Bridge Presents Bacone Campus History
These photos and campus history paragraphs are provided by Bridge students, Dr. Wind, Bridge faculty, and Frances Donelson, American Indian Library. We love our school. Welcome to Bacone!
Mary ‘Ataloa’ Stone was a Chickasaw woman who dedicated her life to serving others. There are still many books in the Bacone Library that bear the inscription “the kindness of Ataloa.” She always wore a smile and was loved by many. While at Bacone she taught English and Philosophy. Ataloa also started and sponsored the school newspaper, started the Art Department, found summer internships for students, and designed plans for an Art Lodge on campus. Then, during the Great Depression, she raised the funds to build the Art Lodge. Next, she furnished the building inside and filled it with artwork. After her death in 1967, the building was renamed in her honor. The Ataloa Lodge stands today on the center circle of Bacone’s main campus (G. Wind).
Company I Memorial
The Company I Memorial was built to honor Bacone College students who served in World Wars I and II, Korean War and Vietnam War. Company I, 180th Infantry Regiment was mostly made up of Bacone College students. The memorial was built in Fall 1980 when the Company I veterans came back to Bacone for a school reunion. Company I started back in World War 1. The company continued to the Vietnam War. The names of Bacone veterans who gave their lives in the wars are carved in the granite rock. There are four names from World War I, 62 names from World War II, one name from the Korean Conflict and one name from the Vietnam War. (S. Contreras-Gamez)
The Chickasaw Warrior sculpture personifies the indomitable unconquered spirit of the Chickasaw people. This statue stands on the Bacone College main campus and was designed by Enoch Kelly Haney, who graduated from Bacone College in 1962. Haney served as a Seminole tribal chief as well as an Oklahoma State representative. The statue arrived and was installed on campus on January 7, 2011. John Free and his wife delivered the statue and assisted with the installation of of this most impressive work of art. Chickasaw elder, Eugene Thompson, attended the dedication (L. Frank)
The Memorial Chapel is a historic building on the campus of Bacone College located in Muskogee Oklahoma. The building’s cornerstone was laid on April 30, 1939 by a former graduate of Bacone, Patrick Hurley. The chapel was built with stones from the long gone Rockefeller Hall. The Old Memorial Chapel was destroyed on December 28, 1990 by a fire that was later determined to be arson. The Memorial Chapel, reconstructed on April 17, 1993, retained much of its original design with some new features added to fit the modern era. Bacone Hour, a campus tradition since the college opened, is held in the chapel. The Chapel serves as the campus church on Sundays and holds classes in the basement during the school week. The Memorial Chapel is a part of the history of Bacone and is a symbol of the colleges' relationship with American Baptist Churches (J. Patton).
There wasn’t a good place to baptize people near the Bacone so a couple of missionaries came up with funds to built a baptistery on campus. The outdoor baptistery hasn't been used in many years, yet it still remains a main historical site at Bacone College. The baptistery was built around 1855 at the same time Rockefeller Hall was built. (T. Johnson) The Baptistery is located behind the Bacone Memorial Chapel. Reverend Benjamin Weeks baptized students yearly from 1918 to 1941, particularly on Sundays and during special Evangelistic meetings. In 1919 Weeks baptized 24 students in one day. The shelter above the baptistery was built in 1981. At least four couples took their wedding vows by the Baptistery. It remains visible reminder of what Bacone stands for.(J. Twilley)
April 2, 1997 was the day of the celebration of the official opening of the Palmer Center. The facility is named in honor of two generations of the Palmer Family. Dr. Gordon Palmer, Sr. and Gordon Palmer Jr. exemplified distinguished leadership and support to Bacone College.The total cost for the 33,200 total square feet Palmer Center construction was $2.5 million. Gordon Palmer Jr. died three days before the Palmer Center dedication. The corn plant decoration theme on Palmer Center is a traditional cultural symbol common to many Native American Indian tribes (A. Benton).
Samuel Richards Hall
The stone bible, also known as the stone pulpit is an important Bacone College monument. It marks the place where in 1881 Almon Bacone, J.S. Murrow, and Daniel Rodgers knelt in prayer to dedicate this hilltop to the cause of Christian education for Indian youth. The stone pulpit is the focal point of the annual Founders Day event celebrated each year on February 9 (D. Garner).
Isaac McCoy was born in Union Town, Pennsylvania, June 17, 1784; died, Louisville, Kentucky, June 21, 1846. For over thirty years he devoted his passion and love to the civil and religious improvement of the Indian tribes of this country. He endured perils and privations for the sake of the Indians whom he loved and whom he toiled with uplifting faith and fervor. Isaac McCoy was a very respected man not only to himself, but for other people as well. Isaac McCoy Hall will always be a memorial to building to Bacone College, just as Isaac McCoy was (J. Macheras).
Milly Frances Monument
In the 1800s the United States military and others used plants to supply salt. The process included the use of kettles, later becoming known as Salt Kettles. Salt was a natural preservative that helped keep meats, hides, dairy, and other products fresh. Salt was such an important resource to have that the workers were exempt from going into battle. This process came to an end in 1864. Soldiers destroyed the kettles so they would no longer be used, but Cherokees were able to get ahold of the kettles and patch them for more usage. The Salt Kettle at Bacone campus symbolizes the ingenuity of the Native American people and their knowledge of how to preserve food. (A. Grant)
Journey Cake Hall
There is a sundial on campus. It was commissioned in 1929 by President Weeks. The sundial shows a representation of time by using a single arm to cast a shadow onto a dial. When the shadow moves across the dial face, the representation of the time is shown. A campus landmark, the sundial stands today in front of Journeycake Hall (E. Rowland)
The C.C. Harmon building was established in 1976. It was funded by the Pearl M. and Julia J. Harmon Foundation of Nowata. The building was originally used as a nursing facility that was set up for students who were enrolled in the fall semester of 1976. It is one of the newer buildings of Bacone College. Today, it is used as a science major building (D. Bruner).
Lucy Peters Hall
Katherine Murrow Hall was built in 1923, and in 1943 the name was officially renamed to Lucy Peters Hall. First, it was dining hall for the Murrow Indian Orphans Home from 1923 to 1956. And then in 1956 to 1999, it was used as a thrift shop. Now it is currently used for instructional purposes and special events (E. Par).
Walter Starr Hall
Walter Starr, added in 1923, is located near the front entrance of the Bacone College main campus. Walter Starr Hall is named after a former student who attended Bacone College. Walter Starr was a Creek Indian of Hanna, Oklahoma. Walter Starr Hall was brought to Bacone to be used as boys dormitory. Walter Starr is still being used today by Christian Ministry students. (S. Murphy).
Alexander Lawrence Posey Hall was built near the Shawnee Street campus entrance and dedicated to Alexander Posey on October 6, 1968. Posey Hall was originally a girls dorm and later was switched to a boys dorm. In 1995 the flat roof of the Posey building was destroyed by a tornado and all the water from the storm rained down the stairs. The building now has an arched roof which was put on in 2000. Alexander Posey was an outstanding poet, educator, journalist, statesman, and also was reputed to be a ladies man. Alexander Posey passed away right after Oklahoma statehood in 1908. Although he lived a short life he was very successful and well known in his years of life (K. Fountain).
A, B, & C Dorms
Old Warrior Gym and Gym Annex
On May 14th, 1948, Old Warrior Gym was bought for $15,000. Bacone used the gym to aid in developing sports and recreational activities. Over the years, the Warrior Gym has changed a lot. It has been used as a wrestling practice building, training room, football locker room, and as coach’s offices. The gym has a practice field beside it for the outdoor sports. The Old Warrior Gym is on Bacone's main campus. The facility cost $45,000. In 2016, the Old Warrior Gym is used as a practice facility, locker room, and sports equipment storage space. The New Warrior Gym in Palmer Center is used to host all the school sporting events (Z. Leshay).
Cristal Strange Memorial Garden
Alice Robertson Rock
The Alice Robertson Rock, Sawokla, was the pride of Miss Alice Robertson. Sawokla is a creek word that typified Miss Robertson's feeling of her home. It means 'a gathering place. Her home was widely known for her hospitality and dinners. Miss Robertson built the stone in 1910. This huge, massive stone, now on Bacone Campus, weighs many tons. The rock came from Miss Alice Robertson's Muskogee home where The Sawokla formerly stood. (G. Thompson)
Bacone College Cemetary
Some wonderful people were laid to rest in Bacone College Graveyard including Bacone President, Almon Bacone who founded American Indian University on February 9, 1880. One of the oldest graves in this yard is Alford Shoemaker. Shoemaker has a headstone on campus and was a professor at the school and also led bible studies classes. He was only here for 6 weeks and 4 days. He had a saying before he died, “Life is but a shadow that lasts only but an hour.” Shoemaker’s grave marker is labeled 1886 November 11th. Benjamin Weeks is also buried in the school cemetery. The graveyard is located behind Hurley House and Journeycake Hall (D. Williams).