Traveling through south Marion, Indiana on Washington Street, one once would have seen a large, stately old building named Teter Hall. Designed by architect B .L. French in 1889 and constructed in 1900, Teter Hall was the third building to be added to the campus of Marion Normal College (“Teter Hall Meets Melancholy End” Al). The utilitarian building was a rather dominating presence in South Marion, matched only by the Administration Building built in 1894 (Elder 16). When the building was completed, it was the pinnacle of college buildings, as was stated by the 1899-1900 college catalogue regarding the 1900-1901 school year:
The building is 155 feet long, 55 feet wide and three stories high above the basement. The architecture is ancient in style, and adapted to modem needs. It is built of brick, with stone basement and trimmings, has splendid proportions and is stately, symmetrical and pleasing to the eye. The interior is a model of neatness and completeness, and as comfortable, cheerful and convenient as a skillful architect could design it. There is positively no extra charge to students for these unexcelled comforts and conveniences. Parents who place their daughters in school here may rest assured that everything possible has been done to make them comfortable, and every precaution taken to protect them from temptation and encourage them to make the best possible use of time and opportunity (qtd. in Elder 26-27).
Teter Hall got its name from a prominent figure in the Wesleyan Church, Eber Teter. Eber Teter was the president of the Indiana Conference, and as a member of a committee, they presented a plan to the General Conference that stated that a Wesleyan college was needed. Because of his contribution, Marion College was eventually purchased, and Teter Hall was officially named after him on October 16, 1925 (Elder 62, 101).
Teter Hall Through the Years
The history of Teter Hall was a colorful one, because Teter Hall was by far the most used building to grace the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University.
Marion Normal College
Originally used as the Conservatory of Music and Business College building during the days of Marion Normal College, it soon housed the women’s dorm, cafeteria, library, music conservatory, gymnasium, and president’s apartment (“Teter Hall Meets Melancholy End” Al). In 1903, the first floor was the home of the music department and library, women lived on the second floor, and the business department was on the third. Starting in 1919, the third floor was converted into the gymnasium, but in 1925, the desperate students built a gym for themselves away from the building. Until 1968 when Bowman Hall was completed, Teter Hall remained a women’s dorm, but afterwards, was taken over completely by the fine arts departments. 1948 saw the removal of the library from the first floor of Teter Hall, when it was put in the newly completed Ayers Library, across the street. In 1969, the cafeteria was also taken out of the building, and was continued in the new Baldwin Center. The arts however, remained in Teter Hall until the Lee and Edna Thorall Beard Arts Center was completed in 1992, and at that time, all of the art was moved into the new building (Elder 100, 452). The music was finally moved out of Teter in 1996 not long before the destruction of the building itself and was resituated in the Phillippe Performing Arts Center. After the music moved out, Teter Hall stood unoccupied for nearly a year before its destruction in 1997.
Indiana Wesleyan University did not start out at the corner of Thirty-eighth street and Washington, nor did it start out as Indiana Wesleyan University. It originally started in 1887 as Indiana Normal School at Fourth Street and Branson (“In The Beginning”). Started by Thomas Diggs Tharp, the school was known as “Tharp Block”, and was a large building. In 1889, the school was moved to the current location, and was re-named Marion Normal College and Business University, after Professor A. Jones and Dr. T.W. Johnson took charge. In 1894, the Administration Building was built, and then in 1900, Teter Hall was opened. With that, a new chapter for the college had begun.
It stayed open and thrived until 1912, when Muncie bought the college, and operations moved there, and that, along with other colleges merged, formed Ball State University. Not long after the sale however, local supporters of the college came together and formed a stock company, and then purchased back the college. Re-naming it Marion Normal Institute, it came back as a college and high school under the direction of A. Jones (“In The Beginning...”).
World War I
Unfortunately, World War I brought the closing of the school once again, because of money problems. After the war ended, the Wesleyan-Methodist church looked into buying the then vacant campus, and in 1920, was re-opened as Marion College. Before the purchase of the campus, the Wesleyan-Methodist church had been conducting a college at Fairmount College, and they wanted a larger school to represent their denomination. The purchase and re-opening of Marion College by the Wesleyan-Methodist church not only secured the campus’ future as a Wesleyan affiliated university, but it was also met with enthusiasm by the community (“New College Is Sure To Mean”).
The Great Depression
The Energy Crisis
There were no more major financial problems at Marion College until the energy crisis in 1974. According to an article called “Marion College Gains From Energy Crisis” found in the Chronicle Tribune, even with the energy crisis the college was very lucky, because local students of other colleges transferred to the college because of gas prices and the cost of commuting to their colleges. Because of this, Marion College changed their curriculum to accommodate the new students. The college was able to weather the crisis because of increased attendance, and also because they made cutbacks on power usage to the minimum requirements (Section 2 p.14).
Name Change: Indiana Wesleyan University
Life in Teter Hall
A phone interview of Helen Tippey, a former resident of Teter Hall and graduate of Marion College, revealed that Teter Hall was a very comfortable place to live. There would be anywhere from two to four girls living in one room, but the rooms were large, with high ceilings. There was one bathroom at the end of the hallway, and all the girls shared one bathtub and a few toilets. The girls in Teter Hall were close, and many friendships were formed because of their closeness in living spaces.
There was a laundry room in the basement, along with the cafeteria, where all the students would eat. Unlike eating at the food commons of Indiana Wesleyan University today, they would sit six to eight at a table, and were waited upon. Everyone came to meals at the same time, because meals were only served at a certain time.
The porches outside the building and the practice rooms in the music halls were popular places to go with a date. When a boy would come to Teter Hall to go on a date with a resident, they would ring for them. Each girl living in the dorm had a specific ring; they would answer to it, and meet the boy in the downstairs section. “It was overall,” said Tippey, “a nice place to live.” (Tippey, phone interview)
Teter Hall, a proud part of the campus located at Thirty-eighth and Washington Street has played an important role in the history of Indiana Wesleyan University. As one of the first buildings built for the college, it had a rich history, full of different types of people passing through. Even though sadly, it is no longer standing, Teter Hall can be assured to live on in the memories of everyone who had ever laid eyes on the majestic pride of south Marion.
- Elder, Marjorie J. The Lord. The Landmarks. The Life. Plymouth: IP Graphics, 1994. Hamilton, *Jennifer. “Teter Hall Meets Melancholy End.” Chronicle Tribune 13 June 1997: A1+.
- “Historic Teter Hall to be Razed.” Chronicle Tribune 11 June 1997.
- “In The Beginning...” Colleges and Universities file at Marion Public Library.
- “Marion College Gains From Energy Crisis.” Chronicle Tribune 3 March 1974: Section 2. p. 14 *“Marion’s College.” Colleges and Universities file at Marion Public Library.
- “New College Is Sure To Mean Great Deal To South Marion.” Marion Leader-Tribune 12 July 1919.
- Tippey, Helen. Phone Interview. 15 Dec. 2001.
- Widmoyer, Gail. “Arizona Group To Finance College’s Name Change.” Chronicle Tribune 24 Feb. 1988: A-1.
Sara Tippey submitted this paper on January 8, 2002 for Mr. Munn's AP U.S. History class and Mr. Lakes' AP English 11 class.