College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Cupola repairs on the way for WSU’s historic livestock pavilion

The cupola and pennant of the 1933-built Ensminger Pavilion, the former livestock judging pavilion at WSU, get a restoration this summer.
The cupola and pennant of the 1933-built Ensminger Pavilion, the former livestock judging pavilion at WSU, get a restoration this summer.

Washington State University’s Ensminger Pavilion, a former livestock-judging barn turned events center, gets an upgrade to its historic cupola this summer.

The 1933 pavilion’s aging wooden cupola and weathervane pennant will be renovated with modern materials. The $13,000 project will wrap by autumn.

Prior to renovations in the early 2000s, the former Livestock Judging Pavilion was the oldest original building still used for its original purpose on the WSU campus.

Designed by university architect Stanley Smith, who also designed the Smith Gym and White Hall, it was part of an agricultural complex that included the beef barn that became the Lewis Alumni Centre in the 1980s.

Over seven decades, thousands of animal science students took classes in the pavilion, learning how to judge the meat quality of pigs, sheep and cattle. Archaeology students once practiced excavation techniques in its dirt floor. The WSU marching band practiced inside, and the student horticulture club sold plants on Mom’s Weekend from the pavilion’s wooden bleachers.

A 1950s-era purebred sale held at the Livestock Judging Pavilion, today’s Ensminger Pavilion. Ringmen, standing around the edge, assist the auctioneer.
A 1950s-era purebred sale held at the Livestock Judging Pavilion, today’s Ensminger Pavilion. Ringmen, standing around the edge, assist the auctioneer.

Pavilion’s heyday

More than a classroom, the pavilion was a gathering place for farmers, ranchers and educators. Annual field days and Livestock Feeder’s Days welcomed up to 800 people to the pavilion. Land Grant Day dances and auctions were held every autumn. Crooner Bing Crosby once attended a livestock judging event at the pavilion, when his sons studied at WSU in the early 1950s.

Dr. M.E. Ensminger, who was head of the animal sciences department at WSU from 1941 until 1962, welcomed farmers from across the country to the big Feeders’ and Field Days.

“Farmers would drive up in pickup trucks,” said Everett Martin, a retired WSU animal sciences professor.  “Ensminger pulled people in from everywhere… He would always get the president of the university to come.”

Martin, who taught meat science from 1970 to 2006, was the last professor to hold classes inside the judging pavilion.

Bing Crosby, fourth from right, examines a bull during a judging event at the pavilion in the 1950s. M.E. Ensminger, Animal Sciences department chair, stands at left.
Bing Crosby, fourth from right, examines a bull during a judging event at the pavilion in the 1950s. M.E. Ensminger, Animal Sciences department chair, stands at left.

“It was perfect,” he said. Long and spacious, with plenty of light, the pavilion was a short walk from Clark Hall, the animal sciences building. Martin’s students could get hands-on training without the five-mile trek to the university’s barns.

Deterioration

Over the years, the pavilion aged and changed. A meat laboratory with overhead rails and freezers was built on the south side. On the north side, the main entrance was closed and replaced with windows when Wilson Road was elevated.

By 2001, the pavilion’s interior was beat up. Outside, it was covered in ugly, yellow lead paint.

“It was considered an eyesore,” said Pete Jacoby, a Crops and Soil Sciences professor and, at the time, associate dean of the then-College of Agriculture and Home Economics (CAHE), renamed the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences in 2003.

The university was leaning toward demolition, but some students and faculty had other ideas.

Several CAHE students started a campaign, first dubbed “Save Our Building,” or S.O.B., later “Save The Old Pavilion,” or S.T.O.P., to give the pavilion a new life.

Thanks to the efforts of Martin, CAHE students and faculty, the campus historic preservation committee, and university administrators, in 2002 the pavilion was saved from demolition. Steve Mallory, the senior architect with WSU’s Facilities Operations, worked with Martin, Jacoby and other staff on a plan to turn it into an events center, paired with Lewis Alumni Centre.

M.E. Ensminger, pictured in 1942, led the Animal Sciences department at WSU for 21 years, hosting thousands of farmers at the livestock pavilion. The restored pavilion was named in his honor.
M.E. Ensminger, pictured in 1942, led the Animal Sciences department at WSU for 21 years, hosting thousands of farmers at the livestock pavilion. The restored pavilion was named in his honor.

Ensminger donation

Key funding came from Audrey Ensminger (Class of 1943), widow of Dr. Ensminger. Her memorial led to the building’s new name, Ensminger Pavilion.

M.E. Ensminger had left an important legacy at WSU. As department chair for 21 years, his efforts made the college’s animal sciences department one of the best in the country. He was instrumental in the construction of the Cattle Feeding Laboratory and Hilltop Stables. Both he and Audrey were internationally known textbook authors.

Restoration and upgrade

In the 2002 restoration, contractors blasted off the original lead paint and added new metal siding. Old windows were replaced, and on the south wall, the former meat lab was removed, adding a bank of large doors and bringing the barn back to its original shape. Later, a concrete floor was added, and inside bleachers were moved and reduced. The college’s Horticulture Club added attractive, decorative planters to the new entrance.

Last summer, when workers replaced Ensminger’s roof, they noticed dry rot in the cupola. The university approved funding for a restoration that will match the look of Ensminger’s historic cupola, but with modern materials. The top pennant will be replaced by a larger weathervane with crimson highlights.

Today, the pavilion remains well used by groups from across the WSU campus.

“It serves a really fine purpose,” said Jacoby. “The lesson learned from this is the meaning of team: Together, everyone accomplishes more.”

Links:

• Learn more about the WSU Department of Animal Sciences at http://www.ansci.wsu.edu/

• Learn more about the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at http://cahnrs.wsu.edu/

• Photos in this article are from Manuscripts, Archives & Special Collections, WSU Libraries

CAHNRS is more than agriculture. With 24 majors, 19 minors, and 27 graduate level programs, we are one of the largest, most diverse colleges at WSU. CAHNRS Cougs are making a difference in the wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities, improving ecological and economic systems, and advancing agricultural sciences.

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Agricultural Research Center

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The goal of the Washington State University CAHNRS Office of Research is to promote research beneficial to the citizens of Washington. The Office of Research recognizes its unique land-grant research mission to the people of Washington and their increasing global connections. The CAHNRS Office of Research provides leadership in discovering and applying knowledge through high-quality research that contributes to a safe and abundant food, fiber, and energy supply while enhancing the sustainability of agricultural and natural resource systems.

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Alumni & Friends

Holiday Hours & End-Of-Year Giving

It’s that time of year again—time for sharing merry moments with family and friends. As you prepare for the holidays, consider these year-end giving tips below. We know how important the last few days of 2015 will be for meeting tax deadlines, and we are here to help make the process as easy as possible.

Please note the WSU Foundation’s hours of operation through the end of the year:

Dec. 2 – Dec. 23: Normal operation (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)

Dec. 28 – 31: Although Washington State University and the WSU Foundation will be closed, WSU Foundation gift accounting and gift planning staff will be available by phone from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. throughout this week. If you would like to give a gift of appreciated stock or discuss your year-end giving plans to benefit WSU, please call 1-800-448-2978.

Making a gift online using the WSU Foundation’s secure site is an easy way to make your year-end gift using a credit or debit card any time, day or night. Note: Online gifts may be made as late as 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31 to receive tax credit for 2015.

Thank you for your generous support of Washington State University throughout the year. Have a wonderful holiday season!

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Remember, only gifts made by Dec. 31 can help reduce your 2015 taxable income. Please keep the following in mind and consult your tax advisor for specific details.

To Receive 2015 Tax Credit:

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The date you deliver or mail your donation is generally recognized as the gift date for tax purposes. Please note, the date on the actual check or money order is not recognized by the IRS as proof of your intent to give on a particular date. Gifts by check or money order may be mailed to:

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Note: Gifts may be hand-delivered to the WSU Foundation Town Centre Suite 201 during hours of operation.

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The date your account is debited is considered the date of the donation. In order to receive a 2015 charitable income tax deduction, credit card gifts must be processed against your account in 2015. Please make sure to make your gift online using your Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.

Have your stocks gone up in value this year? Consider making a simple and tax-wise gift of appreciated stock. Please note that mutual fund shares may take several weeks to transfer, and the gift is not considered complete until the shares are received in the WSU Foundation’s account. To give the University stock or discuss your year-end gift to WSU, please call 1-800-448-2978.

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Contact Dean’s Office:
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PO Box 646242
Pullman WA 99164-6242
deans.cahnrs@wsu.edu
509-335-4561

Lisa Johnson:
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Hulbert 421C
PO Box 646242
Pullman WA 99164-6242
janowski@wsu.edu
509-335-3590








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