Baldwin Fire Anniversary Celebrates Community and Opportunity

President Sue Thomas as Zac Burden, assistant director of Residence Life, discuss the Baldwin Fire. Truman will mark the 100th anniversary of the event with a candlelight ceremony at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 at Kirk Memorial.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Baldwin Fire, considered by many to be a seminal event in the University’s history.

When the fire was discovered at around 3:30 p.m., classes were still in session. It spread rapidly, engulfing the entire building and moving to the connecting corridor of the library. Brave students ran into the library to save as many books as possible, but by 10:30 p.m., both buildings were gone.

Famously, there was an all-University meeting the next day, where students, faculty, staff and members of the community came together in support of the school, vowing it would continue. Business owners offered space in their stores, church leaders offered their sanctuaries as teaching spaces and A.T. Still University offered their campus resources too. That sense of community saved the school at a tenuous moment in its history, and it has been a hallmark in the 100 years since.

The University will honor the anniversary of the Baldwin Fire with a candlelight ceremony at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 at Kirk Memorial. The event will not only remember that day, but celebrate the sense of community that remains and can be seen in efforts like the Greenwood Interprofessional Autism Center and the Kirk Building project that will soon be a skills center supporting student success and making services available to people of Kirksville and northeast Missouri.
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