The City The University

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Six ‘Hidden’ Places on YSU’s Campus

By Tyler Rothbauer

Each profile in this story details a ‘hidden place’ on the campus of Youngstown State University. Although some of these locations are in plain sight, the ‘hidden’ aspects are detailed in the story below.

Archives and Special Collections, Maag Library

Maag Library is named after the late William F. Maag Jr. Maag was a Youngstown native who served as editor and publisher of The Vindicator newspaper in Youngstown, Ohio, for more than 40 years. He also served as a trustee for YSU and the public library in Youngstown for many years.

An image of the entry to Archives and Special Collections on the 5th floor of Maag Library
Maag Library – Archives and Special Collections, 5th Floor

The upgraded library took nearly three years to complete but became the official YSU library in 1976, replacing the former library located in Tod Hall. There are six floors in all, with a unique aesthetic below the sixth floor. The fifth floor of Maag is the archives. All University records and documents are kept here and it is open to the public. There is so much more than that however.

An astounding rare book collection and endless shelves of university and Youngstown community artifacts makes a diverse experience for those interested in the history of YSU and the greater Mahoning Valley area. Visitors to Archives and Special Collections will find bountiful assistance from its staff. Exhibitions are displayed frequently, showcasing various campus-related novelties and historical items. Right now, an exhibit depicting the Ward-Beecher planetarium is on display, as the planetarium celebrates its 50 year anniversary.

For more on Special Collections and Archives, visit their information page.

Wick House

This former Wick family mansion was renovated some years ago to house YSU students. The residence is daunting, especially to those who do not live there. The reasoning simple; it is supposedly haunted.

In 1912, Mollie Wick and her husband Col. George Wick Jr. traveled aboard the ill-fated Titanic. When the ship began to sink after striking an iceberg, Mollie was rescued but her husband perished. She returned home a widow.

Rumors of a haunting in Wick House by Mollie’s ghost first began when YSU purchased the building as a student housing facility in the 1980s. Students reported strange occurrences and a ghostly presence, particularly on the second and third floors. The university temporarily closed the building several years ago as the persistence of this haunting was apparently overwhelming but it has since reopened as a co-ed, on-campus housing facility.

McDonough Museum of Art

The McDonough Museum of Art, located across Wick Avenue from the Butler Institute for American Art, showcases contemporary artworks, including the work of YSU students. The interior is light with relaxing nooks conducive to reading. There is also a medium-sized lecture hall, where artists present lectures open to the public.

Currently the Spring 2018 senior graduating exhibition is on display in the museum. The artwork of the students will be on display until Friday, May 5.

Underground Tunnels?

Claims of their existence beneath YSU have yet to be verified as there was no “in” through the maintenance facilities, but it is rumored that there are tunnels underneath campus, leading every which way. Cassie Nespor, curator of Special Collections and Archives at YSU, stated that she has seen an ominous door to one of these tunnels open once before.

It would be logical to speculate that they begin branching out from the massive boiler room adjacent to the Watson-Tressel Center, that seems to spit out mist and coat the glasses of students even on rainless days.

Alumni House / Fok Hall

According the the Mahoning County Historical Society, this is the oldest structure still standing on Wick Avenue and appears on the National Register of Historic Places. The house, built in 1865, was remodeled in the 20th century when it was acquired by YSU.

Remnants of old are still evident both inside and outside the house. It it very well-maintained. In 2014, the Fok family donated $2.5 million to YSU to rename the house Fok Hall.

Butler Institute of American Art

YSU is fortunate to have such a luxury in such close proximity to campus. The Butler Institute of American Art, the first museum in the United States to exclusively showcase American art,  is host to a variety of circulating pieces of modern art – from sculptures to rich paintings with vivid American history. The museum receives no revenue from the city or county and admission is always free, although donations are accepted.

Some other features on campus.