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Diemer, Yeater halls remain vacant despite long history

The Laura J. Yeater Hall facade. (Illustration by Britain Bray, illustrator)

Life was a lot different in 1948, when the new East Hall opened for men. Students’ rooms and lounges included ash trays. East Hall gave students a comfortable living space complete with a lounge on each floor, recreation room, snack bar and laundry room. Meanwhile, women enjoyed Laura J. Yeater Hall, built eight years earlier and marketed as a “home away from home,” complete with powdering rooms and a rooftop tanning area.

Today, while other residence halls fill up, East Hall – now Diemer Hall – and Yeater Hall both sit unoccupied with locked doors. The halls were pushed into obsolescence after their occupancy numbers dwindled.

Brenda Moeder, director of Housing facilities and operations, said Diemer and Yeater closed May 2015.

Patrick Bradley, associate vice provost for student auxiliaries, said multiple factors caused the two residence halls to be closed, including the lack of modern HVAC systems, the need for major work and an overall lack of the need for excess housing.

“As you can imagine in Missouri, non-air conditioned buildings are not very popular,” Bradley said. “Those are our only two facilities that do not have air conditioning.” Bradley said that the halls are heated with steam, which does not allow the resident to adjust it.

Bradley said the university has performed multiple studies to determine whether the halls can be repurposed and how much such renovations and repairs would cost.

“We’ve talked about a lot of different things,” Bradley said. “But it all comes down to who has the money and where it’s going to come from. I would anticipate that until our economy turns around and we get more financial resources, the halls will probably sit vacant for a while.”

Major renovations, estimated to cost in excess of $6 million, would need to be done to make Diemer Hall livable. Bradley said instead of funding the renovations of Diemer and Yeater halls, Housing funds were instead invested in building The Crossing – South at Holden.

Bradley said a renovation was originally planned for Diemer, but the lack of accessibility and lack of need for excess housing units discouraged the renovation. Studies were done on whether or not the halls could house apartments, but the idea was limited by the expensive costs.

Demolition of Diemer and Yeater Halls have been ruled out due to their appearance being in line with the 2009 Housing Master Plan, as well as criticism the university received from alumni after Selmo Park was demolished.

“Both Yeater’s front entry and Diemer are aesthetically pleasing, according to our master plan,” said Bradley. “Structurally, for the most part, they’re pretty good. They also have a nice appearance when you’re looking at them from the outside.”

Bradley said that while both halls are aesthetically pleasing, it is likely they will not be renovated until the need for excess housing arises.

Archived Photos

The Arthur McClure Archives have collected memorabilia, documents and photographs of both Yeater and Diemer halls over the years.

  • Construction of Laura J. Yeater Hall was completed in 1941.
  • Laying of the cornerstone took place on November 18, 1940.
  • Women inhabited Laura J. Yeater Hall from its opening in 1941 to May 2015.
  • Similar to modern dorms, Laura J. Yeater Hall featured a lounge on each floor. Unlike modern dorms, each floor featured a fireplace in its lounge.
  • An example of what a room in Laura J. Yeater Hall would have looked like back in its heyday.
  • Residents of Laura J. Yeater Hall were able to suntan and lounge on the deck located on the roof of Yeater, overlooking the courtyard.
  • An early aerial photograph of Laura J. Yeater Hall, taken prior to the construction of Anna Marie Todd Hall.
  • The cornerstone laying ceremony for George W. Diemer Hall, originally East Hall, was held March 25, 1948.
  • According to an archived release, Phil M. Donnelly, former Missouri governor, visited the "impressive Masonic ritual" at the cornerstone laying ceremony at George W. Diemer Hall.
  • It was estimated that 2,000 attended the cornerstone-laying ceremony at George W. Diemer Hall.
  • A photo of George W. Diemer Hall after being opened.
  • The typical room in George W. Diemer Hall during its heyday.
  • Male students resided in George W. Diemer Hall between 1949 and May 2015.
  • One of the lounges found inside George W. Diemer Hall. Note the ashtrays.
  • The list of rules for George W. Diemer Hall, formerly East Hall.

Present Photos

  • The well-known facade of Laura J. Yeater Hall.
  • The plaque located inside the vestibule of Laura J. Yeater Hall reveals that the hall was used to house Navy V-12 members. That was the only time in the history of the hall that men were allowed to reside in the hall.
  • Walking through the vestibule reveals the grand front lobby, which has a fireplace.
  • Attached to the front lobby is a room which still holds trophies and awards from when Laura J. Yeater Hall was in operation.
  • The lounge on each floor of Laura J. Yeater Hall features its own fireplace.
  • Since being vacated, the paint inside Laura J. Yeater has been peeling off walls.
  • A typical room in Laura J. Yeater Hall; Yeater Hall is the only residence hall on campus that has hardwood floors.
  • Since both Laura J. Yeater and George W. Diemer Halls were both heated with steam, each room had a cast-iron radiator that continuously radiated heat into the room during the winter.
  • The paint above the shower stall in one of the restrooms in Laura J. Yeater Halls is seen falling down.
  • A look at the deck on top of Laura J. Yeater Hall where residents could go to sunbathe and lounge.
  • George W. Diemer Hall, as seen from the west side of Maguire.
  • The cornerstone of George W. Diemer Hall laid on March 25, 1948.
  • The front lobby of George W. Diemer Hall has a fireplace.
  • A typical room inside George W. Diemer Hall. Like Laura J. Yeater Hall and other residence halls on campus, the rooms are suite-style; two rooms share a bathroom.
  • One of the suite bathrooms in George W. Diemer Hall.
  • One of the lounges in George W. Diemer Hall; each floor lounge has its own fireplace.

Have memories from Diemer and/or Yeater Halls? If so, we’d be happy to hear them. Please leave a comment.

2 Comments

Stella Harris

I lived in both Yeater and Diemer as an undergraduate in the 1980s. I am sad both buildings are vacant. Yeater is beautiful inside 7and Diemer peaceful with the lovely lobby and spacious private rooms. Perhaps a use can be found for both in the near future.

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Laura Alexander

I never stayed there – I spent my four years at CMSU in Fitzgerald Hall. But, I did have friends who lived there. I think you could use them for student office space or overflow student study space. I had thought about apartments, but apparently, you already studied that. These needs to stay.

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