Historical Highlight: Paths crossed at 2nd and Walnut streets
During the recent homecoming weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting members of the Class of 1959 during their class reunion visit to the Depot Museum. They shared many great stories and memories of places I’ve only seen pictures of.
One that many of them talk about is the campus of the Missouri Wesleyan College. Founded in 1883 The College was a great source of pride for the community. It closed in 1930 and in the 1940s the liberal arts building became our high school. The class of 1959 attended school there.
The College football field, which was located just west of the liberal arts building, is the same one that the undefeated CHS teams of the early 1900s played on. Now called Dave Goodwin field, It’s a standing reminder of the impact the college had on our community.
What about the old Liberal arts building? It was a landmark in Cameron with a stately appearance that still stands out in the minds of those that remember it. What happened to it and what remains today?
In the early 1960s, a newer more modern school was built farther south on Chestnut street. Completed by Christmas 1963, the entire school moved out of the old College building into the new school during the holiday break that year. The class of 1964 was the first to graduate at the new location.
The old college building was soon torn down. The demolition job turned out to be much more difficult than expected. The old building had good bones and didn’t want to succumb to the wrecking crew but eventually it was gone. A parking lot was put in its place. I can’t imagine how many thousands of people have driven over the area, having no idea of what was there before.
What may surprise some people is that a small remnant of the old college building remains. The foundation that held up the mighty structure is still there. If you know what to look for on a google earth map, it stands out clearly. Or if you drive along the east side of the gravel parking lot toward the south end, you can still see the four extra concrete footers that were put in place to help support the staircase and giant columns that stood at the front entrance of the building.
Even now after many attempts to erase the evidence of the wonderful structure, it still refuses to completely disappear from our landscape. Although barely a footprint of its original stature, the small but unmistakable remnants show that educators of that period heeded the suggestion that we should “leave good footprints behind”.
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