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Before Moellering Library: A look back

Initially, Valparaiso University's library was located in the old college building, which burnt down in 1923. After the fire, the library was moved into East Hall. East Hall functioned as the library for approximately two and a half years. When the university was bought by the Lutheran University Association, East Hall was torn down and the library was relocated to Heritage Hall late in 1925. Since Heritage Hall had been used as a training center during World War I, much effort was put into making the building usable. Although there had been plans for the construction of a new library when it became evident that Heritage was too small, the combination of World War II and the Great Depression prevented the university from having the funds to undergo such a project. Also, when the old gym was destroyed by a fire, the construction of a new gym took precedence over the construction of a new library. In 1957, the chapel also succumbed to a fire. Since Heritage Hall was next to the chapel, it was feared that wind would cause the fire to spread to Heritage Hall. Thus, students and faculty members climbed on the roof of the building and threw off the hot coals that landed on the roof. Although the fire did not actually spread to the library, students and teachers took preventative measures and attempted to rescue and move as many books as possible. Unfortunately, since a number of books were dropped in the snow during this process, their efforts may have been more detrimental than helpful. Two years later, however, the dream of a new library was actualized with the construction of Moellering Library.

Pictures of old VU libraries

East Hall

Outside of East Hall

Heritage Hall

Inside Heritage
Outside Heritage
Desk

Return to Moellering History Index