From the desk of Felicity Knox ’94, assistant university archivist librarian
Ask an Archivist
Q: Where was the university originally located?
A: Ten years after the Maryland State Normal School was founded in 1866, classes were
finally held in a building designed for the school. Prior to 1876, the school rented
rooms in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore. The first building was at the
corner of Carrollton and Lafayette avenues, across from Lafayette Park, where the
school often held events. It is often referred to as “the Carrollton building;” however,
there were no dormitories, so students who could not commute had to live in boarding
houses nearby. This would become one of the major arguments for moving the school
to a more rural location 30 years later.
Local businessman Frank L. LaMotte opens his pool at Cromwell Bridge Road to the State
Teachers College (STC) at Towson students during a couple hot weeks in the summer.
Students were in classes over the summer because of the pressing need for teachers
during World War II.
Perhaps inspired by those weeks at LaMotte’s pool, President M. Theresa Wiedefeld
began a campus-wide fundraising program to buy war bonds for the construction of a
swimming pool on campus. It took three years to raise the $10,000 projected cost.
By that time, however, the post-war building boom meant materials and workforce were
in short supply, so constructing the pool was postponed.
With the construction of the new gymnasium, Burdick Hall, the pool fund money was
finally put to its intended use. Wiedefeld, who was still associated with the alumni
association, advocated that the pool be named the “Victory Pool” as a nod to the folks
who’d raised the money with war bonds. However, it was originally called the Alumni
Memorial Pool, honoring those who had died in the war.