The building you are now facing is Showalter Hall, the oldest building on campus dating back to EWU's second incarnation as a teachers college. Throughout the history of EWU its development has been closely linked to the development of the local area.
Washington Territory became Washington State In November, 1889, which precipitated rapid growth in the eastern region. Before long Spokane County began to coalesce, and the residents of Cheney in particular intended their town to be the county seat and biggest settlement. By 1889, however, Cheney had lost the competition to Spokane Falls (renamed Spokane in 1891). Nevertheless, the increase in population came along with a demand for more school teachers.
Beginning in the 1880s, the territorial government began to plan a new teachers' college for Eastern Washington. At the time, most places in the United States had established Normal Schools, institutions the sole purpose of which were training school teachers. Organizers chose the site of the recently-defunct Benjamin P. Cheney academy building in1890 and classes began immediately. Unfortunately, a fire of unknown cause consumed it in 1891, but the Normal School reopened later that year after temporary headquarters were found. Two new structures (an administration building and teacher training building) were added by 1896 and 1908 respectively.
In 1912 the original administration building was destroyed in a second fire and was replaced by Showalter Hall in 1915. The teacher training building was demolished in 1940.