Rose-Hulman, Spring, 1986

What was I doing on the roof of my residence hall that spring day my freshman year of college?

Deming Hall, oldest residence hall on campus

Nothing more nefarious than taking photographs. I’m sure the administration would not have approved of me being up there, but when an upperclass friend with an illicit building master key bade a few of us come, we went.

Baur-Sames-Bogart Hall, from the roof
Baur-Sames-Bogart Hall, from the roof

This is our building, Baur-Sames-Bogart Hall. That summer, BSB would get new windows — thank goodness, because these aluminum-framed crank-out jobs gushed heat like a sieve all winter. In the photo you can see the guy wires stabilizing the antenna mast for WMHD, the now-defunct campus radio station.

Hulman Union
Hulman Union

We ate our meals in Hulman Union, across the muck pond from BSB. It’s been expanded and remodeled so much that you’d hardly recognize it as this building today.

Moench Hall in background; Olin Hall at right

When I wrote about my visit to Rose-Hulman last fall, I shared a current photo of the quad pictured in the distance here, all landscaped and pretty. In 1986, a long driveway led in, and that was that.

Templeton Hall, RIP
Templeton Hall, RIP

Templeton Hall doesn’t exist anymore. A classroom and laboratory building stands on this spot now. Like most schools, Rose has been on a building binge in the last 20 years or so.

Moench Hall entrance

I also took some ground-level photos, like this one of Moench Hall’s old main entrance. This brick sign was brand new. The campus switchboard used to be behind those doors, and for about 10 hours every week I operated that switchboard for pay. I was working when I took this photo. The switchboard’s bell was loud enough that I could hear it all the way out here, as long as that door was open. But on a weekend afternoon like this one, that bell seldom rang. I got a lot of homework done working the switchboard.

Olin Hall and some green space

Looking west from about the same spot is this uninspiring photo of Olin Hall, which was just a few years old. Rose does a nice job maintaining its buildings. When I visited in October, Olin looked just as fresh and new as I remembered.

Moench Hall demolition

Moench Hall was being renovated when I arrived as a freshman. The building is divided into five sections, A through E. When I started at Rose, A section had already been renovated. B, C, and D sections closed for demolition halfway through my freshman year. Some buddies and I broke in to record the detritus. My crappy 110 camera wasn’t really up to the task. A buddy of mine with a Pentax SLR took much better photos. I should get him to share them. Anyway, a day or two after our covert operation a memo went out to all students warning us to stay out of the construction area. We had been detected!

Demolition of Moench Hall
More demolition

Old Moench had hardwood floors everywhere. In the hallway on the second floor, you could see through the gaps in the planks right down to the first floor. I was not at all pleased to see that the wood was being ripped out in shreds and splinters.

We found some remarkable stuff in Moench, including an old teletype, a giant bathroom mirror into which “Class of 1932” had been etched in enormous letters, and miscellaneous ancient equipment. We wondered what would become of all of this cool stuff left behind. We took some inconsequential souvenirs that night. I wanted the room number plaque for room E-104 — and Rose students will know the significance of this room — but it was already gone. So I swiped the plaque for room D-122. I still have it.

A portrait of the photographer as a young man

This is what I looked like in those days. Could my glasses have possibly been any bigger? Oh 1980s, thank goodness your fashion sense did not endure.

That upperclassman with the illicit master key gave it to me when he graduated. The worst I did with it was let myself into the building before it was officially open at the beginning of the school year, as I liked a couple of quiet days to myself before students arrived en masse. And I used it to get toilet paper out of the supply closet on the weekends when the bathroom ran out. I don’t recall ever again using it to go up on the roof.


7 responses to “Rose-Hulman, Spring, 1986”

  1. hmunro Avatar

    Now … aren’t you glad you were bit naughty by climbing up to the roof (and temporarily abandoning your switchboard)? What wonderful photos — and what wonderful memories, too. Thanks for taking us along on this trip down memory lane.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I never regret (now) taking photos like this. I wish I’d taken more. The things I’d like to see again, from back when!

  2. Dennis Wagoner Avatar

    Nice! I was in BSB then later Sharpenburg. I was always late applying for a room so I ended up on the 3rd or 4th floors of Sharpenburg.

    As for the glasses – I did not see too many style-setters during my years at Rose (1974-1978)!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Dennis! I spent four years in BSB, first on the 2nd floor and then three years in the basement. No regrets; I was happy in BSB.

      1. Dennis Wagoner Avatar

        It was a good place to stay. I had no problem with either. I would have hated a big campus.

  3. Jim Susky Avatar
    Jim Susky

    In 1977-78 freshman were required to live on-campus – probably helped with attrition.

    Still, when we returned after Thanksgiving, the body count was 25% on BSB 3rd floor – I correspond with a “coon ass” who stuck it out for one year. Over the years one would hear of another who left early. A common reaction was to adopt a face of grim determination.

    I grew up in Anchorage but thought the two coldest winters in my experience were the first two in TH – that drafty brick building (and the brick house on Kent St. I shared with three other Rose men) had a lot to do with that.

    The guy who sat next to me (alphabetical seating) at “orientation” the first day (______ Stewart – probably class of ’81) was laked three times within a week that fall. When he was found crying seated against a tree, someone (probably the RA) told them to cut it out. That guy was a DJ at BSB – got a lot of homework done “working” the station.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I was on BSB 2 my freshman year and remember losing just a few after first quarter. By my time they just cranked the boiler way up all winter and it was always 80 in the building. That was challenging in its own right. We often opened a window even when it was below freezing to make the room bearable.

      Laking was an abominable practice. It never happened to me thank God.

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