Stockard Hall

1908 - 1988

V.A.C. Stockard built Stockard Hall to be a home for her and a handful of Cottey students.1  Stockard proposed the structure to Cottey's Board of Trustees in March of 1907.2 Cottey College was overflowing with enrollment at this time, so the board approved. Scholarships were sold to pay for the two-story brick house. Construction was finished in February of 1908, and eight young ladies moved in with Stockard the following fall.1 It sat on the corner of Austin and Chestnut streets across from Main Hall.

Stockard Hall, c. 1940
Stockard Hall c. 1940.
Stockard Hall, 1943
Stockard Hall after it was remodeled to house the president and dean of faculty, 1943.9
Stockard Hall, c. 1950
Stockard Hall c. 1950.

When she transferred the college to the P.E.O. Sisterhood in 1927, Stockard stipulated that her house be deeded to the college upon her death.3 She continued to live there until her death in 1940, when the house was converted into two apartments: the southern one for the Cottey president and the northern one for the dean of faculty.4 Dr. Marjorie Mitchell and Dr. Orpha Stockard were the first to live in the renovated building. (Music professor Floella Farley moved in with Stockard as well.5) In 1953 the President's residence was moved to the old Faculty House on West Cherry Street,6 and Stockard Hall was designated for faculty.7

In 1988, the decision was made to demolish the house. Money was tight when it was built, and Stockard was forced to cut corners. The bricks were so cheap that "the outside walls had to be painted to forestall the absorption of moisture."2 The bathroom ceilings were strangely low. The nearby highway traffic made it even less desirable to faculty and their families. President Helen Washburn said at the time, "The decision to demolish the house was not easily or quickly made. All things considered, it (razing) seemed the most practical."2

Stockard Hall resident students, 1927
Pictures of student residents of Stockard Hall and their "Nanny," V.A. Cottey Stockard, 1927.10
Stockard Hall inmates, 1928
"Three Stockard-Hall Inmates", students who lived in Stockard Hall with V.A.C.S., 1927-28.11
Dr. Dow entertains in Stockard House, 1951
President Blanche Dow entertains Cottey's international students in her Stockard Hall apartment, 1951.12

Razing the house was met with consternation from some Nevadans, however. Cheri Petrillo highlighted alternative decisions the college could have made in a letter to the Daily Mail:

    I have just gotten home via Austin Blvd. where I witnessed the destruction of the house Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard built.
   This was one of the most disgusting things I've seen since moving to Nevada. [...]
   It was a beautiful old house, and I'm sure Mrs. Stockard built it with much pride and excitement. To have it demolished as the board did was the height of stupidity and wastefulness.
   Many people could have salvaged much from that old house if it had to be done away with (which it didn't). They could have sold it to someone who loves old houses, and they would have restored it.
  Then the college could have said, "That is the house our founder built," instead of having a park with nothing in it.

The lot remains empty today.

Works Cited:

  1. Troesch, Helen DeRusha. The Life of Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard. Wayside Press, Inc., 1955: 166. Print.
  2. Postlethwaite, Ken. "Cottey College Founder's House Outlived Its Purpose." The Nevada Daily Mail [Nevada, MO] 1 June 1988: 4. Google news. Web.
  3. Troesch, Helen DeRusha. The Life of Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard. Wayside Press, Inc., 1955: 258. Print.
  4. Stockard, Orpha. Cottey College: The First 75 Years. Joplin, MO: Joplin Printing Co., 1961: 85. Print.
  5. Rhodes, Dr. Mary. "Dried Flowers: The History of Women’s Culture at Cottey College, 1884-1965." Diss. Ohio State U, 1981: 135. PDF file.
  6. "President's House." Web.
  7. Stockard, Orpha. Cottey College: The First 75 Years. Joplin, MO: Joplin Printing Co., 1961: 110. Print.
  8. Petrillo, Cheri. "Reader Upset That Cottey Founder's House Was Razed." The Nevada Daily Mail [Nevada, MO] 6 June 1988: 4. Google news. Web.
  9. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1943. Print.
  10. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1927. Print.
  11. Brown, Florence. Personal scrapbook. 1927-28.
  12. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1952. Print.

Last updated on 19 April 2012.

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