The history of Holton Hall, as told by university archives

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Holton Hall contains administrative offices and student services, including the Office of Student Life. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

The University Archives, which are available online, is endless in its supply of valuable Kansas State history. The files contain old newspaper articles, information on student groups, course catalogs and a substantial amount of information on the history of the agriculture department at K-State.

One portion of K-State’s agricultural history with a unique story is that of Holton Hall.

Holton Hall is currently an administrative building which contains the Office for Student Life and other student services. Before it became what it is today, it held other titles.

Assistant university archivist Veronica Denison explained some of the history.

“Holton Hall was formerly called Education Hall and Agriculture Hall,” Denison said. “Agriculture Hall was built in 1900. When the ag department moved to Waters Hall in 1913, it was then used by the vocational school, and in 1924 was taken over by the Department of Education.”

In the archived document, “History of the Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science,” the various phases of Holton Hall are explained.

While Holton Hall served as the Agriculture Hall between the years of 1900 and 1913 it served 1,094 students and over 50 faculty members. Several agriculture classes were offered, but Holton Hall specifically was home to trade classes like dairy farming, domestic science, agriculture and mechanics and horticulture and mechanics.

After this it would serve as a vocational school for nine years. This meant it hosted classes like agronomy, forestry, animal husbandry, dairy husbandry, horticulture and more. Then, Holton Hall would become the Education Hall and host various education classes including some rural education classes.

During this time, Edwin Lee Holton was named the professor of rural education, and he would then be named professor of education in 1913. Eventually he would even become a head of the education department. Holton’s vast experience in education made his name a suiting choice for a building that held such similar sentiments to his lifelong career.

“On Dec. 22, 1950, it was renamed Holton Hall by the Board of Regents after E. L. Holton,” Denison explained.

In 1989 a remodel would turn Holton Hall into what it is today. Around $1 million worth of interior renovations would be made thanks to an increase in student fees.

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