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Marshall’s Hodges Hall

October 2, 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE:This is the 255th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON — The federal Works Progress Administration (WPA), renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration, was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency, employing millions of people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of roads and public buildings

In 1937, at the height of the Depression, the EPA built three buildings at Marshall College — a teacher training school named for Confederate General Albert Gallatin Jenkins (later home of the Marshall Lab School) and two dormitories. The record-setting 1937 Ohio River flood precluded occupancy of the three buildings until the fall of that year

One of the dormitories was named Laidley Hall in honor of Marshall’s chief founder, lawyer John Laidley. When a new school was built in 1837, it was Laidley who convinced his neighbors to name it for his friend John Marshall.

The second dorm was named Hodges Hall, honoring Thomas E. Hodges, who was principal of the school from 1886 to 1896. The school saw considerable growth under Hodges, with its enrollment exceeding 200 students for the first time. Erecting the two dorms cost a total of $300,000.

Located at the eastern side of MU’s inner campus, Hodges Hall last housed students in 2007.

After that it became office space for the Marshall Community College and storage space for the university. Saying the three-story former dorm had become too expensive to maintain and noting that it wasn’t air-conditioned, Marshall demolished it 2013. At $400,000, the cost to demolish the old building was far more than what it cost to build in 1937.

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“Lost Huntington: Volume 1” is a hardcover, full-color book of some of the city’s lost landmarks. The book is likely to be of interest to anyone who enjoys history and loves Huntington.

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