Let the Columns Stand
How Mizzou almost lost its iconic landmark
The fire that consumed Academic Hall in 1892 spared the six limestone columns. But These columns were almost lost when the rubble from the fire was being cleared. Board of Curators president Gideon F. Rothwell ordered two mule teams to tear them down.
[The remains of Academic Hall on the quad with the columns standing.]
Columbia citizen Jerry Dorsey sought Rothwell and protested the destruction of the columns.
[Dorsey and Rothwell in a fist fight.]
Dorcy: They could not be pulled down by a herd of elephants!
Rothwell: They’re coming down even if I have to dynamite them!
The argument progressed to fisticuffs.
After a judicial writ to delay destruction was issued, Mizzou Alumni Association President Gardiner Lathrop gave a tear-filled plea to the Board of Curators that the columns be preserved.
[Lathrop with a tear in his eye addressing a concerned board that includes Rothwell.]
Lathrop’s speech was so convincing that Rothwell had a change of heart and spoke the famous words …
[Rothwell proclaiming, with a black eye, … ]
Let the columns stand. Let them stand for a thousand years.