Archive for Thursday, December 16, 1999


December 16, 1999


The "Stauffer-Flint: Witness to a Century" exhibit at the Spencer Research Library reviews 100 years in one building.

It has housed a power plant, a firing range and a journalism school.

Stauffer-Flint Hall, one of the oldest buildings on the Kansas University campus, has seen 100 years of change. In honor of its anniversary, the University Archives department at the Spencer Research Library is presenting an exhibit about the history of the building -- displaying photos, pamphlets and articles from its century-long life.

"It should be on the historical register, but it's not," said Carolyn Berneking, one of two women responsible for the exhibit and a library volunteer. She and assistant archivist Kathleen Neeley pulled together the exhibit from material in the archives.

"I'm interested in historical preservation," Berneking said, adding that every time a building turns 100 she and her colleagues want to have an exhibit.

The display of Stauffer-Flint's past charts its construction, three different names and its myriad of uses. Today it houses the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication, but years ago it was built for engineering and power.

In 1898, lightning struck the campus boiler house and it burned. The boiler was brought back on line to provide heat, but its shop was not repaired. A Kansas City businessman, George Fowler, instead gave the university $21,000 for the construction of the Fowler Shops. Its walls were built from ashlar stone quarried on Mount Oread; inside were testing laboratories, a lathe, a forge and casting rooms. The building, with a boiler-power plant and a machine shop, was finished in 1899 and dedicated in 1900.

During World War II, Fowler was used as the Military Science and Tactics Building, where Navy machinist mates were trained around the clock for ship repair duty. The shops were moved in 1951, and in 1952, the journalism school moved into the building.

That's when Fowler got a new name -- Flint Hall, to honor long-time journalism professor Leon Flint. In 1982, the building was remodeled and again renamed -- Stauffer-Flint Hall, honoring the Stauffer family and Stauffer Publications.

All this history, as well as the tidbits and stories that go along with it, is laid out in photographs and other items from the university's archives. The celebration of Stauffer-Flint's history won't be the last such exhibit, either. Berneking and Neeley are already planning exhibits for the Bailey Hall centennial in 2000.

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is


What: "Stauffer-Flint: Witness to a Century" exhibit.

When: From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays through early spring.

Where: Spencer Research Library, Kansas University.

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