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Marshall Hall

In 1900, it was determined that a purely academic building was needed on campus. This would house the preparatory department and provide meeting places for the literary societies. Marshall Hall was constructed that summer and dedicated on November 12. Named after James Marshall, Coe’s second and highly controversial president, the building was two stories high and cost almost $6000 to construct. On the day it was dedicated, a plaque was placed on the building with the motto: "Nulla Die Sine Linea," or "Never a Day Without a Line."

The first floor was occupied by the Academy, and the top floor help the meeting rooms for the first four literary societies. The Alpha Nu society met in the northwest room, while the Carleton ladies took the northeast space. The Sinclair group claimed the southwest room, and the Olio men were in the southeast corner of the building. Each group was allowed to decorate their room with their society colors and was furnished by the college.

When the academy closed and literary societies lost their popularity to the sororities and fraternities on campus, Marshall Hall was converted into a music building. The building was not designed for this purpose and this combined with the deterioration of the building was very frustrating for professors and students alike. Alma Turechek, a 1925 Coe graduate and professor of music, remembered the building in a 1991 interview:

When it got cold and rainy or snowy in the winter time, we moved the pianos away from the walls. Sometimes the rain or snowflakes would blow in. We had only one big classroom...with a stage at one end, where the grand piano stood. We had a really tight schedule because we had to fit all the classes in that one room. It was used every hour, day and night. Even the ensembles had to practice in there, including band and orchestra. I recall one funny story about that room. One day I was teaching in that room with all the college's band instruments stacked in one corner by the window because we had no storage space. All of a sudden, I heard the drum going "Boom...boom...boom...boom," at first faintly and then louder and louder. Eventually I figured out that the drum was picking up the vibration of the whistle of the interurban trolley as it rolled down the tracks from Waterloo to the Cedar Rapids station on A Ave and 10th Street.

Although the building was an eyesore, and as the July 1958 Courier put it, "a haven for pigeons," there were many upset by the demolition of the building in the spring of 1958 to make room for Marquis hall, the current music building. Turechek, who was the head of the music department at the time, was one of those individuals.

When all the pianos were completely moved out of Marshall, I did one of the hardest things I ever did in my life. I went to Dr. McCabe and told him, "We are completely out. You may now begin to demolish that building." When the wrecking ball began its blows to the building, I stood on the campus and cried. I still remember them breaking the windows out of my old studio. That building wasn't just an old building, it was generations of students and this was what was being destroyed.

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