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Tradition and Transformation: 125 Years in 125 Items: Early History

Case 1: Early History

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In 1881 Fr. Cataldo purchased 320 acres to start a school across the river from Spokane Falls. The Original College Building was built to support this endeavor.  On September 17, 1887 Gonzaga College opened with 8 students.  The number would increase to 18 by year’s end.  Gradually, each succeeding year the school’s enrollment grew so that another building was needed.  Construction of the Administration Building, now College Hall started in 1897.  Even after its completion, an addition to the east was added in 1904.  This addition included a chapel, dormitory, and swimming pool called the “Plunge” to support the study body of 244.  By 1912, Gonzaga College’s Silver Jubilee was celebrated with the addition of a law school, and its name changed to Gonzaga University. 

 

Item 1: Student Register Ledger, 1887 – 1905

Item 1: Student Register Ledger, 1887 – 1905

Handwritten ledger listing the names of students

Each listing would give the age, class, date of registration, place of birth, parents’ name, and hometown address.  The faculty names were listed below. For Gonzaga’s first year in 1887, it lists 8 students being registered by the first day of school on September 17 and twenty students admitted overall.  Two brothers left in December.  The students ranged in age from 10 to 17 and were from Spokane Falls, Seattle, San Francisco, and Great Falls, Montana.  All of the students were required to stay on campus and not go home even during holidays.

Item 2: Gonzaga's First Group of Students and Faculty, Spring 1888

Item 2: Gonzaga's First Group of Students and Faculty, Spring 1888
Students and Jesuits posed on the steps of the Original College Building in the spring 1888 

 When Gonzaga opened its doors on September 17, 1887 there were 8 boys attending.  Throughout the academic year, more boarding students were admitted to bring the number to 20 with almost the same amount of Jesuit faculty and staff.

Item 3: Catalogue of Gonzaga College, 1888 - 1889

Item 3: Catalogue of Gonzaga College, 1888 - 1889

This is the second cataloged published by Gonzaga College.  It lists the ten month room/board and tuition at $250.  Students were required to be at least 10 years of age and be able to read and write.  Besides listing the course offering and faculty, the catalog also describes the strict daily routine, what clothing students should bring, and that students will not be permitted to visit Spokane Falls without permission from the school or his parents. 

Item 4: Original College Building, around 1889

Item 4: Original College Building, around 1889

The Original College Building was finished for the 1887 September opening.  This two story brick structure was the largest building in the area, except for the County Courthouse. To save money and time, the bricks were made on site.  The decision to build a large brick structure demonstrated the Jesuit’s confidence in their school and town.  The basement contained the refectory, the boys’ recreation room, and kitchen.  The first floor had 2 parlors, the chapel, the president’s room, 2 classrooms, and an infirmary.  The second floor contained 8 professor rooms, 2 large classrooms, the library, and bathrooms.  The attic with cupola was divided into 2 large dormitories that could house 40 boys.

Item 5: Christopher Columbus Program, October 21, 1892

 Item 5: Christopher Columbus Program, October 21, 1892

A tribute from the Junior and Senior Students for the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Discovery of America Celebration

Item 6: Joseph McKenna’s Medals, 1892 and 1897

part1/2: Item 6: Joseph McKenna’s Medals, 1892 and 1897     part 2/2 Item 6: Joseph McKenna’s Medals, 1892 and 1897

Medals awarded to Joseph McKenna for Latin, 1892 and English Grammar, 1897

Item 7: “King Alfred” Program, April 30, 1895

 Item 7: “King Alfred” Program, April 30, 1895 

Rev. H. Van Rensselaer, S.J. and Rev. W. J. Stanton’s, S.J. “King Alfred” by the Students of the First Academic Class.  Performed in Gonzaga College Hall on Tuesday, April 30th, 1895

Item 8: Cadet Corps behind the Administration Building (now College Hall), 1907

Item 8: Cadet Corps behind the Administration Building (now College Hall), 1907

Reared in the military because his father was a high ranking officer in the French Army, Gonzaga College President George de la Motte, S.J. wanted to start a Cadet program to train the students in 1899.  He asked Captain Gerhard Luhn to head up a Cadet program.  Captain Luhn had been a member of the United States Army for 42 years.  That first year, 80 Cadets in two companies were enrolled.  The War Department supplied the uniforms and guns.  However, some of the Cadets were too small to shoulder the guns, so they were given wooden ones.  Cadets were required to attend drill twice a week while wearing their uniform.  Luhn held this position until he retired in 1905.  The program officially ended in 1909.

Item 9: Cadet Corp Hat worn by Walter Tuchscherer, Class of 1907

 Item 9: Cadet Corp Hat worn by Walter Tuchscherer, Class of 1907

Hat has “G.C” for Gonzaga College

Item 10: The Plunge, Swimming Pool, about 1907

tem 10: The Plunge, Swimming Pool, about 1907 This 20 x 50 pool was considered state of the art because there were showers in the room.  In 1906 there was a typhoid outbreak on campus.  At first, Gonzaga personnel thought the cause was from the water well.  With so many students becoming sick and a couple even died, the Gonzaga president decided to immediately end the year and send everyone home.  It was later determined that the cause of the typhoid outbreak was caused by the swimming pool where the water was too brackish and not being circulated enough.  The pool was closed until the problem was resolved.  It would be used for Gonzaga’s swim meets.

Item 13: Plunge, Swimming Pool, Excavation, 2006

 Item 13: Plunge, Swimming Pool, Excavation, 2006

In summer 2006 workers began to excavate the Plunge area in the basement of the Administration Building (now College Hall).  Workers finished removal of the pool’s marble walls and floor, as well as the rubble.  It was filled in and used for university office space.

Item 11: Cleated Football Shoe, no date

 Item 11: Cleated Football Shoe, no date

Muddied part of a football shoe, found while excavating the Plunge in 2006

Item 12: Shaving Ceramic Cup and Brush, no date

 Item 12: Shaving Ceramic Cup and Brush, no date
Shaving cup and brush found in 2006 while excavating the "Plunge", Gonzaga's first swimming pool located in the basement of the Administration Building, now College Hall

Item 14: Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary Medal, 1912

  Item 14: Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary Medal, 1912

The Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a religious organization begun in March 1890.  Its members sought to practice virtue and piety. 

Donated by Cyril J. Fairhurst, class of 1912.

Exhibition Info

Exhibition is now closed.

 

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