Dorms of years past: Allison Residential Community

    Opened in 1960, the $1,400,000 building was named after Mrs. John Allison who bequeathed a gift of $1 million to the school for the construction of a women’s dormitory. From 1976, the fourth floor housed a women studies-focused residential college, but in 1981, the residential college was moved to Hobart where it continued its activities. Four years later, the dorm turned co-ed.

    If you took a ride on a time machine to step into the then-new Allison, you would have been ushered in by a main entrance hall with wooden panels set on the walls and a wood screen hiding the row of mailboxes next to the main desk – it must have been beautiful. Ah, Hotel Allison, it’s glad to know you haven’t changed. 

    Fun fact: Allison was the first women’s dorm to have both the lounge and dining room air conditioned. As usual, always one step ahead of other dorms.

    The library was furnished with maple, a salt and pepper rug on the ground and brown and white draperies and cream walls. Quite fittingly, scarlet and white alphabet patterned wallpaper lined the shelves. Dated Sept. 19, 1960.

    The main lounge boasted soft blue walls and blue tweed rugs, a central fireplace and adjacent “date rooms” available for entertaining visiting boys. What more could the Allison girls have asked for for a cozy night in? Dated Sept. 19, 1960.

    Off-white draperies with white and pastel pink abstract design lent a sweet touch to the cream colored walls and fruitwood furniture in the dorm rooms.

    The dining room was blue and yellow, with sunshine yellow and white draperies. Four private dining halls were also available for small parties and the kitchen and cafeteria line were designed to accommodate twice its initial capacity: a thing to be thankful for half a century later given the mile-long line in the dining hall every Friday for hot cookie bar.


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