UI dorms are full of lore

BY CLARK CAHILL | APRIL 20, 2009 7:30 AM

Each year the UI’s residence halls become a temporary home to thousands of undergraduate students — most of them freshmen. Though dorm life is a short stint in many residents’ lives, some of the halls have noteworthy historical roots.

Quadrangle Hall, built in 1920, was designed as barracks for World War I, but was not finished in time to be put to use in the war. It was home to the UI’s “model” students in the 1920s — housing those with the highest grade-point averages and who were involved in many activities on campus. In the late 1920s, the hall’s residents published the Quadrangler, a dorm newsletter.

The building became part of a Navy Pre-Flight school along with Hillcrest Hall, built in 1938. Astronaut John Glenn — who, in 1962, was the first American to orbit the earth — attended the pre-flight school. Hillcrest was built as part of a Great Depression-era federal public-works project.

Rumors of hauntings in residence halls have floated around campus for many years. Currier Hall — the school’s oldest dorm, built in 1913 — is rumored to be haunted by three female roommates who found themselves in love with the same man and committed suicide. The ghosts of the women are said to reappear to promote friendship and harmony when current tenants are having conflicts.

Slater Hall’s ninth floor has also been the subject of paranormal sightings. Some believe a student jumped to his death from the floor. Since then, footsteps and screams can reportedly be heard, and many residents have claimed seeing the young man’s ghost, carrying an ax, late in the night.

Juicee News, an independent news group, cited the dorms in its list of haunted places in Iowa.
Several dorms on campus are also connected by tunnels and hallways. Daum Hall and Burge Hall are attached by an underground tunnel, while Stanley Hall and Currier are joined by a hallway.

Housing more than 5,000 students annually — providing food, fitness centers, study areas, and game rooms, as well as employment opportunities — these buildings will continue to be a staple on the UI campus for many years to come.

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