Monday, February 15, 2010

The Brick

When visitors are finding their way to the Saxon Inn the first dorm they may pass is The Brick, a historic building. Built in 1858 it originally housed all women. Before receiving the name “The Brick” in 1933, a nickname the students had given it, it was known as Boarding Hall, University and Ladies Hall.

The Brick is seen as one of the better places on campus to live. Housing around 97 students, with only 3 singles, people battle to live in this dorm. Each room is a different size and has a different layout. The most popular rooms are the ones located in the very front of the building. These rooms are double, maybe bigger, than the average room in The Brick. The closet is larger than the singles. There are also three rooms that have two closets instead of one. No one really knows why the layouts of the rooms are so complex but it gives the building more character. The basement used to be the dining hall but has now been converted into the BAFA studio.

Throughout the years there have been several looks for the front of The Brick. The current staircase that stands in the front was just reassembled last year. The Brick Lawn was undergoing some changes and an accident had occurred which resulted in the stairs falling down. This is not the first time the front of The Brick has been rebuilt. In 1932 a bad fired buried the building which took the original three story porch. When the porch was still standing the university used to hold events, such as dances, on it.

Even though the original porch does not stand you are still able to see photos of it in the main lounge. There are many pieces of The Bricks history on the walls of the lounge. Such things as the summer school rules, an invite to a Brick Party, and several photos of old residents.

There is such a strong history behind The Brick and many stories that go with it. One story that comes to mind is when the brick was a women’s dorm and when someone had a date the young man would stand outback near a window and the women would lower and a basket and in the basket would be the young man’s date for the night. It’s said that the university’s president found out about this basket-lowering scheme and wanted to investigate. So, one night he stood behind The Brick and waited for the basket to lower. Once the basket reached the ground he climbed in and up the basket went. By the time the basket reached the window the women realized that it was not a caller but instead the university’s president. They screamed and drop the basket with the president still inside.

Other stories about The Brick include ghosts and paranormal phenomenon. I personally have not experienced any of this, yet. Some stories I have heard from my peers include banging noises throughout the night and then waking up to their mini refrigerator having dents all over it and their hammer being inside. Another being someone going back to his or her room and finding their extension cords have been thrown over the sprinkler system. One of the best stories would have to be when someone was using the dorm computers, located in the kitchen, and a little girl came up to them and put their hand on her shoulder and then just disappeared.

Some say the haunting are from when the Spanish influenza struck. I am not sure if this is true. When searching through the university’s archives it says that during the time of the influenza The Brick was used as an all boys dorm for the Student Army Training Corps. During this time fifty of them were struck by the Spanish Influenza, the university president recruited nurses to come to the campus to care for the sick. I believe that this means the boys were still residing in The Brick during this time.


  1. This blog would be a great addition for team Tortuga’s map on transformation. The building its self went under both physical transformations throughout the years as well as transformations on its uses socially. What caused the fire in 1932? Did the University ever consider rebuilding the porch? When did the Brick become a co-ed dorm?

  2. It's thought that a cigarette caused the fire. I doubt there's ever been consideration to rebuild the porch - it probably wouldn't work well with the "new" design after the reconstruction. Campus housing became co-ed in 1970.