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Morrill Hall: spooking for over a century

April 5th, 2017


COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Morrill Hall is known as the oldest academic building still in use on
campus today, built over 100 years ago. Rumor has it that this historical building may be
haunted. Morrill has been visited by paranormal experts in the past.
In 2002 the Maryland Spirits and Ghosts Association
investigated the building with special ghost tracking equipment.
It reported finding multiple spirits in the building. The group
deemed most of them to be friendly.
The occupants of the building also have from time to
time detected strange odors, some of which they attribute to the
remains of the Great Fire of 1912, said University of Maryland
archivist Anne Turkos.
On Nov. 12, 1912, students on campus were attending a
The front of Morrill Hall Thanksgiving dance when a fire broke out. Despite their best
Photo Credit: Maryland efforts to extinguish it, the fire destroyed all of the dorms and
Population Research Center half of the academic buildings on campus.
Morrill Hall was one of only two buildings that survived the disaster. Since then it has
gone through multiple renovations, most recently in 1994 and 2003.
While inside the building, students and staff have reported hearing marching feet outside.
This occurrence has been explained by another piece of the universitys
history.
Morrill Hall is named after Vermont senator Justin Morrill. He is
best know for having introduced legislation (in 1861) leading to the
creation of a system of land grant colleges, of which the University of
Maryland is a member, according to a plaque located on the front entrance
of the building.
The Morrill Land-Grant Act awarded states land and federal support
for establishing agricultural colleges, like UMD, which at the time was
known as Maryland Agricultural College.
Justin Morrill
The act also required students at these agricultural colleges to Photo Credit: Encyclopedia
partake in military training. For this, a field located directly in front of Britannica
Morrill Hall was used as a parade ground for marching and drills.
When students broke the rules they were forced to march back and forth on the field for
hours. Thus it is believed that the sound of marching feet heard outside are the ghosts of these
students, still marching to this day.
Morrill Halls unique past makes it a favorite amongst some staff and students.
I love that it gives off an air of longevity, marking the university as an institution of
historical significance, said sophomore government and politics major Aaron Dane.

More
Morrill Hall currently houses the Office of Academic Computing Services, the Maryland
population Research Center, and other offices that are a part of the College of Behavioral and
Social Sciences. It was previously home to the Zoology and Veterinary Science Departments.
The building cost $24,000 to construct in 1898. It is currently one of the smallest
buildings on campus at three stories tall and less than 17,00 gross Square feet.

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