Thursday, September 29, 2016
Past, Present and Future: Button Auditorium
As we continue to prepare for all of the new amenities that Morehead State University is going to offer, we can’t forget about all that it has offered for years prior. This campus is one that holds true beauty and history in its landscape with historic buildings and geography. It makes Morehead State truly one of a kind.
When considering historic buildings on campus, no one can overlook Button Auditorium. For almost everyone at MSU, it was one of the first buildings you were introduced to at Morehead with summer orientation. It is still used commonly for guest speakers and organizational events and shows.
Built in 1928, renovated in 1968 and upgraded in 2005 with new seating, this three-story facility contains classrooms and offices and a 1,200-seat auditorium. It was the site of the University’s first gymnasium which was transformed into classroom and laboratory facilities for Army ROTC. The facility includes an indoor range which is used by the Eagle rifle team
It was named in honor of Frank C. Button, first president of the University, who served from 1922 to 1929. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Dr. Frank C. Button, with his widowed mother, Phebe Phelps Button, founded Morehead Normal School in October 1887, on behalf of the United Christian Missionary Society of St. Louis. Their goal of training teachers was aimed at improving the economic and civil stability of the region, after the Tolliver-Martin Feud.
In 1922, the Kentucky General Assembly established Morehead State Normal School, in effect closing the privately run school and bringing it under state control. Prior to this action, Frank had served as the Supervisor of Rural Schools for the Kentucky State Department of Education. His service in that capacity apparently influenced the school's transformation into a public institution. Frank continued his service at the school as the first president of Morehead State Normal School from 1922 to 1929. The school was raised to university status in 1966. Our founder received honor having the historical building named in his memory.
Unlike the newer buildings on campus, students and faculty dating all the way back to the 1920s have been impacted by this structure.
“It’s one of the oldest buildings on campus; however, it being old is what makes it great,” said Brandon Breyer, a member of the MSU rifle team. “It has always been my home for MSU Rifle. It is also cool that it has practically become the trademark building on campus because it is where freshman students go for SOAR. While it is old, it is historical and holds immense value to the rifle team and all students of MSU. It truly makes you appreciate the history every time you walk inside.”