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Note: All images are thumbnails to larger photographs. Click on the thumbnails to see the pictures in greater detail.

Sketch of Proposed Memorial Tower
Sketch of Proposed Memorial Tower
(University Archives, C:0/29/1)

Memorial Tower, 06/15/1925
Memorial Tower, 06/15/1925
(University Archives, C:0/47/12)

Memorial Tower, 01/14/1926
Memorial Tower, 01/14/1926
(University Archives, C:0/47/12)

Tower Under Construction Seen From Dome of Jesse Hall
Tower Under Construction Seen From Dome of Jesse Hall
(University Archives, C:0/47/2, Box 1, FF 11)

Memorial Tower, 07/10/1926
Memorial Tower, 07/10/1926
(University Archives, C:0/47/12)

Certificate of Membership in the Union
Certificate of Membership in the Union
(University Archives, C:22/8/1)

Invitation to Memorial Tower Dedication
Invitation to Memorial Tower Dedication
(University Archives, C:0/46/3)

Memorial Tower Dedication
Memorial Tower Dedication
(University Archives, C:1/141/6)

Memorial Tower Dedication Commemorative Letter Opener, 1926
Memorial Tower Dedication Commemorative Letter Opener, 1926
(University Archives, C:22/8/18)

"Meet Me At The Union!"

Images of the University of Missouri Memorial Union

Proposed Missouri Union Building
Proposed Missouri Union Building
(University Archives, C:0/46/3)

Architect's Sketch of Memorial Union Tower
Architect's Sketch of Memorial Union Tower
(University Archives, C:0/29/1)

The Proposed Memorial Union

In 1916, during the planning for the new Missouri Union, this preliminary architectural sketch was obtained. Plans for the new Union were delayed by the entry of the United States into World War I. In 1921 the fund raising campaign began for a "Memorial Union" and "Memorial Stadium" to honor the Missouri alumni who had lost their lives in the war.

Students were encouraged to pledge $100 and alumni urged to pledge at least $200. Those who made a $100 donation received a certificate, a lifetime membership in the Union, and guaranteed seating for all home football games. The official groundbreaking was in November 1921 after pledges for more than $238,000 had been received. These "subscriptions" were to be payable over a two-year period; post-dated checks were accepted.

Groundbreaking Ceremony, 11/1921
Groundbreaking Ceremony, 11/1921
(University Archives, C:0/47/12)

Groundbreaking Ceremony, 11/1921
Groundbreaking Ceremony, 11/1921
(University Archives, C:0/47/12)

Plans for the Wings of the Memorial Union
Plans for the Wings of the Memorial Union
(University Archives, C:0/46/3)

The two wings of the proposed Union (one reserved for the women, the other for the men) were to cost $200,000 each. These floor plans were drawn up in 1922 and included guest rooms on the second floor for visiting alumni or out-of-town guests, but no plans for food service facilities. The Simon Construction Company began work on the tower in January 1923. The first shipments of cut stone for the facing of the tower began arriving from Pickel Stone Company in 1924. It would take three years of work to complete the gothic tower. Although groundbreaking for the South Wing was part of Homecoming in 1930 the Depression called a halt after the foundation was built. The tower would stand alone on the MU campus for almost twenty-five years as a pledge of the future Memorial Union that was to be built.

University of Missouri News Service Headline, 07/05/1924
University of Missouri News Service Headline, 07/05/1924
(University Archives, C:0/29/1)

First Stones for Tower, Pickel Stone Co., 06/15/1924
First Stones for Tower, Pickel Stone Co., 06/15/1924
(University Archives, C:0/47/12)

Stonemasons from Pickel Stone Co., 06/15/1924
Stonemasons from Pickel Stone Co., 06/15/1924
(University Archives, C:0/47/12)

Laying of the First Stone
Laying of the First Stone
(University Archives, C:0/47/12)

Archway of Tower, 11/24/1924
Archway of Tower, 11/24/1924
(University Archives, C:0/47/12)

Completion of Memorial Tower

Although the foundation of the tower and work with local stone rubble walls began in 1923 by Simon Construction, the first of the fine cut stone of the facing was not laid until August 15, 1924. Fifteen stone masons carved some of the blocks of stone after they arrived at the construction site. The work of the subscription committee, headed by Dr. J.C. Jones, continued fund raising while construction continued on the Memorial Tower until 1926. After the dedication on November 20, 1926 during the Homecoming Celebration, student traditions grew; hats were either tipped or removed while walking through the tower, ROTC students saluted when they passed and graduating seniors placed a memorial wreath as part of the ceremonies of commencement.

Part II of the Exhibit

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Copyright © Curators of the University of Missouri 1997 - 2002
Published by: University Archives muarchives.missouri.edu/
Prepared: 23 November 1999
Revised: 19 January 2007
URL: http://muarchives.missouri.edu/memun1.html

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