Saturday, October 31, 2020

Possible 20th-century boiler room discovered

July 11, 2012
Katy Meyers, campus archeologist and graduate student digs at the site of the foundation of an old boiler room Tuesday, July 10, 2012 behind Morrill Hall.  Construction workers came across the structure last week while working on campus. Adam Toolin/The State News
Katy Meyers, campus archeologist and graduate student digs at the site of the foundation of an old boiler room Tuesday, July 10, 2012 behind Morrill Hall. Construction workers came across the structure last week while working on campus. Adam Toolin/The State News —
Photo by Adam Toolin | and Adam Toolin The State News

Tuesday morning, Campus Archeologist and graduate student Katy Meyers shoveled the West Circle construction site, searching for clues about a discovered wall belonging to a structure lost in time.

A week earlier, MSU Physical Plant Geographic Information Systems analyst Nick Voss found a wall below the ground next to Morrill Hall, and archeologists were called to check the scene.

Archeologists realized it’s likely a portion of a boiler room built in 1900 to support Morrill Hall people forgot existed.

The building was not noted on the MSU Physical Plant’s construction maps, and the remains of the structure were a surprise to the construction team, MSU Physical Plant construction representative Andy Linebaugh said.

Since its discovery, archeologists have spent about 10 to 12 hours at the site digging up the remains of the building in search of clues about the structure’s use and the building’s purpose.

“We’re going to try and see if we can find a builder’s trench or … find a clue,” Lynne Goldstein, anthropology professor and director of MSU Campus Archaeology Program, said. “What we’re trying to figure out is which way the wall goes.”

Goldstein found a photo of a boiler room structure located in the same spot the wall was discovered.

After doing research, she is unsure how long the boiler room was used.

So far, only one wall has been dug up by MSU Campus Archeology Program.

On Tuesday, Meyers also uncovered another structure, possibly a road made of brick, that was there before the paved road near Morrill Hall.

But for Meyers and the archeologists on the project, time to dig up the building is running out.
Linebaugh said the remains of the boiler room will be removed likely by the end of the week.

“It gives us another piece of information (about) how MSU operated and how it was sustainable,” Goldstein said.

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