The one great calamity during Dr. Griswold's tenure as principal was the September 4, 1875 fire that destroyed the dormitory building. Committees were immediately formed to aid the displaced students by providing new housing in the town and purchasing for them clothing, books, and other necessities. Plans were immediately made for the new dormitory building to be built on the same site for a cost of nearly $48,000. The cornerstone was laid at the end of October, and less than eight months after the fire it was dedicated on April 26, 1876. Fifty years later the dormitory would be named Waller Hall.
Although the normal school was prospering and now financially solvent
a controversy arose on March 23, 1877 when Dr. Griswold was accused of
teaching Spiritualism. Rumors had circulated throughout the town
about the moral and religious teaching at the school and the trustees elected
a committee to look into the allegations. In June the committee reported
back and the majority did not find any real problem, but two members had
talked to a faculty member who thought that Griswold was undermining religious
thought and beliefs in both chapel and the classroom, and this was beginning
to erode the convictions of some of the students. When the
board met again in July it refused to re-elect Dr. Griswold for a second
term by a vote of nine against and eight in favor. Problems continued
with Griswold however when he claimed the school owed him nearly $2000.
The case dragged on and little by little the debt to Dr. Griswold was paid,
although the situation was further complicated in 1878 when contractors
on the dormitory demanded more money. It was not until a special
state appropriation came through in 1880 that all debts were cleared, and
the relationship between Bloomsburg and T.L. Griswold finally ended.
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