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Museum to remember Old Main

January 21, 2014

When the fire had finished, Old Main left little to salvage beyond bricks, used to build the Chapel of Memories, and twisted metal, including a fire escape recently reclaimed by the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum. (Submitted photo)

When Mississippi State University’s Old Main dormitory burned down in January 1959, Bill Foster was not a member of MSU’s staff. But a little more than a decade later, he found himself a critical part of preserving the story of the fire.

In 1970, Foster became director of housing at MSU, and he found an 8 millimeter reel in an old desk not long after taking the position. Upon investigation, the reel turned out to be footage of the fire and its immediate aftermath, taken by an engineering student. Thanks to Foster, that footage survives today on DVD, complete with narration of his own. He may have never lived in Old Main, but he said preserving its legacy remained important to him.

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