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University Historic District Walking Tour, Eastern Washington University
Item 8 of 20
This, very plain, functional styled building was erected in six months at a cost of $12, 295. It opened in the fall of 1915 housing the Manual Training department and Physical Training. From manual arts to maintenance, to Information Technology, the building has housed many unglamorous, but essential functions of the college.

  • 1916 Manual Arts building
  • Taken from the west side of the building with Monroe Hall in the background.
  • In the 1920s there were school vegetable gardens between the Training School and Manual Arts building.
  • 1946

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.

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.

When the building opened in 1915, 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 got underway 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. It is currently used, in 2016, provides office space for Information Technology Support staff.

Cecil Dryden; Light for an Empire — The history of Eastern Washington State College; 1964; Cheney Free Press; Kinnickinik 1927; Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Cheney Washington 1916-1940; The Southwest Spokane County Historical Society photograph collection.