University postcard with Parker Memorial Hospital and Busch Amphitheathre.


Adolphus Busch

Donating $5,000 in 1900, then another $3,500, Adolphus Busch funded the construction of the amphitheater at the Parker Memorial Hospital. The amphitheater was subsequently dedicated to Busch and was named Busch Amphitheatre. However, this decision would surprisingly prove to be unpopular throughout the Columbia community. Multiple Christian groups protested the donation from the “prince of brewery”, citing that it was immoral and improper to accept a donation from someone that they believed did not have good Chrisitan values. With the Temperance Movement still on the rise, they found it absurd to educate students in a building that was associated with alcohol. Despite the protests from the community, the Board of Curators accepted the donation, agreeing to Busch’s condition that the building was to be named for him. In 1902, Busch donated another $3,800 for improvements to the clinic.

[Sources: "Clinic in Hospital Given by Busch." University Missourian. October 13, 1913. p. 1 (Reel #8823), The State Historical Society of Missouri, Newspaper Collection; UW: 1/1/2, Box 7, FF14]

Example Protests against Busch

It looks as it were a part of a general scheme to debauch and defile every institution in the land with the wretched slop of the brewery and bring every good thing down to the low level of the miserable swill of beer and rum!” - Rev. J. M. O’Bryen

[UW:1/1/2 Box 7 FF14]

Can we afford to educate our young people at such a price? Can we afford to bring our educational institutions under obligations to a man whose business constantly debauches our citizens?” - Simpson Ely, Ex-president of Christian University

Full transcription

[UW:1/1/2 Box 7 FF14]

We trust that, in the name of the higher purity of our public institutions of learning, who by accepting gifts from such sources, are estopped from antagonizing the liquor traffice which is the source of such unbounded evil, your Board will decline the gift. There is blood on the money.” - E. E. Israel

[UW:1/1/2 Box 7 FF14]

Mr. Busch is famous for one thing, and one thing only, and that is the manufacture of beer. I do not regard this as a praiseworthy avocation and do not think that the Schools of this great State should be placed in the attitude of giving honor to any such business.” - Hosea Thompson Botts, Law '93

[UW:1/1/2 Box 7 FF14]

Other Fundrasing

When William L. Parker initially donated the $15,000 for the hospital, he requested that an additional $10,000 be raised to supplement the costs. This request would be met by the state government as the Missouri General Assembly appropriated the necessary funds. This allowed construction to begin after an initial delayed start due to the difficulty of selecting a site for the hospital. When the construction of the hospital was completed, the funds were exhausted, but the building needed to be furnished. Then, according to the M.S.U. Independent, from an article on December 18, 1900, “[t]he ladies of Columbia came to the rescue and by a series of entertainments and by popular subscription, succeeded in raising nearly $1,000, which was turned over to the University and spent on the new building where most needed.” Even with the large amount of private funding, the building still required $10,000-$12,000 from the Missouri legislature to further furnish and maintain the building.

[Sources: C:22/3/5, MU Bulletin for Busch Donation, Parker Hall Vertical File; M.S.U. Independent, December 18, 1900, No. 7]

Brief History of Use

Modern photo of Parker Memorial Hospital from MU in Brick and Mortar.

The Parker Memorial Hospital served as the first state owned hospital in Missouri, dedicated to serving members of the community that had lacked a hospital. The hospital was designed to admit patients that suffered from common ailments, accidents, and chronic diseases. However, those who were suffering from contagious diseases, such as influenza, were not admitted. Furthermore, it served as a teaching hospital for nurses and medical students – a needed addition as the number of medical students at the University was rapidly increasing. By the end of the 20th century, it had been transformed from a medical center to a campus building for general use due to more modern medical centers having been built. It served as a testing center and as the home for the University's Counseling Center until its demolition in 2022.

[Source: Bulletin of the University of Missouri, Vol. 4, No. 11, November 1903]

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