Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


P. H. Welshimer Memorial Library

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Institution Name: Milligan College
Original/Historic Place Name: P. H. Welshimer Memorial Library
Location on Campus: 200 Blowers Blvd.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1959-1961original construction Hoffman, Loeffer & Wolfe Beeson & Beeson
1964renovation Unknown
1984renovation Unknown
2006-2007renovation Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete
Walls: brick; steel; limestone (trim and columns)
Roof: shingle
1961-2006other (President's office)
1961-present (2007)library
1964-1984other (Language laboratory)
1981-present (2007)other (Archives)
1984-present (2007)other (Computer laboratory and Information Technology offices)

Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Before the completion of the P. H. Welshimer Memorial Library, four rooms on the second floor of the Administration Building (now Derthick Hall) constituted the entire Milligan College library. By the late 1950s, this area had become so crowded that books were stacked to the ceiling and little to no room was available for study space. When the libraries of Pearl Howard (P. H.) and his daughter Helen Welshimer were donated to Milligan in 1957, necessity dictated that the more than 7,000 books go into storage. Through the generosity of the Kresge Foundation, the Phillips family, and the T. W. Phillips, Jr. Charitable Trust, adequate funds to build a modern, free-standing library were secured. The T. W. Phillips, Jr. Charitable Trust stated that their gift was to be used to build a library in honor of P. H. Welshimer. Welshimer had been a minister at the First Christian Church of Canton, OH, a nationally known speaker, and a key leader in the Restoration Movement, with which Milligan is affiliated. B. D. Phillips' architects, Hoffman, Loeffer and Wolfe from Pittsburgh worked with the Johnson City, TN firm of Beeson and Beeson to design the building.

When the new building was completed in 1961, afternoon classes were cancelled so that a "bucket brigade" could be formed. Students formed a line from the old library in the Administration Building, down the hill and across the street to the new library. Books were passed from person to person and the estimated 18,000 volumes were moved in about two hours. Dedication services for the library were held November 24, 1961.

The library is a fireproof structure composed of brick, stone, steel, and masonry with two stories and a basement. Until 2006 a recreation of P. H. Welshimer's office in Canton was kept in the Welshimer Room, a stately wood paneled room located near the main entrance. This space was once used for formal meetings, but now contains tables and chairs for student study. Though the furnishings from Welshimer's office have been moved to the Archives, bookcases built into the walls and containing many of Welshimer's books remain as a reminder of the library's namesake. The President's office will be moved from the library's second floor into newly renovated offices elsewhere on campus. The Information Technology department, currently in the basement level next to the Archives, is scheduled to move out in 2007, opening still more space for study areas and expansion of the library's collection.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Cornwell, Cynthia Ann. Beside the Waters of the Buffalo: A History of Milligan College to 1941. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1989.

Holloway, Clint. "Age Deo Fide et Amore: A History of Milligan College, 1940-1968." M. A. thesis, Emmanuel School of Religion, 1998.

Hopwood, Josephus. A Journey Through the Years: An Autobiography. St. Louis, MO: Bethany Press, 1932.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections, Unknown
—details: Archives, Milligan College.

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