Celebrating Caldwell Hall’s Centennial

October 17, 2023 Landry French

Hardin-Simmons University celebrated the 100th anniversary of Caldwell Hall during Homecoming weekend. Built in 1923, Caldwell Hall has continually served as the main building for the university’s music and fine arts programs. 

Fall color leaves outside of Caldwell HallWhen the building opened on Friday, September 21, 1923, it was heralded with the presentation of the best-of-the-best artists of its day as both entertainment and faculty members. Notable names who helped HSU celebrate Caldwell’s opening season included famed pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski (notable for being one of two Polish representatives to sign the Treaty of Versailles) and harpist Alberto Salvi (who HSU boasted was the greatest in the world). Among the lecturers, “America’s foremost sculptor” Loredo Taft had been recruited to teach at the university. Even with these names, though, Hardin-Simmons made sure to proudly show off their Cowboy Band in adverts at the time. 

Stories have been etched into the building’s walls and the hearts of its students. Significant names in music have visited Caldwell Hall, such as John Philip Sousa and his band, Paul Whiteman’s orchestra, flutist Ewald Haun, tenor John McCormack, pianist Mischa Levitski, and the renowned composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff. In one quaint but no less exciting day, a young pianist and her music teacher found the piano unresponsive. Upon looking in the piano, they were surprised and horrified to find a snake. (Please note Caldwell Hall does not encourage or welcome snakes into its instruments.) 

In the early 2000s, Caldwell Hall was restored to its original glory and continues to stand beautifully in 2023. To celebrate a century of Caldwell Hall, the annual All School SING! was themed around the centennial anniversary alongside performances from the Cowboy Band and the choir this past weekend.