Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Spare Room

Ever wonder what your dorm was like in the distant past? How much the rooms cost, which were the most desirable? Well you can easily find out by consulting the Dormitory Floor Plans, Descriptions and Room Rate put out by the College Bursar.

In 1931 Mass Row was touted for its vestibule enclosed stairways that shielded the rooms from the noise of people going up and down the stairs. It was also unique in that the rooms all had private toilets for every room. Even the color scheme of the rooms and corridors is described (rooms were finished in ivory and brown while the brick walls of the corridors were painted in brown and cream). Rooms were priced based on desirability and ranged from a high of $320 per occupant to a low of $165.

What the Dormitory Floor Plans fail to impart is the spartan nature of the rooms. Rooms came with a bed frame--you brought your own mattress--a set of roller curtains and a dresser. Everything else had to be supplied by the students. In fact, the rooms were so barren that the Dartmouth Handbook (for freshman) provided this piece of advice to new arrivals: "If you are rooming in a dormitory, don't let the former occupants of the room sell you the radiator or the roller curtains. They come with the room."

So if you're housed in one of the older dorms, come by and check out the Dormitory Floor Plans, Rauner Reference LD 1439.8 .D3. You might be amused to see what your room once cost and how it stacked up against other dorm rooms at the time.

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