The video segments in this section are from a talk that Mike gave as part of an Educational Interpreter Institute during August of 2002 in Noyes Auditorium at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf in Faribault. In the audience are about 50 educational interpreters who work throughout the state. Because it is an actual event, later texts may draw on information provided in previous ones. Additionally, with interaction with the audience, some relevant information was not captured by the camera. The summaries provide some of the contextual information which might not be included in the video.
A Cannon on Campus
Mike explains why there is a cannon on the MSAD campus and how it relates to the school?s history. (2:50) Written summary of Text
Mike explains about the history of Frechette Hall, which is now the boys? dorm on campus. (1:18) Written summary of TextWritten summary of Text
Mike tells of Barron Hall, the dorm where he stayed when he was a student. (3:17) Written summary of Text
Mike explains brieflyabout Mott Hall, and Rodney Mott who it is named after. It was at this point on the tour that rain forced participants inside. (1:02) Written summary of Text
Mike goes into more detail about the original Mott Hall, and Rodney Mott, who is the man after which the building was named. (4:39) Written summary of Text
Noyes and the No Yes Society
Mike explains about the No Yes Society and a tradition of debating and interpretation. He also explains about Noyes, who was superintendent of the school from 1866-1896. (3:52) Written summary of Text
Mike tells a few of the many stories circulating about the ghost of Noyes. (2:01) Written summary of Text
A Legacy of Good Teachers
Mike describes some of the many people who became prominent on a national level and also spent some time in Faribault at MSAD. (4:04) Written summary of Text Written summary of Text
Mike tells about his fourth grade teacher who was also the leader for the Girls Scouts. (1:45) Written summary of Text
Signs of Minnesota
Mike describes how people at Gallaudet were able to recognize him as a Minnesotan when he first arrived. (0:54) Written summary of Text
Life in the Tunnels
Mike tells of some of the antics that the boys got themselves into in the tunnels which connect the older buildings on campus. (2:44) Written summary of Text
And the Consequences….
Mike describes some of the consequences for the antics described in the previous segment. (1:28) Written summary of Text
A Cannon on Campus
Mike begins asking why a cannon might be on campus when Deaf people cannot serve in the military. Someone off camera responds that it is maybe for waking up students. Mike responds that the girls? dorm was too far off for them to hear. With the boys? dorm closer, they might be able to feel a blast. He then goes on to explain some of the symbolism behind its presence. There used to be a militia on campus, established in 1915. A Deaf man, named Quinn, came to MSD from the Fanwood school in New York, which was a military school. At that time, Quinn approached Tate, who was the third superintendent of the school, with the idea of starting a militia, and in 1915, this came to be. It was popular with the boys and soon grew in size. They practiced for the Faribault parades and were a “crack squad” in their ability to march with rifles. Many people wondered who they could have such good timing without being able to hear. Boys also joined the Hermain Society which was also formed in 1915. The goal of the boys? in this society was to earn a badge which read, “Ich Bien” which meant “I Serve.” The militia continued until 1952. At that point, there were more programs and opportunities for students and so interest in the militia faded. So this connection to the militia is the reason why the cannon is on the campus.
The cannon had been on campus for many years, and then suddenly disappeared for a year. Then, the school received a call from Shattuck, the private school which is next to MSD. Shattuck conincedentally was also a military school until 1974. They had discovered it in a ravine, seemingly there from some prank. After determining it belonged to MSD, it was returned to its present location to stay as a part of history. Back to Video
MMike is describing Frechette Hall (F-H) which was named after Edward Frechette, a hearing man who started working at MSD in 1906 as a houseparent. Deaf people who were at the school before Mike?s time said that Frechette was a great guy. A large man who never married and was a fluentsigner, he was just a good person. The dorm was opened in 1968 when Mike was a small boy. The building has three units. A unit is for the youngest children. B unit is in the middle, and C unit is for high school students. It also has a lobby. It also has a weight room, a card room, and an education center that both the girls and boys use. It?s now over thirty years old. Back to Video
Mike describes Barron Hall, which was his favorite dorm. It was built in 1892 and demolished in 1970. It was almost 80 years old when it was torn down and was a huge building, with 5 floors. Initially, Mike described it as 100 ft by 200 ft, and then, after more thought, described it as 86 ft by about 260 ft.. It had two sides, East and West, and people used to say where they slept by saying EAST or WEST. He also described how age categories were described and that younger children began on the East side of Barron Hall and worked their way up to the West side. The youngest group?s sign was a 1 handshape at the nose, which was up to 3rd grade. The second group was 4th and 5th grade, and the 3rd Group was 5th and 6th Graders. The older students were on the West side and had a similar, somewhat confusing, naming system. Generally, it was a source of pride to make it to the West side with the older boys and be away from the younger children.
Mike then describes some antics in the playroom. This room had pipes which the students used for jungle bars, only the pipes were 50 feet off the ground. Sometimes, they would hit a hot pipe and have to quickly move to another cooler pipe. So, it was a little dangerous, but fun. Barron Hall also had tunnels that connected to all the other buildings on campus. Many people were sad to see Barron Hall go.
The building was named after a man named Horace Barron who was a State Seward (Ed. Note: possibly Steward) who lived in Faribault. A hearing person, he was a big supporter of the school, and went to the legislature often to get funding for the school. Back to Video
Mott Hall is named after Rodney A. Mott, who was a lawyer and legislator from Faribault. He served on the board here for 50 years. He lived not too far away on Mott Ave. Mike has read a lot about Mott. He didn?t know sign language, but his vision for and understanding of the needs of Deaf people was impeccable. He is one of the people from history that Mike wishes he would have had the chance to meet. He wishes he could have an interpreter there with him (or perhaps all of the interpreters to whom he is talking right now.) Regardless, Mott was really a wonderful person.
Old Mott Hall, which he had mentioned before in having things moved to other buildings from there, was in this place. He then describes its dimensions, placement, and relationship to the road. He also describes the central portion of it which was an 150 foot tower. He plans to show pictures of old Mott Hall later when the tour gets to the museum.Back to Video
Mike goes back to talking about old Mott Hall. It was built in two parts between 1874 and 1879. First the north part was built, then the south, and then center. Mike indicates he will show a picture of it later over in the museum. It was finishedin 1879 and was torn down in 1926. Some deaf people think it was a good idea to tear down the building because it was deteriorating. Mike believes they should have saved the central tower because of its beauty. It turns out the building had lots of rotten wood in it, so it was not a clear decision, but Mike believes it sad to have lost a building like that which he thinks was one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Minnesota.
The building itself was very tall and named after Rodney Mott. The reason it was so tall was because Mott, who was hearing, wanted Deaf people to be able to look out and see what was going on in the broader world. To see the trains, business, and economy of the town. These would things hearing people might get by listening, but Deaf people needed to “visually” hear them. This is the type of “out of the box” thinker that Mott was.
Mott was one of three Commissioners who were involved in setting up the school after a law was passed in 1863. The other two commissioners aren?t as significant because they were always to busy with their schedules. But Mott was a very laid-back person who got the work done. He was a lawyer, so also very busy, but he would take on the responsibility when other commissioners were too busy to do it. He?d roll up his sleeves and go to it. He took the train to Ohio to finda superintendent for the school, Rosewell Kinney. At that time, the school was in downtown Faribault near the Library, Mike asks if people know where the library is, just down on the big bridge. He then explains the old school was across from where the library is. It was only there for 3 years. They had already bought land, 40 acres, out near where I-35 and the mall is now. But that spot was far away from the train (and back then there were no cars) so it seemed like very far away. So an agreement was made with the city of Faribault to exchange that land for the land on the top of the hill where the school is today. So that process all started in 1863. Then, 1866, and finally in 1874, the school was up on campus where it is now.
The school started with 14, no, 3 students. Rodney Mott worked with the school for 50 years, and by the time he retired, he had seen the school to grow to over 300 students. The first student to graduate was in 1869, a woman named Anna Barnes. And she was the first of between 4 and 5 thousand students who have been through this school. Back to Video
Noyes and the No Yes Society
Mike looks out the window to Noyes Hall (N-H) and then starts to talk about the NO-YES Society which was established in1887. It was begun as the debate team. Every Saturday, boys and girls would gather in the auditorium, or in another meeting room, to discuss different topics. Sometimes it was just a single word. For example, Mike read that they discussed the word “messenger” and its different meanings and interpretations. Mike starts off saying it was the 1892 minutes, but then changes that to the 1891 minutes where he read of that debate. So the participants all discussed the different meanings and interpretations of the word, “messenger,” and they had judges who had to listen to be able to tell who was making good points in the debate. That?s why it was named the No Yes Society. It was named after the second superintendent of the school, Jonathon Lovejoy Noyes. He was the superintendent here for 30 years, from 1866-1896. People have said that he was a very good superintendent. A graduate of Yale, he met Laurent Clerc. (Mike then asks if people are familiar with the name sign for Clerc.) Clerc was know as the “first teacher in America,” and he knew Noyes. Of course, Noyes knew of Clerc, and Noyes brought all of that history, culture, attitude, and support of Deaf Schools from the American School for the Deaf was the first one established. That was in Connecticut. Mike then thinks for a while about Noyes name sign, and then goes on to say that Noyes was a very competent signer. And when he died, all of the pallbearers at his funeral were deaf. When he retired from here, he built a home downtown which is still there. It is a beautiful house that is now a bed and breakfast. That home was designed by a Deaf man, Olof Hanson. Anyway, the building next to the one he is talking is named after him. Noyes Hall was started in 1902, or the East Wing was started in 1902. The East Wing and Central portion were built by 1910. Mike talks about the Central dome, where the auditorium is, and mentions the paintings which his audience had seen the previous night. The paintings are of sculpted hands, and Mike points out that their meaning is really left up to the interpretation of the viewer. That painting was done during the WPA years. (Ed. Note: Work Projects Administration—part of the New Deal.) Back to Video
Some people have heard of ghost stories related to Noyes Hall. There are many stories, though Noyes is known as a “friendly” ghost. Or at least to Deaf people; Mike isn?t so sure if he is friendly to hearing people. Mike maybe saw the ghost one time on the west window of Noyes Hall. He was with a group of Deaf people and looked up to see a glowing circle—which possibly was Noyes. Other stories are of chairs moving during plays, or people feeling an unexpected breeze pass them. So it seems possible that Noyes is roaming the hall named after him. There are so many stories about this. One man, on seeing the ghost, ran down the hill and forgot about a clothesline. He was looking behind and ran into the line which sent him flying15 feet. Just one of many stories—about the ghost being friendly, or just passing by, or being involved with the theater. Doug Bahl, who was an instructor and director for the theater program, has many Noyes ghost stories. Mike isn?t afraid to walk at night, however. He knows that Dr. Noyes was good to deaf people. If he saw the ghost, he?d probably strike up a conversation in ASL with him. Anyway, Noyes actually died in 1905. Back to Video
A Legacy of Good Teachers
Mike is talking about some of the legendary figureson campus. One is Louis A. Tuck who graduated from the American School for the Deaf and lived to be 90 years old. He worked as the school librarian for 55 years after having traveled around the country and finallysettling here in Minnesota. MSAD has been fortunate to have over the years many “household” names, both Deaf and hearing, who once worked or taught here. Many children of Deaf parents who taught here later went on to become superintendents of other Deaf schools. (These CODAs or Children of Deaf Adults) Louis A. Roth had two boys who went on to be Superintendents of schools in Kansas and Arizona. And those are just a few of the many luminaries in MSAD history.
Another person who was here was Byron B. Burns (BBB), a famous teacher who started his teaching career here. He later moved to California and thought there for 34 years, but Minnesota has a long line of good teachers…and good dorm people too. People who worked in the dorm here and then went on to other things. One of them is Bummy Bernstein, a famous figure in the National Association of the Deaf and a Deaf parliamentarian. He?s famous for his workshops and lectures as one of the only Certified Deaf parliamentarians in the nation. He taught here for 15 years. He taught English, or rather, he taught Math. So looking back at MSAD?s history, there were a lot of good teachers who taught here or started their careers here. And those people all said that working in Minnesota was a very positive experience.
At Gaulladet as well, Mike found that many people talked positively of Minnesota. On Gallaudet?s campus, there is a building named after a graduate of MSD—the Washburn Art Building. When Mike was first there, he wasn?t aware of that because their were no Deaf Culture studies during his time. So, when he first got the tour at Galladuet (just like the tour he was giving to his audience) someone told him that Washburn was from Minnesota, but he didn?t know anything about him. Mike discovered that he was Cadwaller Washburn who lived to 99. He was a writer during the Boer war, which was way back in history involving the British. He wrote for the New York Times and also did drawings and paintings. Some of his art and pencil sketches are in museums around the world. In Thompson Hall (T-H ) the portraits of Indians in the kitchen are Caddy?s work. Mike then asks who in the audience has visited Thompson Hall, the Deaf Club in St. Paul and explains again that there are many of his drawings there. But his point is that there are many buildings named after graduates from Minnesota. And one building still standing was designed by Olof Hanson, who was a world renowned Deaf architect. He designed may state buildings and was from here. And Gaulladet still has one of the buildings that he designed. So, there is a legacy from this school that goes on.Back to Video Back to Video
Mike is explaining about the Girl Scouts? and their leader, Mary Bowen. She was Mike?s former 4th grade teacher. She was so gifted in sign language that Mike was convinced that she was Deaf. For the longest time, he continued with that idea. About 4 months later, he saw her talking in the hall and was talking with his friend about how good she could talk, and then someone called her name and she turned her head toward the sound, and Mike realized she could hear. He later found out that she was indeed hearing, but her father was a famous Deaf man, John Bowen, a veritable household name here. He was a strong leader and advocate here and he had two daughters, one of which was Mary, who was Mike?s teacher and a Girl Scout leader for over 40 years. The girls loved Mary and Mike really liked her as a teacher because her signing was so smooth. He was floored when he later found out that she could actually hear. She was about 98 years old when she died.Back to Video
Signs of Minnesota
Mike talks about how at Gallaudet, many people recognized him as being from Minnesota, even if they hadn?t met him before. He soon learned that the tell-tale sign was his “P”. After observation, Mike realized that Minnesotans were the only ones who made the P as he did. That use of the P is changing now, but when Mike was youngers, there was much more of a predominance of the “Minnesota P.” Lots of people at Gallaudet teased him for his use of it, especially the emphasis of the “thick” P related to the sign for Party and Politics. But the more he was teased, the more resolute Mike became in keeping that way of signing P. But he was impressed how people were able to tell he was from Minnesota, until he realized that it was the “P” which gave him away. Back to Video
Life in the Tunnels
Mike is telling the story of using the tunnels at the school which connect the different buildings. The boys found a key and found their way through the tunnels to the pantry, where the pies and cakes were—but before you knew it, they were gone. The next day, the girls would wonder where their pies and cookies were. And Mike would ask the same questions. One or two years later, Mike finallyadmitted that he was behind those disappearances—and the girls were upset about him taking their pies. In response to an audience question, he said that they kept it quiet (about going through the tunnels) because they didn?t want the consequences which were pretty rough. But it was fun, looking back. They would eat cookies until someone said the dog was there. They had the same night watchman for a long time. He always brought a dog with him. So, when they would see the dog, or the shadow of them on the wall, they would run for their “dear lives” to the dorm. Sometimes, when he would get to the door, his friend would have shut the window. And so he would walk into the dorm looking very confused and claim that he was sleepwalking. The dormparent would ask questions, but he would talk his way through. The reason they had to go through the window was because the tunnels led to the power plant, (which was a building he had shown previously on the tour.) The tunnels led to some other buildings that were closed. But with the new dorm, they didn?t connect any tunnels to it because they knew the boys were using the tunnels. So, they had to exit through the power plant—which had metal stairs which made a lot of noise if they didn?t walk carefully on them. So, they would wait for the right time to leave and then run for the dorms. Mike says that it was fun—and he did it for the exercise. And then he says he better stop his stories there. Back to Video
And the Consequences….
In this text, Mike is talking about the consequences for misbehavior in the dorms. He says that Barron Hall had the cleanest floorsin the world because the boys? consequences for misbehavior was to have to polish the flooruntil it shined so much you needed to wear sunglasses. It was a black tile floorthat students would have to go back and forth over and polish. Sometimes, the houseparents would tell them to stop and go into the library. This was when parents would arrive to drop off their kids. The parents would remark that the floorwas tremendously clean, and Mike wanted to take credit for that shine, but he never did. Once the parents were seen to be in their cars and on their way, the houseparents got the students back to polishing the floo. Mike?s parents would always complain about him wearing holes in the knees of his new jeans, which was from all the polishing he had to do. In fact, you could sometimes see a line of boys marching back to the dorm—all with holes in the knees—marks of the consequences of their misbehavior.Back to Video
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