Mt. Morris, IL "Old Sandstone" College Building Fire, Jan 1912

Old Sandstone Fire, Jan 1912




Educational Institution Has Housed Many Men of National Prominence -- Plans Made at Once to Rebuild

(Special to The Morning Star.)
MT. MORRIS, Jan 15 -- "Old Standstone," college was destroyed by fire this afternoon entailing a loss that is variously estimated from $7,000 to $20, 000, but it has not discouraged the citizens who held a mass meeting tonight to consider rebuilding. The insurance is $5,000. "Old Standstone" [sic] is the original of the group of buildings which now comprise Mt. Morris college and the mention of the name will revive the memory of many of the elderly people of northern Illinois.

The cause of the fire is not known. Flames broke out at 2 o'clock and the ruins were burning at 7 o'clock. The stone walls are standing and can be used as a part of the new structure. The fire started in the attic presumably from an overheated furnace.

"Old Standstone" [sic] has been used principally as a dormitory in recent years, although within its walls are housed the old chapel and the agricultural and chemistry departments It is a building, four stories in height and it was famous in an early day. It occupies an eminence from which a view of the Rock River valley is obtained. Built of stone, it has withstood the ravages of years only to suffer incalculable loss by the fire field.

The original building was erected in the early '40's. It is a landmark in the history of educational institutions in Illinois and among its students are numbered many men who have gained national prominence, including Shelby M. Collum, and the late Roger R. Hitt.

The newer buildings of Mr. Morris college are nearby and that they were not caught in the flames is a fortuitous circumstance.

"Old Sandstone" was originally controlled by the Methodists although for thirty years or more it has been in possession of the Church of the Brethern. It is a prosperous institution and has bee ably supported.


The Rev. P. R. Keitner of Rockford pastor of the Church of the Brethren learned of the fire last evening through telephone communication with his son, Charles H. Keitner who is a professor in agriculture and science at Mt. Morris. No particulars were given except that "Old Sandstones" was in flame. The Rev. P. R. Keitner and Mrs. Keitner were students at Mt. Morris College in 1890 and 1891.

The Rockford Morning Star, Rockford, IL 16 Jan 1912