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1915 – Manual Arts / Huston Hall

snow, tees, and building

This, very plain, functionally styled building was erected in six months at a cost of $12,295. The hall opened in the fall of 1915, housing the Manual Training and Physical Training departments of the Normal School. From manual arts, maintenance, to Information Technology, the building has housed many unglamorous, but essential functions of the college.

Map of location of Huston Hall
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1915 Manual Arts Building
Original Manual Arts building

The building you see today, barely resembles the original. The interior has been completed gutted and remodeled, while the exterior has additional wings, as well as other changes. .

side view of building
East side view

You might expect manual arts to include woodworking, but it also included needlework, basketry, sewing, and drawing.

Prior to 1915, the Manual Training department had been located in the northeast wing of the 1896 Normal School building. With construction of the new Normal, the Trustees decided that a separate facility was needed. This was both for expansion of the Manual Training department and for safety concerns. The fire that had destroyed the old school had started in the Manual Training department. From 1912 to 1915, the department had operated in the basement of the 1908 Training School building.

front view of building
Manual Arts, 1923

When the building opened, it took the new name, Manual Arts. In 1933, the name changed to Industrial Arts along with a change in the curriculum. With the completion of Cheney Hall for Industrial Arts in 1969, the Maintenance Shop moved in. The new Surbeck Services facility for the maintenance shop opened in 1981, and planning began to turn the old Manual Arts building into a computer center.

Construction of the new Computer Center commenced in February 1984. An old addition to the Manual Arts building was demolished, and the interior was gutted. New wings were then added on the east and north of the original building.

The building was renamed for former English professor and benefactor, Frances B. Huston in 2006. As of 2016, the building provided office space for Information Technology Support staff as well as general classroom space.

Huston Hall | Spokane Historical

Huston, first constructed in 1915, is one of the oldest buildings on the EWU campus. Over the years, the building became known for its versatility and its association with technical vocations.

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