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The state starts a school.

Springfield's state university had its beginnings as the privately owned Springfield Normal School, founded in 1894 at Pickwick Avenue and Cherry Street, an institution which had the distinction of playing the first night football game west of the Mississippi River in 1904.

After the State of Missouri approved establishment of a normal school in 1905, the building at Pickwick and Cherry housed State Normal until a new campus was started in the present location on South National Avenue in 1906 with the construction of the present administration building. During that first year, State Normal had 543 students.

In 1919, the school's name was changed to Southwest Missouri State Teachers College and it had a fall enrollment of 499 students. By 1945, "Teachers" had been removed from its name and in 1972 its designation was further upgraded to that of a University, representing the broad range of educational opportunities it offered.

Today (1980), Southwest Missouri State University has 14,000 students and is the largest regional state university in Missouri. Its campus has grown from an original 40 acres to 125 acres today with the help of an urban renewal project in the area.

This building at Pickwick Avenue and Cherry Street housed the Springfield Normal School until State Normal was formed in 1905.
First building on the new State Normal campus on South National Avenue was the present Administration Building, Carrington Hall.
The rapid early growth of the college is shown in this aerial photo shot early in the 1950's.
McDonald Arena on the SMS campus has served the community, as well as the college, over the years as a place for large meetings and concerts. It is still used often even with the addition of Hammons Student Center.
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