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Riverview Hall at SCSU

Page history last edited by bame0904@stcloudstate.edu 11 years, 5 months ago


Riverview Hall Throughout the Years


April Hulke, Jessica Dowd, Heather Gradin, Melissa Sand, Whitney Thune 




     The Riverview building on St. Cloud State University campus has a long and colorful history. Built in 1911 and designed by architect Clarence Johnson, Riverview is the second oldest building on St. Cloud State University campus and is now a National Register Landmark. This building, home of the St. Cloud Normal school, was used to train teacher candidates in a hands-on approach using active students in a classroom setting.  Students from the St. Cloud community were invited to attend but prefrence was given to children of university professors. 

     This Lab school, sometimes called the Riverview Lab school, was the third of its kind opened in the state of Minnesota.  Students, from 1911 to 1958 in grades kindergarten through ninth grade, were taught here.  Students that attended the school often commented that attending the Normal School was much like attending an elite school because the students were afforded the opportunity to take swimming lessons at an indoor pool located in the adjacent Eastman building and had music, physical education, and art specials classes.  In 1921, the name of the school changed from the St. Cloud Normal School to the St. Cloud Teachers College.

     In the 1954, a teacher by the name of Eva Cook Jones, in cooperation with United Cerebral Palsy of Minnesota, started the first classes in the state to educate students with cerebral palsy and to educate others about the condition. General education students were allowed to volunteer with students with CP and enjoyed the experiences they had and the lessons they learned.

     The school was not without it's faults.  Students that attended the school in the fourties and fifties often complained that the building was shoddy and was in great need of improvments.  In the winter, it was said that Riverview was so drafty that the  students and teachers often bundled up in their coats, hats and mittens all day to fight back the chill of the wind whiping through the windows.  Riverview also had a problem with bats in the attic that would sometimes fly through the hallways. 

     The school officially closed in 1958 after the construction of the Grey Lab School, now the ECC building, on the university campus but the legacy of Riverview Hall lives on. 

For more information on the history of Riverview please visit: http://www.universitychronicle.net/index.php/2010/12/12/history-riverview/


  01696.jpg                                                                                                               A class taking place in Riverview, 1913 




The Haunting of Riverview Hall


     There are people who claim Riverview is haunted. A female ghost is said to roam the halls and open doors. It is said you can hear her high heels click-clicking in the corridors. There are also stories of a spirit of a little boy bouncing a ball down the hallways.  There have been a number of attempts by paranormal investigators to catch the phenomea in action and you would be suprised at what you can see and hear.

     Bill Morgan, a retired professor who taught from 1978-2000 at St. Cloud State University says "I'm not a great believer in ghosts, but the two people who heard the high-heeled female ghost are credible people." One of those people is a professor whose office was located in Riverview. Morgan recalled:


     Twenty years ago, Professor John Bovee, now retired, was working in his office one night about 11 p.m. Suddenly, he heard what he thought was a colleague wearing high heels coming down the hall. When Bovee peeked out his door, there was no one in sight.


    Ten years later, a custodian also stated that he heard and saw the main door open and close of its own accord accompanied by the sound of high heels clicking on the floor.

     In yet another strange and equally odd incedent, the grandfather clock, which has stood in the building since 1913, was reported missing by the building staff early mone morning.  That same day it was found undamaged and standing in the middle of Stearns County road 75.  No wittness could be found to say it had been taken and the story is still a mystery today.

    While taking a tour of Riverview hall, our group met and talked to the current professor of Leadership and Organizational Communication, Matthew Vorell.  When asked if he had heard the rumors of Riverview being haunted he stated, "Oh yes, I've heard the ghost." He writes in an email interview:


     The first morning I came to work at SCSU I turned on my TV at home and it was set to the university channel and there was a special ghost hunters show on about the ghosts in Riverview... I was working late on a Friday evening in my office when my door closed. I heard someone knock on my door and I saw a person's silhouette through my door's window. When I went to answer the door, there was no one there. Several times when I have been teaching and using PPT, the technology in the room will unexpectedly shut down and start back up.



University Seal, 1930's-1958


Clothing from the Riverview Lab School Time 


     As Americans entered the modern era in the 1920's it began to be acceptable for women to wear more comfortable clothes such as shirts and trousers. Thank goodness!! Men also abandoned formal wear and began wearing athletic clothing for the first time.  The 1920s can be broken up into two different distinct periods.   In the early part of the decade, people were reluctant to change but starting in 1925 many began embracing the change of the Roaring Twenties.


The Renovation


The building was renovated in 2008 and cost $6.2 million. The renovations included removing lead paint from the windows and high tech upgrades such as a computer lab. This building has been an asset to students here at Saint Cloud State University for over a hundred years. From 1962-2008 the building was used to house the English department, and is currently home to Communication Studies. 

For more information, visit the link:  http://www.stcloudstate.edu/news/newsrelease/default.asp?storyID=32027



Riverview hall was renovated in 2008 and cost $6.2 million.




Morgan, William, Ph.d. E-mail interview. 18 Oct. 2012.

Vorell, Matthew S. E-mail interview. 21 Oct. 2012.

Ross, Roseanna, comp. "Riverview Celebration." St. Cloud State University. N.p., 19 Apr. 2010. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. <http://www.stcloudstate.edu/news/newsrelease/default.asp?storyID=32027>.

Photos courtesy of St. Cloud State University Archives Accessed 18 Oct. 2012

"Women in Pants" photo courtesy of cynthiagreig.com

Morgan, William, Ph.D. "Ghostly Tease." St. Cloud Times 6 July 2002: Print.

Morgan, William, Ph.D. "Riverview Hall." St. Clod Times 27 Oct. 1998: Print.




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