The Malone branch of Clarkson College of Technology: 1946-1951
In March 1946, while troops were returning from war eager to get their GI Bill education, Governor Thomas E. Dewey requested each New York state college expand its facilities and faculty to be able to enroll twice as many students as its previous maximum enrollment. Up to that time, Clarkson’s peak enrollment had been 644 students.
Seeing no appropriate buildings in Potsdam, the administration had to look elsewhere, and found in Malone a suitable campus for the expansion: the old Northern New York Institute for Deaf Mutes, built in 1890. Destroyed by fire in 1911, it was replaced by three buildings named Gilbert Hall, Rider Hall and Badger Hall, which Clarkson used as administrative offices and dormitories.
Another building, constructed in 1897, had served originally as a kindergarten, but was used by Clarkson for a physics laboratory. A 1914 addition to the “kindergarten” building was used by Clarkson for mechanical drawing. The last building on campus, Ransom Hall, built in 1938, met the College’s need as a consolidated classroom and a gymnasium. Most of the buildings were also connected by underground tunnels, which came in especially handy during the winter months.
Upon its opening in October 1946, the Malone branch welcomed 250 students. Associate Professor Chester Buxton, who had taught physics at Clarkson for nine years, was appointed its first director. Other memorable Clarkson faculty members included Bill Reed, Bill Conroy, Gerry Bradshaw, Carl Diltz, Lawrence Stewart, William Stirrat, “Old Sarge” Tom Burton, and others. Gordon Lindsey succeeded Buxton to directorship of the entire Malone operation from June 1948 until it was closed.
Within 5 months, enrollment jumped up to 550. In the fall of 1947, Clarkson’s entire freshman class began at Malone and was joined by sophomore electrical engineering majors. At peak, the campus enrolled 620 students.
Clarkson students at Malone had many student activities just as Clarkson students on the Potsdam campus. It had clubs such as Management Club, Flying Club, Radio Club, Photo Club, AIChE and AIEE; and it had baseball, basketball and hockey teams, and the Numerals Club to serve at the sports letterman’s club. Chet Buxton often remarked about the fine community service performed by the men’s choir, particularly.
In 1951, enrollment dropped as the number of veterans decreased significantly and most completed their degrees. Therefore, in the spring of 1951, the Malone branch was discontinued. Since then, the campus has been home to North Country Community College and is now privately owned.
Information taken from Bradford B. Broughton's A Clarkson Mosaic, which is bits and pieces of academic, personal, sports and administrative history creating a portrait of Clarkson University's first hundred years (1896-1995).