Editor's note: This is a series of columns by John Malcolm on his "50 years at Fredonia." Retired, he is a professor emeritus at Fredonia State.
Mason, Gregory and Fenton represented an old plan developed in the 1930s based on Georgian architecture and a quadrangle system.
There is an excellent rendering in Reed Library Archives of how the campus would have looked if this plan had been adopted. While Mason shows a copper roof, recently replaced, and some ornate decorations, Fenton lost, in the planning, its bell tower and peaked roof.
Students stand in front of the Gregory Hall jukebox.
Gregory was treated in the same way with just a small peak on the main building. The arrangement of the five units suggests that more could have been added later to form an enclosed quadrangle.
In 1956, Gregory Hall was the center of campus activity as a student union. I think it deserves to be first in this narrative. As you walked in the main front door you were in a lobby fronting an office with a manual switchboard. Students were called to the phone via a buzzer system in each room. Later a single phone was placed in the middle of each unit's floors. Ahead was the entrance to the cafeteria line but in my initial experience it was only used for breakfast and lunch.
The dinner hour was quite formal. Men were required to wear jackets and neckties. Women had to wear "heels and hose." On Saturdays, the women could show up in hair curlers - if they had a date that night. There were two cloakrooms where many men stored their jackets. Sometimes they were "borrowed" and the results were interesting.
The cafeteria was located to the left of the lobby and there was also a private dining room that could be reserved and divided. To the right was the lounge where one of the two television sets on campus were located. It was very "homey".
There were a number of experiments tried. Remember that this was a teacher's college and to some it was only one step down from a seminary.
The dinner meal featured tablecloths, table decorations, and real china, glass, and silver plate. Meals were served family style. There was also a sung grace and a "host" who was supposed to maintain a dignified atmosphere. This was difficult to do, however, during September and October when the freshmen were being hazed.
An upperclassman would get on the public address system near the switchboard and announce, in "Radio City Balkan", that there was going to be an air raid and that every freshman should get under the table and shoot the planes down. Good evening freshmen. This is the voice of doom speaking.
THIS WAS DONE WITH SOME TYPE OF ACCENT.
Air raid! Air raid! Get under the tables frosh and shoot them down.
SOUND EFFECTS PLANES FLYING, MACHINE GUNS.
Imagine the night when the new Dean of Women, Helen Overs, came to dinner. This lovely lady was the archetypical Dean of Women and was scandalized by the activity. I remember: "Ladies get up! Get up ladies."
As you can imagine air raids soon stopped.
John Malcolm is a Fredonia resident.