Back Then

Back then, Westhampton College’s first building housed everything: students, classrooms, faculty offices, the reading room, the dining hall (as pictured above circa 1961), and even faculty members and their families. Residents included many of the University’s big names that we recognize across campus today like Boatwright and Keller and Crenshaw. The earliest days of WC formed a close-knit community where Westhampton students and faculty lived, dined, and learned together.

Though North Court has always been an important center of activity for Westhampton students, much has changed from when it opened in 1914. The academic wing now houses only three departments — philosophy, classics, and education. The old reading room, located on the third floor tower, is now a lounge. The women’s refectory, where all of Westhampton’s residents once ate their meals, is now Perkinson Recital Hall.

When I began my junior year in North Court, I had no idea what surprises my new residence hall held for me. I heard from previous upperclassmen that the building was one of the oldest buildings on campus, with sloped ceilings, the occasional fireplace and bay window in a few lucky rooms, and even the odd private bathroom complete with a bathtub — a mere myth in most residence halls built today.

Not only did I discover all of these historical perks, I also stumbled on the third-floor tower lounge, located the classics library, and even spotted the famous Rat Hole Roof, an old favorite sunbathing spot. One afternoon,

I heard singing coming from Perkinson. I have since learned that it was a common location for concerts and other gatherings, including weddings — all of which I found in keeping with Perkinson’s history of community gathering, minus the food.

Due to its rich history, many Westhampton students, including me, choose to live in North Court during their upper division years, but none are living there now. Renovations have closed the residential section of the building that surrounds the courtyard. While many students and alumni have expressed concern over the building’s conversion to suite style, moving away from its old-style, idiosyncratic rooms, I believe that North Court’s history can be preserved while accommodating the suite-style preference of today’s college students. Let’s face it — community is great, but not too much when it comes to bathrooms.