Sibley’s spirit lives on through dormitory

Michael Sprague Legacy Contributor

Featured Photo courtesy of Mary Ambler Archives. Sibley Hall back in 1903.

This story is part of the “Names that built LU” weekly series issued by The Legacy that has been profiling 28 campus buildings named after Lindenwood personnel.

As the second oldest higher-education institution west of the Mississippi River, Lindenwood’s campus is full of history.

Founded as The Linden Wood School for Girls in 1827, both George Sibley and his wife Mary Easton-Sibley are credited as founders of the University.

Life-long pioneers, the Sibley’s did not leave their mark on just Lindenwood. George is often described as a politician, explorer and educator according to university archives.

George did a lot of work prior to his time in St. Charles, especially at Fort Osage, located just east of present-day Kansas City, Mo.  He was heavily involved in establishing relationships with local Indian tribes according to Missouri State Archives.

Mary Easton-Sibley was much of the same, though her biggest passion was in educating. Starting with educating her sister in, Mary continued teaching throughout her time in Fort Osage.

George Sibley (left) and Mary Easton Sibley (right). Photo courtesy of Mary Ambler Archives, Lindenwood University.
George Sibley (left) and Mary Easton Sibley (right). Photo courtesy of Mary Ambler Archives, Lindenwood University.

Upon settling in St. Charles, Mary Easton-Sibley began privately educating local women on various topics. In 1827, a formal building was established, and The Linden Wood School for Girls was born. The name was derived from the abundance of linden trees in the area.

Erected in 1857, Sibley Hall started out as a three-story, 73 X 48 foot building with a full basement.  Today the hall is considerably bigger, housing up to 120 female students, according to the student handbook. Sibley Hall also features the newly renovated Sibley Chapel.

According to the student handbook, Sibley Hall was dedicated in honor of both George and Mary. It stands today as the oldest building on LU’s historic campus.

The name “Lindenwood Hall” stood as the building’s name until 1909, when it was dedicated to the Sibley’s.

Today, Sibley Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Sites in the late 1970’s.

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