Built in 1910 and 1912, respectively, Finney and Voorhees Halls are two of the three oldest buildings on The College of Idaho campus. Alongside Sterry Hall, their brick façades have been an iconic part of the College for more than a century. And this school year, both Voorhees and Finney are undergoing $4 million renovation projects.
While the exteriors will be fortified and the interiors completely refurbished, the memories made inside these historic walls will remain. And with 100 years’ worth of Yotes calling these two dorms home, there are plenty of stories to tell.
As torpedoes ripped into U.S. Navy boats on Dec. 7, 1941 in Pearl Harbor, shockwaves were sent across the United States. When droves of men enlisted or were drafted, colleges across the nation felt the implications that World War II would have on higher education. With declining enrollments, how would schools, such as The College of Idaho, keep from withering away like autumn leaves?
Merl Leroy Schroeder first stepped foot on The College of Idaho campus at age 17 in 1938. Born in Nebraska, Merl and his family moved to Caldwell before his junior year of high school. He spent two years at the College before the world and its chaos beckoned, leaving after his sophomore year to become a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot.
On Dec. 16, 1943, Merl and his crew were flying back from a mission over Germany. Not far from the coast of the Netherlands, a plane flying near Merl’s was hit by anti-aircraft flak. The debris tore through Merl’s aircraft.