 54.78 ward."
Modern money 500 27.24 31.39 48.09 90.02 And so today at the big univer-
serpie beked by , r, .,,.u s. ,..Mn r.k o3% a. sity one can see a flat, white slab
80 years' experience poa (a'S ba, ,,, ,,$3 of cement. Most of the students
onA aofa ou . . w..s 0of50. bu
,wt...a d{ e$050, ... ah S ao ,y idw. will soon think it has always been
there. No one will tell them about
SF Nthe old museum, or the plans for
ULD! N A!O a freah, grassy expanse.
Except perhaps for an old-timer
who will look and ask, puzzled,
"What happened to the old pile of
Main & Washington Sts.Kresge Bldg., 2nd Floor erect rubble?"
Phone: NOrnumdy 2-4441 Or the aesthete who will cry,
"Ugly, ugly everywhere, and not
Lx.ne weid to.auen #1 semo"'OY' a blade of grass!

f

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY MAGAZINE

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