Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Under Investigation: The Fire That Changed Ferris

BIG RAPIDS – A bitterly-cold day, Feb. 21, 1950, marked a devastating event that nearly destroyed Ferris State University and tested its will to carry on.

On that day, disaster struck Ferris Institute and the Big Rapids community as the fire alarm rang shortly after 5 p.m. President Byron Brophy had just finished hosting a reception for graduating students when custodian Melvin Dunn and Karl Merrill, Dean of Men, informed the president of smoke in the attic of the Main Building. What resulted was a devastating fire that completely destroyed Old Main and left little of Ferris Institute standing. Today, the mystery of that fire continues to intrigue many people familiar with the history of what today is known as Ferris State University.

On Sept. 3 at 6 p.m., Founders’ Day activities at Ferris features “Unsolved History: The Burning of Old Main,” in G. Mennen Williams Auditorium as part of 125th anniversary celebration of the history of Ferris State University.
  • Do you have a theory about the 1950 fire?
  • Was the fire an accident?
  • Was it deliberately set?
  • If it was deliberately set ... what was the motive?
Your questions and thoughts are welcome.

For the full story, visit the Ferris FYI news homepage at http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/news/fyi-detail.cfm?ID=984

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