Dorms of years past: Shepard Residential College

    Constructed as part of Northwestern’s centennial celebration and dedicated in 1952, the $780,000 Shepard Hall was named after donor Mrs. Margaret Bowen Shepard, whose sister was a dean of women and assistant professor of English at Northwestern for a year until her sudden death in 1900. It housed 115 women originally, but expanded in the 1960s to accommodate another 65 students. In 1972, it became a co-ed residential college with Professor Robert Church as its first master.

    Fun fact: Shepard actually started off as two separate buildings – the two halves of the first floor are not connected as the smaller east half was originally designated as a sorority house. This explains why Shepardites who want to travel from one end of the building to another have to take the unnecessarily long route of either going upstairs, going downstairs through the rec room in the basement, or outdoors. 

    Bedrooms were furnished in a conservative style, with studio couches that could be converted into beds at night, tan walls and brown and turquioise curtains and bedspreads. Rooms also came with built in filing cabinets, bookcases and storage walls, and boasted French windows. The first photo above is dated April 29, 1953. 

     The only thought that can possibly make current Shepardites feel worse while heading out to dinner on a bitterly wintry February evening is that old Shepard girls could simply pop downstairs for a meal in their very own dining hall. This photo is dated 1953. 

    The smaller, east living room was decorated in shades of brown, grey and blue with a few flamingo red chairs, giving it a warm, modernistic feel.

    Meanwhile, French provincial decor with California redwood wainscoting filled the main living room on the west side of Shepard.

    With brightly colored Herman Miller furniture, barrel chairs, cheery yellow walls, coral, beige and grey chairs and leather upholstery, Shepard’s rec room may have been the place to hang out in the 1950s. Dated April 29, 1953.


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