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From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:

Student housing

Student Housing became available with the completion in 1772 of the second floor of University Hall, where the students took up residence above their classrooms. When increased enrollment called for more dormitory rooms, Hope College was built in 1822. Slater Hall opened in 1879 and in 1895 Maxcy Hall was built to house both classrooms and dormitory rooms. Caswell Hall was built in 1903. Dormitories of a temporary nature were put into use in 1892 with the opening of houses at 96 George Street with fifteen rooms and at 21 Brown Street with five rooms. The next year 27-29 Benevolent Street with 23 rooms was opened. In 1894 the house at 96 George Street was named Messer House, the house on Benevolent Street was named Pease House, and an additional dormitory next to Messer House was named Maxcy House. The next year, when Maxcy Hall was erected, Maxcy House was renamed Howell House. Pease House was not listed as a residence after 1897. In 1899 the “College Street House” with five rooms was added. Brunonia Hall (now Richardson Hall) was built in 1900 as a privately operated dormitory and acquired by the University in 1920. Hegeman Hall and Littlefield Hall were added in 1926.

Students furnished their own rooms in a variety of styles until 1935, when all dormitories were furnished by the University. George House at 36 George Street was acquired in 1937. In 1939 a portion of the graduate dormitory, formerly occupied by Lambda Chi Alpha, was demolished to make room for the John Hay Library addition, and its residents were housed at a University owned building at 34 Olive Street.

Numerous buildings have served the Women’s College and Pembroke College as dormitories. In the 1890s there was an informal dormitory for women at the corner of Waterman and Gano Streets. Slater Memorial Homestead was donated for the use of women in 1900. Miller Hall, the first on-campus women’s dormitory, was built in 1910. Some students boarded at St. Maria’s on Governor Street. East House on Meeting Street was acquired in 1912, the gift of Stephen O. Metcalf, and was used as a dormitory of the Women’s College. East House was closed when enrollment dropped in the early 1930s, but was opened again in 1935. The building was razed in 1952 to make room for the installation of Howard Terrace. Wallace House on Cushing Street was a private boarding-house before it was purchased in 1914 and renovated for use as a cooperative dormitory. Bates House on Olive Street was bequeathed to the Women’s College by Isaac C. Bates in 1913. Metcalf Hall was built opposite Miller Hall in 1919, and these two buildings were joined to the newly built Andrews Hall in 1947. Sharpe House at 130 Angell Street was acquired in 1921 and opened to fourteen women students in 1923. McVickar House (the other half of Sharpe House, numbered 132 Angell Street) was acquired in 1925, the gift of Stephen O. Metcalf, and was used as a dormitory of the Women’s College. The entire building, later known as Sharpe House, accommodated 29 women students. In 1960 it became the headquarters of the Education Department. In 1933 the women’s dormitory at 215 Bowen Street became a cooperative house managed by the students and Sharpe House became a self-help house, where students performed work in exchange for reduced board payments. Angell House at 15 Keene Street, the former home of Walter Angell 1880, was given by Stephen O. Metcalf in 1938 and used as a Pembroke College dormitory.

Two dormitories were taken over for use as offices when the reconstruction of University Hall was begun in 1939. To provide additional student housing, a house at the corner of George and Megee Street, which was named Megee House, was purchased and fitted out for 49 students. A double house near George House with room for 37 more students was also acquired and was named Warren House.

During World War II, fraternity houses at 65 Prospect Street and 96 Waterman Street were put to use as women’s dormitories in 1943. The next year women moved into 32 George Street, 41 George Street, 45 George Street, and also into George House, Horace Mann House (the former Megee House) and Warren House. In 1946-47 women were also living in Allinson House (named for Dean Anne Crosby Emery Allinson) at 48 Lloyd Avenue, Appleton House at 71-73 Brown Street, and King House (named for Dean Lida Shaw King), at 34 Barnes Street. In 1949-50 Whittier House at 171 Meeting Street replaced Appleton House. A dormitory at 15 Benevolent Street was named Russell House in honor of Jonathan Russell 1791 in 1946. It was renamed Ames House in 1956. Also pressed into service were Adams House at 10-12 George Street, (named for Vice-President James P. Adams), Hopkins House (the old “Arsdale” at 53 Waterman Street and named for Chancellor Stephen Hopkins), and Judson House, the former property of the Sisters of the Holy Nativity at 117-119 George Street (named for Adoniram Judson 1807). Edwards House was the name given in honor of Morgan Edwards to the former Faculty House at the corner of Brook and George Streets in 1947, when it became an undergraduate dormitory. In 1951 upperclass women lived in Andrews, Miller, and Metcalf Halls; Bates House was a cooperative house, and freshmen lived in Allinson, Angell, East, Sharpe and Whittier Houses. West House became a campus residence for commuting students, who used the facilities by day and were permitted a limited number of overnight stays. The West House Association was formed to organize activities for its members. The next year King House was used in place of East House. In 1953-53 Snow House at 156 Meeting Street, named for Dean Louis Franklin Snow, was added as a freshman house, and in 1954-55 Mary Emma Woolley House (named for one of the first women graduates) was opened for freshmen and sophomores at 99 Brown St. The next year Mary Woolley House and Stanton House (named for Emma Bradford Stanton 1896) at 85 Brown Street were upperclass dormitories and Snow House became one in 1956.

After Champlin and Morriss Halls were opened in 1960, Sharpe House, Stanton House, Snow House, and King House were no longer occupied. Emery and Woolley Halls completed the Pembroke Quadrangle in 1963.

The fraternities continued to occupy their houses until the early 1950s, when the houses were deeded to the University in exchanged for quarters in the new residential quadrangle, later named Wriston Quadrangle, which opened in 1951. In 1957 the Keeney Quadrangle provided six more dormitories. Several dormitories for men were acquired with the purchase of the Bryant College campus in 1969. In 1971 two new cooperative houses on Charles Field Street were opened. The residents of these paid one dollar a year for rent and did their own renovating and maintenance.

Fifty-seven Pembroke freshmen moved into the top two floors of Diman House in the Wriston Quadrangle in the fall of 1969, making it the first coeducational dormitory at Brown. Alpha Pi Lambda, which shared a building with Diman House had brought up a plan of offering associate memberships to women, which was modified to the sharing of Diman House by the fraternity and women students, who were selected by lottery from the fraternity members and women applicants. Other dormitories followed suit and became coeducational. President Swearer, in his annual Hour with the President in 1982, replied to the question, “Do co-ed dorms create problems or solve them? I would have to say ‘yes.’”

Three apartment-style buildings for 168 students were built on Young Orchard Avenue in 1973. New Pembroke with rooms for 200 students was built on Thayer Street in 1974. In the fall of 1991 the Thayer Street Quadrangle, designed by Davis Brody Associates, provided additional accommodations for more than 300 students in a new dormitory complex of two L-shaped buildings bordered by Thayer, Power, and Charles Field Streets. Many of the suites with four single bedrooms and a shared living room have bay windows. Other amenities are a library panelled with shelving transported from the trophy room in Marvel Gymnasium, and an evening snack bar named “Josiah’s” for the ubiquitous Josiah S. Carberry. There are also 24 guest rooms for visitors to the campus.

The above entry appears in Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell, copyright 1993 by the Brown University Library. It is used here by permission of the author and the University and may not be copied or further distributed without permission.

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