Castle on the Hill
In the late 1800s, the businessmen and citizens of Alva could not see the rationale in sending their young people to Edmond (the only normal institute in the general area) for schooling, so they began a crusade for the establishment of an institution of higher education in the northwest part of Oklahoma Territory. On Sept. 20, 1897, the Northwestern Territorial Normal School opened with an enrollment of 58 students. Classes were held in the Congregational Church, and later the Baptist Church.
As attendance and faculty increased, there was a need for a permanent home for the normal school. "The Castle on the Hill" was then built and was dedicated in 1898. The cost was set originally at $86,018 but was increased to $110,000 before the project was completed. It was said to be one of the largest and most beautiful normal school buildings west of the Mississippi River. The "Castle" burned March 1, 1935.
Today's Jesse Dunn Building, finished in 1937, sits on the land once occupied by the "Castle."