MSU’s Love Affair With Building Plaques

I was up at Mississippi State University recently and decided to walk through a building I had never actually seen inside before, the Bost Extension Center. As always, I made sure to check out the plaque in the lobby telling me important information about the building, like construction date, architect, builder, etc.

Bost Extension Center, MSU (1976, Thomas S. Jones & Associates)

You may remember a post from a while back where I expressed surprise about a second “amendment plaque” in the lobby of MSU’s Walker Engineering Building, “Giving Credit Where Credit May or May Not Be Due (see relevant regulation(s).” We decided in the comments to that post that the two plaques resulted from a change in the university’s administration in 1960, so the new president, Dr. Colvard, put up a second plaque with his name on it.

Well, here we are again at MSU, still the only place I’ve seen such profligate plaque-making. Here at Bost, we find another duplicate plaque, this one carefully placed so that it’s apparently meant to be an alternate version of history rather than a mere update as at Walker. This one seems to have been inspired by a complete turnover in the State Building Commission.

In fact, the turnover is so complete that Charles Rayford Smith, the architect for the Building Commission, gets replaced by an attorney–not just any attorney though–this one has four names, H.L.B. Foote. Attorneys do so much to bring a building from ground up, it seems only fair that they would replace the staff architect, who, you know, probably just reviewed the plans, conducted site visits, attended meetings, etc.

So far, MSU is winning the gold medal in number of Building Plaque Twins–does any other campus come close?



Categories: Architectural Research, Starkville, Universities/Colleges

6 replies

  1. Do they have their own foundry for making such castings? That might explain it! LOL

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  2. Such silliness. And those things are not inexpensive!

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  3. Can anyone spell “petty politicking?”

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  4. This second example lends credence to the belief that the pettiness lies squarely with the state Building Commission. In both examples, they have a complete turnover on that commission and I bet it’s their policy to require a second plaque if the commission changes during the project. I apologize for any besmerchment that I may have heaped upon the former MSU president, D.W. Colvard, in my comments on last year’s blog entry. I should have know that the foolhardy behavior started much higher than he.

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    • My perhaps cynical opinion is that there’s probably more than enough ego and foolhardiness to go around from college presidents all the way to the Building Commission. What’s weird is that I’ve never seen this anywhere else, and surely there are other state buildings that have started under one commission and finished under another. So, everyone keep an eye out for other instances, and if we don’t find them at other colleges, then we might be back at the college president theory.

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