Willis_Hall_Chronology by keralaguest


									                         Willis Hall Chronology

1867      23 January – site chosen by special meeting of Board of
          September – Northfield College opened in American House

1868-69    “Fitful” construction. Called “Goodsell Hall” in the architectural
          drawings. In June of 1869, “occurred the laying of the cornerstone,
          containing diverse documents and the names of all contributors to
          the Founders’ Fund. By then the basement had been finished and
          90 cords of stone, laboriously dragged to the site by ox teams, had
          been used. Then came a halt for over a year, however, “in view of
          the fact that the subscriptions specifically made for the erection of
          the building are to so large an extent unpaid.”

1872     Original building completed September. Three story building
          designed by Minneapolis firm of Alden and Howe, and built by Mr.
          D.C. Hill of Red Wing, Minnesota at a cost of $28,000. French
          Second Empire style. Chapel chandeliers donated by William
          Carleton. Campus plan only beginning – front of building
          overlooked the Cannon River and Northfield. (to the east was a
          wheat field.) “New Hall.” December dedication, at which Minnesota
          Governor spoke. Top story men’s dormitory*; 1st floor chapel,
          remainder of space for recitation rooms, library, and “cabinet.”
          Students originally had access to the 150 volumes in the “library”
          only for an hour after lunch, which followed the daily prayer
          meetings held at noon in Willis. (*) faculty minutes from 1870’s:
          “the use of brass musical instruments having become annoying and
          detrimental in Willis Hall, it was unanimously voted that all use of
          such brass instruments in Willis Hall be restricted to the

1873      Named for Susan Willis, who donated $10,000. To retire the
          debt on it.

1879      23 December – a blizzardy day of sub-zero temperature, starting
          about 10 a.m., fire gutted the wooden inside of Willis and
          extensively damaged the central tower and third floor roof line.
          (Rice County Journal: “Carleton College Burned to the Ground.”)
          Insurance claim for $12,000. Surviving library books stored off
          campus, then to Williams when that opened in 1881.

1880      1 January – “trustees voted unhesitatingly to rebuild better
          than before. Like Grant in the Wilderness, the orders are to
          advance trusting in Providence and a reliable constituency.”
          Rebuilt – entirely new interior encompassed by the old frame, and
          exterior changes, $15,577.51. Exterior changes: elimination of a
        cornice in the top line of the mansard roof, stylization of the third
        floor dormers, and the addition of the clock tower. No longer dorm
        facilities. 2nd floor more spacious chapel, classrooms, meeting
        room for literary societies. Furnace instead of stoves. Rededicated
        in October.

1882    December – connected with parts of the town by telephone.

1886    Robins Battell of Norfolk, Connecticut donated a chime of bells
        for the new tower clock.

1894    James J. Bow '74 reminisced about the old Willis: “ To the old
        Carletonians it will ever be the Willis Hall. Affection refuses to go
        out to its newer sister, and memory fondly pauses in its reminiscent
        flight at a time when it stood in its rugged homliness as a fitting
        emblem of the true, the noble and the good.”

1903    Bookstore opened in Willis in January, in between 1st and 2nd
        floors – moved in 1904 to cubbyhold in basement. As student-run
        co-op (operated by College from 1920).

1905    Gift allowed connection of Willis and other building to a new
        sewer line, “thus doing away with expensive and objectionable

1908    Electric lights for each room.

1916    Religious activities removed to Skinner, and Willis Chapel
        becomes lecture hall.

1919   Class deans offices located in Willis – a few years.

1920s   Offices for English Department (and Latin, Public Speaking and
        Romance Languages)

1921    Bookstore installed in the south end of the basement, formerly a
        chemistry laboratory. English department took up quarters where
        the old chapel had been.

1923    A tea room and the post office located in north end of basement.
        Soon thereafter, a little theater and Carletonian office (later moved
        to Williams, then Severance, and then in 1955 back to the top of
        removed Willis) Theater on 3rd until late 1932 when Nourse Little
        Theater replaced.

        Bulletin board presented by Class of 1923 as a memorial.
1931       Offices Economics and Biography join English, Latin, Public-
           speaking and Dramatic Arts.

1934       Sociology offices added

1940       Latin moved to Williams and Economics to Leighton

1943       Classical Languages move to Willis

1948       Sociology moved elsewhere; French to Willis

1949       Trustees approved plans for conversion to memorial student
           union. (Abandoning plans to build a separate new union building.
           Funded in large part by student and alumni fund drive)

1952-54    Closed for remodeling

1954       Rededicated as the Memorial Student Union. Renovations: new
           stairways, automatic freight elevator, first floor lounges, a
           grill/snack bar, TV room, KARL radio (top floor; from Scoville
           basement), post office, bookstore, student publication rooms (Algol,
           Carletonian) and organization offices (Social Co-op, CSA, etc.),
           record library/jazz listening room, game room, a darkroom, several
           overflow classrooms. Masao “Frank” Shigemura room – main
           lounge. Eventually, offices of Director of Student Activiites.

1960s      Addition of an enclosed rear entry.

1975       Placed on the National Register of Historic Places

1979       Sayles-Hill becomes student center. Post office moved to Sayles
           (taking original Willis brass eagle mailboxes)

1979- present Offices and classrooms: Economics, Political Science,
           Educational Studies, Willis computer room.

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