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Almost Yesterday is a glimpse into the rich history of our region. Dr. Frank Nickell takes listeners on a journey to specific moments in time, such as the first radio broadcast on KFVS, the history of Farmington’s Carleton College, and the short-lived safari on a Mississippi River island. A gifted storyteller and local historian, Dr. Nickell’s wit and love for the past are combined with sounds and music that augment his narrative.On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Almost Yesterday received First Place in the "Special Programs" category at the Missouri Broadcasters Association Awards Banquet in Kansas City, Missouri.Almost Yesterday airs every Wednesday at 5:42 and 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Almost Yesterday: Will Mayfield College

Southeast Missouri State University

It seems like Almost Yesterday that the last graduates of Will Mayfield College received their diplomas.  For over 50 years this institution of higher learning in Marble Hill, Missouri provided teachers and school administrators for regional and state schools.

This unique institution was founded in Sedgewickville, Missouri in 1878, but relocated in 1880 to Marble Hill by its founder, Dr. William Henderson Mayfield.

The site selected for the college was a ten acre tract along a ridge overlooking Crooked Creek and the small villages of Lutesville and Marble Hill.

Dr. Mayfield was a graduate of Carleton College in Farmington, Missouri, attended Fruitland Normal School and in 1882 received a medical degree from St. Louis Medical College. Within five years Mayfield started what became Missouri Baptist Hospital in St. Louis, and within ten years initiated additional hospitals and sanitariums in Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, and Huchow, China.

Dr. Mayfield and his wife Ellen Sitze had four children, two of whom died in infancy.  Their son, Will, died of tuberculosis in 1902, and in 1903 Dr. and Mrs. Mayfield renamed the college in their son’s honor, and thereafter it was known as “Will Mayfield College.” In 1925 the Marble Hill College had an expanding enrollment and a growing campus.  There was a large administration building, an arts and sciences building, a gymnasium, and both a mens and womens dormitory. 

Graduates of Will Mayfield College generally became teachers and administrators, and the college consistently claimed that there were more teachers in Missouri with Will Mayfield diplomas than from any other state college. But, a devastating fire in 1926 and the Depression of the 1930s led to economic difficulties, and this promising college in Marble Hill, Missouri closed its doors for good in May of 1934.

Frank Nickell is a retired history professor at Southeast Missouri State University.
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