University of Rochester History: Chapter 22, Oak Hill Becomes River Campus

OAK HILL BECOMES RIVER CAMPUS

On the sixtieth birthday of President Rush Rhees and at the end of his two decades in the executive chair, Professor John R. Slater reviewed his Rochester career in verse, entitled "Keeping the Score."

Here he stands to-day,
When twenty happy years have passed away;
Years full of labor, hard, unseen, unknown;
Years when the task seemed always half undone;
But years whose record lies between the lines,
Brave years we see them, now that they are gone,
Years of large visions, years of great designs,
Now that we see the newer, brighter dawn
Of greater years to come.


And on to the conclusion:

From toil to triumph may you clearly see
This is our wish: 'the best is yet to be.'

The Eastman music center loomed large in the best that the future held for the U. of R., so did the new institution for healing and the advancement of medical knowledge. Vast though these enterprises were, rich though they were with potentialities for the cultural and physical well-being of metropolitan Rochester and the world beyond, they were but chapters in the exciting post-First World War expansion of the University.

Month by month, visions of a radical transformation in the physical facilities for collegiate education and of the development of full-fledged graduate training passed from the minds of men into the work of their hands. Almost unconsciously, it might appear, by a succession of peristaltic waves what had been a good small college, catering essentially to ambitious young men and women of the Rochester area, grew into a genuine university, nation-wide, even international, in esteem and prestige.

Prompted by Raymond N. Ball, then University alumni secretary and by Professor Packard, the Campus of February 13, 1920, carried a story advocating a new home for the College on "a bluff or a series of hills overlooking Lake Ontario." "Commerce and overpopulation are pressing closer and closer upon us," the anonymous writer asserted. "But in Monroe County there are plenty of open spaces, remote and of scenic beauty.... Why not move the Campus?..." Perhaps the new location might satisfy the needs of men only, leaving the Prince Street Campus as an enclave for women, primarily. "In the absence of cigarette smoke and profanity a higher intellectual life would be attained by the women," it was imagined.

At about the same time, Rhees confidentially disclosed to George W. Todd the program for a medical center which George Eastman had promised to finance in part. Todd knew Eastman well and indeed had represented him in several important transactions connected with the construction and staffing of the music center. Along with a directorship in the Kodak Company, Todd collaborated with Eastman as a trustee of the Dental Dispensary, on the Bureau of Municipal Research, and at the Chamber of Commerce; during Todd's term as president of the Chamber Eastman agreed to pay for the construction of its present (1968) home. Neither man was college trained; both were self-made individuals, as the saying goes, and cherished much the same basic outlook on life.

Although born near Rochester, Todd spent his youth and early manhood in the Middle West, engaging in a variety of real estate and manufacturing operations. Not long after returning to Rochester, he teamed up with his brother, Libanus, in establishing in 1899 a small shop which turned out reliable protective devices for bank cheques, invented by Libanus. The firm prospered, rapidly acquired an international reputation, and absorbed smaller companies producing office supplies.

A major architect of twentieth century Rochester, Todd was a man to whom the city owed a great deal. It was said correctly that few community undertakings lacked his helping hand and that "once he was interested in an institution his interest in it never flagged." Top place among those institutions in the 1920's was the University of which he became and remained a leading patron.

Todd and Rhees lived on terms of friendly intimacy, and his family occupied the presidential residence when the Rhees' were abroad while a new Todd home was being finished. "I want to tell you about a brainstorm I've got," he is quoted as having said to friends, and proceeded to outline a plan for a splendid collegiate institution on the grounds of the Oak Hill Country Club, overlooking the Genesee. Aided and abetted by an influential Rochester attorney and ex-Congressman, James S. Havens, Todd converted Eastman, who had strongly favored expansion in the Prince Street area, to the Oak Hill idea.

Paying tribute to Todd as a man whom the University "has abiding cause to remember with grateful appreciation," Rhees declared, "It was he who had the vision, at first regarded as chimerical, which was realized for us and for Rochester in the development of our River Campus 'beside the Genesee.' It was he, also, who challenged the imagination of our citizens to embark on the enterprise of raising ten million dollars to make his vision a reality, and who led in that undertaking, giving himself one hundred thousand dollars to realize his dream. It was he who changed Mr. Eastman's frank hostility to enthusiasm for the project and its realization...." 1

On behalf of the eighty-seven acre golfing property, it was urged that it would be near the projected medical center and that good public transport was available. Beauty of landscape coupled with comparative isolation from the noise and distractions of the city appealed powerfully to some minds; much-travelled ex-President David Jayne Hill called the rolling terrain and frontage on the River one of the most attractive university sites in the whole world. Proximity to the Genesee would enable students, it was supposed, to indulge in boating and other types of aquatic recreation, and it seemed to Rhees that the acreage would be ample for all foreseeable requirements.

Adverse critics begged to differ, contending that the Oak Hill property was not only too small, but hemmed in as it was by River, Mt. Hope Cemetery, Genesee Valley Park, and railways which were noisy, dirty, and dangerous, the property would not permit growth in the future. It was also contended that the nearness of public institutions for the mentally deranged and prisoners rendered Oak Hill undesirable, the more so in that only about a third of the terrain was suitable for the construction of buildings. Calmness and candor demanded careful consideration of alternative sites, it was pleaded.

There was no dearth of other locations that had their advocates. Trustee Harper Sibley, for instance, favored a large acreage fronting on Lake Ontario in the village of Webster, while his father, Hiram W., discounting the advantages of Oak Hill, wanted the University to become "the crowning glory of East Avenue." Owners of property along Irondequoit Bay offered to sell 500 acres of beautifully situated land, just four miles from the center of Rochester, which Rhees dismissed as too far out. Another proposal centered on the range of hills which was ultimately chosen for a new home of the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School.

The College faculty in a confidential and tentative action endorsed the basic principle of removal from Prince Street, but requested that all attractive locations should be examined before an irrevocable decision was made. It seemed essential to the teachers that space suitable for faculty residences in the neighborhood should be given consideration in picking a site and that the layout should place athletic facilities close to buildings devoted to academic instruction. And the faculty repudiated the idea of separating men students from the women, the latter to remain on Prince Street; at one point, Rhees himself ventured the opinion that if the removal plans materialized, the women as well as the men would go to Oak Hill. One trustee suggested that the Prince Street holding might be used for a first-class preparatory school under University management.

At another meeting a College faculty committee to consider removal reported general agreement that the size of the Oak Hill property was adequate but that there was little real enthusiasm for the site, owing mainly to the environs; other locations elicited substantial support in faculty circles, yet a score of teachers indicated that they would eventually establish residences in the vicinity of Oak Hill if that tract was in fact selected. Evidently, Rhees admonished his colleagues that it was "Oak Hill or nothing."

The case for two independent colleges had its appealing arguments and its vocal exponents. If Prince Street were converted into a College for Women, it would continue to make use of academic buildings donated by generous friends of higher learning, preserve the Memorial Art Gallery in an intellectual environment, and fortify sentimental traditions. Moreover, Prince Street would be convenient for the increasing numbers of Rochesterians desirous of studying in the Extension Division of the University. Beyond that, it was desirable to have the College for Women near the Eastman School, in which a very high proportion of the students would be women and where degree candidates would take non-professional studies at the College. Out-of-town students both at the College and the School could be housed in Kendrick Hall and the fraternity houses, it was pointed out. It was further contended that two colleges would foster a healthier community spirit on both campuses and would attract financial support for the education of women from wealthy ladies. 2

II

To the discomfiture of the University authorities, months before decisive action was taken, the Rochester press reported that Oak Hill had been chosen. The revelation took "Rochester by storm and has literally left the college gasping for breath," the Campus newspaper declared. Rhees initiated preliminary negotiations with an architect to plan the layout of an Oak Hill campus and buildings.

By means of a memorandum to the trustees, the President solicited opinions on whether it would be advantageous to locate the medical center and the college near to one another, and if so whether it would be prudent to abandon Prince Street. If a trustee concluded that removal was wise, he should give consideration to the following points in choosing a new site: cost, attractiveness of the location from the standpoint of the Rochester community, which would have to be appealed to for financial help, the likelihood of encroachment on the property by other interests, transportation facilities, possibility of room in the vicinity for faculty homes, and adequacy of space for athletics.

Without coming to a decision, the trustees at their June, 1921, meeting reduced the sites regarded as desirable to three or four. In a second memorandum, September 6, 1921, to the trustees--already mentioned in connection with the planning of the medical center--Rhees reiterated his request for opinions on whether medical and collegiate buildings ought to be in close proximity, and pointed out that the Prince Street Campus was not only too small for existing needs, but lacked space for work in civil and electrical engineering or for a contemplated institute of optics or, peering into the longer future, for professional schools of education, business administration, law, and graduate training, In short, Rhees summoned the trustees to weigh with the utmost care the fundamental issue: to move or not to move.

Exchanges of views within the trustee body preceded a committee meeting on November 5, 1921--exactly seventy-one years after collegiate instruction began in Rochester at the former United States Hotel--at which it was voted to recommend to the board the creation of a new college on Oak Hill, if the necessary funds could be secured, and to concentrate education of women at enlarged and improved facilities at Prince Street. Before the decision was publicly announced, the trustees courteously revealed what was contemplated to the college faculty and received general approval from that body. A sanguine alumnus imagined that Oak Hill was big enough to accommodate 10,000 students; if it should ever become necessary to obtain additional space, land might be acquired on the western bank of the Genesee River, it was suggested. 3

Elated by the trustee verdict, Todd offered to organize a special committee of public-spirited Rochesterians to direct a campaign for funds, which, he recommended, might appropriately be conducted in the autumn of 1922. A committee was in fact created, though the appeal for money was postponed. Todd had a realistic, business-like attitude with regard to raising the money required; it would be a formidable task, he appreciated, to convince Rochesterians that existing facilities for collegiate education were insufficient before the music and medical centers had been firmly established; and it would take some doing to persuade prospective donors that residence halls were indispensable for nourishing college spirit, without which "no institution can become great." 4

Consultations between the Todd committee representing the University interest and the officers of the Oak Hill Country Club for the acquisition of Oak Hill were rather protracted. In essence, the Club was willing to turn over its property in exchange for suitable golfing facilities elsewhere. Accordingly, the Todd committee acquired a 355 acre tract to the east of Rochester, arranged for landscaping and laying out a golf course, and agreed to meet part of the cost of erecting a club house. The overall commitment amounted to $360,000, which in some circles was regarded as a "pretty steep price." Club members ratified the bargain on April 4, 1924, and two years later the Club moved into its handsome new quarters. At the Commencement season of 1924, some 500 U. of R. alumni gathered at Oak Hill and were "carried away by the wonderful possibilities of the site," Prexy observed, adding that the festivities were "most successful selling propaganda." Upon the departure of the Oak Hill Club, an Alumni Golf Association played on the links until construction of college buildings started.

Eastman also bought two parcels of ground on the west side of the Genesee, opposite Oak Hill, and transferred the titles to the University; the land was exchanged (1931) with the city for a municipally-owned strip on the east bank. This latter area would afford space for an undergraduate boathouse, it was reasoned. An opportunity to purchase land south of the Barge Canal directly beyond the medical center was turned down as of "no advantage to us;" a generation later--in 1953 the tract was bought and formed part of the so-called South Campus.

Gordon and Kaelber were commissioned to prepare preliminary architectural schemes for the new college, and from their office poured a profusion of blueprints in anticipation of a drive for funds. Drawings were shown to small knots of Rochester citizens, to service clubs, and to other organizations. So glamorous and alluring were the designs that they would "draw blood from a turnip," someone gaily remarked. 5

III

Forming the western extremity of the Pinnacle Hill range, Oak Hill was a relatively recent geological exhibit in the scales of the earth scientist. Not at all the "eternal hills" of theological hypothesis, the tract was estimated to be somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 years old.

Long before white people penetrated into the Genesee country, Indians used the future River Campus as a rendezvous and habitation. Perhaps as early as the thirteenth century, Algonquin (or Algonkin) tribesmen settled on the main hilltop and the surrounding area. Wayfarers may read on a marker near the southern margin of the campus:

Indian Town
In primitive wilderness here was a large Algonkin
village whose bark cabins and tilled fields covered
nine acres.


Artefacts, fragments of pottery, heavy cylindrical stones for grinding corn, and other stone implements tell something about the way of life of rough Algonquin tribesmen and their families. Corn was grown, several rude cabins presumably, though not certainly, stood on the ground now (1968) occupied by the Tower dormitories, while a crude fort was improvised about where the Women's Residence Hall stands. "The primitive forest was made up of rather open groves of oak," according to the most respected authority on the Algonquin town; "there were patches of treeless and fertile soil in which grain could be planted and cultivated..." Quite likely, individual shelters were "scattered through the forest, [and] around each of the huts [was] a corn patch, near at hand so that the women could cope with the deer and birds which were then the principal enemies of agriculture. Life was not without its excitement. There was the constant threat of raids from hostile tribes..." No evidence of an Algonquin burial ground on Oak Hill has been discovered, which, in view of the immense amount of excavation and grading that has been done, is truly mystifying, unless, that is, cremation was practiced.

Although the fate of the Algonquins has never been satisfactorily clarified, it is more than probable that about 1500 they were pushed westward by marauding, more advanced Seneca Indians. Of Iroquoian stock, and in time the foremost tribe of the Six Nations comprising the League of the Iroquois, the Senecas pushed their control up to the Genesee River--and afterward beyond that line. Small, finely chipped arrowheads, pipes, and other relics that archaeologists have uncovered testify to the presence of the Senecas on Oak Hill itself. Indeed, one of their trails crossed the present campus and passed over the Genesee River by a ford almost opposite the home of the Theta Delta Chi fraternity.

Palefaces, French and English explorers, adventurers, and traders first set eyes on Oak Hill in the second half of the seventeenth century. Guided by Senecas, the indomitable and resourceful French explorer, Rene Robert La Salle, twenty-six years old, may well have trod the River Campus terrain in 1669; in his party was a missionary, Rene de Bréhant de Galinée, chronicler and map-maker of the expedition, who subsequently--and appropriately--became a college professor.

It appears that the imperially-minded La Salle toyed with the notion of having a corduroy road laid on top of the Seneca trail and of building a warehouse on Oak Hill as links in a vast French tradeway extending from Quebec to New Orleans. If such a dazzling project was in fact considered, it never became reality.

Allies of the British in the War for American Independence, the Senecas along with English soldiers, were whipped (1779) by patriot troops commanded by Major-General John Sullivan in the vicinity of present-day Elmira. So the Anglo-Indian forces fled westward, pausing on Oak Hill and raising a storehouse for ammunition close by the ford across the Genesee; later they retreated to Fort Niagara. 6

A mere four years after the first permanent white dwelling was erected in Rochester--in 1816 to be exact--one Daniel Harris of Massachusetts origin built a house about where the Women's Residence Hall stands. A narrow strip of treeless land along the Genesee and fine springs of water led him to choose this situation. The fertile acreage yielded excellent harvests.

On a crest above the Genesee, directly west of the Strong Auditorium, a small factory was thrown up about 1847, and its proprietors, Loder and Chapin, advertised (1878) themselves as "manufacturers of glue, sandpaper, curled hair [whatever that may have been], and neat's foot oil." Until 1874 when the city of Rochester annexed Oak Hill the area was included in the town of Brighton. A map of 1875 reveals that two farms covered most of what became the River Campus. The southern portion belonged early in the nineteenth century to Simeon Lewis, whose daughter married Joseph A. Aldington; the handsome Lewis-Aldington residence was a veritable showpiece of the region.

To the north the land came into the possession of one Epaphras Wolcott and passed on to his descendants; a paragraph in the title deed, which was retained in the U. of R. deed, reserved to the State of New York any and all gold and silver deposits that might be uncovered on about one fifth of an acre on the Wolcott estate! The family name was attached to a rough, grassy lane along the Genesee, and parcels of the holding were conveyed to railway companies (1853; 1855). Approximately on the present (1968) football gridiron, a Wolcott distillery produced a popular brand of "Corn Hill" whiskey. Immediately to the east of the tract that eventually formed the River Campus, the municipal government maintained a pest-house for victims of epidemic diseases--on land purchased by the University in 1966.

In 1901 the newly organized Oak Hill Country Club of Rochester leased most of the Aldington and Wolcott farmlands, laid out golf links, and five years later bought the properties for $34,000. A large farmhouse on the grounds served as a club house until replaced by a more commodious structure situated at the western extremity of the present (1968) Eastman Quadrangle, As has been related, the Club conveyed the property to the University and moved off in 1926. 7

IV

The movement that culminated in the acquisition of funds to purchase Oak Hill, construct the River Campus, and remodel buildings on Prince Street, has been saluted as "Rochester's greatest achievement." Civic pride and the popular imagination were profoundly stirred by the ambitious undertakings. Initiated by community leaders like Todd and Havens, who were not directly connected with the University, the many-sided project was carried forward by citizens' committees and a host of townsmen and U. of R. graduates.

To interpret the University less haphazardly and more fully to the Rochester community and to show that the greater an institution of higher learning was the larger the financial resources required, a public relations specialist was deemed essential. For that office Edward Hungerford, a well-known area journalist, was chosen and given the title of Director of University Publications. After he had acquainted himself with his task, Hungerford recommended a series of pamphlets which would vivify the monetary needs of the University. He also wished to make it clear that teachers at the College were hired with as much care as, in his language, minor executives in a factory!

From the publicity bureau issued brochures on "Our University Past and Present" and "Our University at the Crossroads," as well as a booklet, "Rochester--a Good Town to Live In," which succinctly rehearsed the history of the city, its natural beauties, the growth of its intellectual and cultural resources, and the prospects for to-morrow, dwelling upon the Oak Hill scheme. Less than pleased with Hungerford, whose indifference to accuracy was irritating, the University terminated his services after he published a piece that infuriated the Kodak management. Another pamphlet, "Our University as Teacher and Neighbor," explained that "to help to serve, to be neighborly is the creed of our University."

For the benefit of U. of R. graduates, Trustee Joseph T. Alling prepared a summary of the situation and begged readers to think in terms of the institution that would be needed fifty years or even a whole century in the future. He emphasized the desirability of placing the college for men near the medical center and pointed out that the purchase of a few acres to expand the Prince Street Campus would have cost double as much as the large and ideal Oak Hill property. An independent college for women on Prince Street would be advantageous, he contended, for undergraduates of both sexes. 8

On a July evening of 1923, President Rhees and over fifty influential Rochesterians were entertained in the home of George W. Todd for a sort of "reconnaissance " talk on the expansion of the college. Rhees presented in detail three possible plans, one involving an outlay of $5,000,000, a second fifty percent higher, and the last, hesitantly advanced, $10,000,000. Dead silence reigned until George Eastman, according to one of the guests, dryly observed, "I think we'd better run up the ten million flag and see what we get." The Oak Hill idea was enthusiastically endorsed, and hearty assurances of cooperation were given. 9

Later in July--on the 26th--about 1,000 Rochesterians crowded the main hall of the Chamber of Commerce to capacity. They came to hear from authoritative sources the exact content of the "Greater University" program and to listen to a stirring address by George E. Vincent, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, who painted a glowing picture of the opportunities for higher education in the Flower City. The audience learned that an Oak Hill campus to accommodate 1,000 undergraduates was contemplated and that a goal of $10,000,000 had been set, of which $7,000,000 would be invested in land, buildings, and equipment and the balance would pass into the endowment portfolio (later half of the total sum was allocated to endowment). Although the plans involved a money-raising effort more than double the amount ever before pledged for any cause in Rochester, the enthusiastic audience in the Chamber ratified the dazzling program by acclamation. It was a "fine start for selling the importance of the University to the community," an observer remarked.

George W. Todd readily undertook the chairmanship of the fund-raising executive committee and chose its members. When Rhees expressed skepticism as to whether the huge amount of money could in fact be obtained, Raymond N. Ball bucked up his courage. Enheartening was a confidential offer by Eastman to match any pledge up to $2,500,000 that the Rockefeller General Education Board might make. In committing himself to this extent, Eastman reminded Rhees that the fund of $10,000,000 was "mainly to buy clothes for the baby [i.e., the medical center] which the General Education Board had left on our doorstep." If he had known his baby would grow so fast, I should probably have told [Abraham] Flexner to take it back home in the beginning, but it is such a pretty baby that one does not want to give it up now without a struggle to help support it."

The President tried unsuccessfully to persuade the money managers of the General Education Board to meet the Eastman offer, reasoning that the "medical enterprise can be doubled in importance by putting the college next to it and making it a strong powerful ally." Yet the most the Board, which doubted the wisdom of moving ahead on the Oak Hill project while the medical complex was still unfinished, would pledge was $1,000,000, and that provided five times as much were procured from other sources. Nonetheless, Eastman agreed "to chip in" $2,500,000--and did.

Economic conditions, the hesitancy of the General Education Board, and the time required to organize the financial solicitation caused repeated postponements of the date of the city-wide drive. But, with the intriguing slogan "Ten Millions in Ten Days," the campaign was launched on November 14, 1924. Subscriptions might be paid in semi-annual installments extending over five years. 10

V

Ample preparations had been made for the great effort, which was conducted without benefit of a professional fund-raising agency. In advance of the solicitation in Rochester, a separate appeal was addressed to U. of R. graduates. A target of just over $1,000,000 was set with Eugene Raines, 1902, in command of the alumni division and Hazel Lush Lanni, 1914, as chairman of the solicitation among women. Each college class had its own chairman, and campaign meetings of alumni in selected cities across the country were arranged. Both "The Million Dollar Bulletin: Oak Hill Site by 1928" for the men and "The Greater University Campaign Alumnae Bulletin" printed tables showing the disparity over the years between the cost to the University of educating a student and what the student himself paid. These publications spurred solicitors on and likewise recounted the progress of the campaign. To counteract criticism that the "Greater University" would be much more beneficial for men students than for women, the image of a Rochester Radcliffe, of an Upstate Barnard was held out.

A young alumnus, James M. Spinning, 1913, promoted the good cause with a burst of imaginative poetry, "Uplifting the Dollar," which ended with

So I sent a few to Mr. Rhees,
A couple thousand dollars--
And from them coins, let me tell you,
That man is makin' scholars.


From headquarters set up at the Eastman School, Harry P. Wareheim, director of the Rochester Community Chest, supervised the public campaign. On the eve of the drive, Eastman entertained at his home 125 people, "quite diversified and fairly representative of the prospects," who listened to Rhees, Wareheim, and others describe the case for the University. Eastman also addressed personal appeals, citing specific amounts, to selected investors in his company, and underlining that he himself was contributing in order to help make Rochester the best place on earth "for Kodak people to live and bring up their families." Not only did Todd serve as general chairman, but he headed a committee which concentrated on securing gifts from wealthy Rochester families.

Edward G. Miner, a liberal benefactor and an untiring laborer for University welfare, directed over ten district chairmen, each with five teams captained by energetic young citizens, none of them U. of R. graduates--a volunteer corps of almost 600. These men, who were furnished "A Manual for Workers" reciting the points to be emphasized in talking to prospects, solicited subscriptions from "average persons, sensitive to their civic obligations," all over the city. Workers were instructed to make it clear that the University "belonged to all the people of Rochester," and was in no sense a denominational institution. An Italian-speaking undergraduate acted as interpreter for the solicitors whenever his services were required.

Spokesmen of the University talked on the cause to service clubs and fervid publicity acquainted the community at large with the U. of R. message. Aside from the brochures, mentioned earlier, a small two page circular dramatized the insufficiency of existing facilities for collegiate training, the urgency of expansion and of the remodelling of Prince Street, and depicted the potentialities of the Oak Hill site; on the first page a father and son were shown looking across the blue Genesee--no bluer in fact than the unblue Danube--to the campus-to-be, which contained more buildings than actually existed as late as 1968. In white letters against a blue background, the boy appeals to his sire, "Dad! Give for me!" Placards of like content appeared inside street cars and on them and on mammoth billboards.

Downtown store windows displayed University exhibits, and the city press rallied strongly to the cause, mixing textual materials with pictures of pleasing arrays of structures on and fine vistas of Oak Hill, the grounds and playing fields, walks, drives and parking spaces, all tentative to be sure and somewhat different from the pattern finally adopted, but all alike calculated to enlist support for "a Greater University for a Greater Rochester." An ingenious card device labelled "The Mystic Oracle" asked and answered questions about the University. "Will a Greater University help Rochester?" and the "Oracle" responded, "Yes. In growth, prosperity, and fame." Lest some citizens might be overlooked by campaigners, newspapers ran coupons on which to make subscriptions, and hundreds of small givers filled out the forms. Prizes were awarded to pupils in Rochester public and parochial high schools for the best letters on behalf of a greater University; over 20, 000 boys and girls entered the contest.

In one way and another people were reminded that the University of Rochester meant a university in and for metropolitan Rochester, contributing to the well-being of the community on many fronts: a library was available for reference, class rooms with a fine teaching corps educated young men and women of Rochester mainly and trained teachers and social workers for the city; graduates occupied places of distinction in community life; scientific research and technicians had value for public welfare, as had the Memorial Art Gallery and the Eastman School which likewise enhanced the cultural significance and national reputation of Rochester. Service to the community in the past, it was broadly hinted, would be immensely expanded if funds were provided to finance the Oak Hill undertaking.

Clergymen brought University needs to the attention of their congregations, and a monster mass rally at the Lyceum Theatre quickened interest and civic enthusiasm. Progress in the construction of the medical center and the Eastman campaign pledge of $2,500,000 were invaluable assets in the appeal to citizens at large. It is doubtful whether any community in the United States had ever equalled the1924 Rochester fund-raising drive for the advancement of higher education.

During the intensive city-wide campaign, a "Ten Million Dollar Bulletin" kept solicitors informed of how much was pledged and endeavored to generate a wartime psychology. "Victory can be won if every man stands by the guns. The campaign will be won by an accumulation of small gifts," one "Bulletin" declared; "failure can only be averted by united, determined efforts," warned a second. "Here is a great opportunity to provide our children with education at home at low cost. Here is a great opportunity to enhance the value of residence in Rochester," team workers were reminded. After daily luncheon meetings of the campaigners, the radio carried reports of progress and newspapers listed subscribers in alphabetical order. The consecrated men who had gathered the funds to launch the University in 1850 would have found a good deal of similarity in the 1924 appeals, though the methods of money-raising would have surprised them--and. the results would have been intoxicating.

"Glorious Success Possible by a mighty eleventh hour effort" proclaimed the last of the "Bulletins"--and such it proved to be. When on November 24, 1924, solicitors and spectators were told that a grand total of $7,500,000 had been pledged (which was a slight overstatement), bedlam broke loose, the banquet hall of the Chamber of Commerce rocked with cheers and shouting. President Rhees voiced admiration and gratitude to subscribers and campaigners alike. "The future service of the University to Rochester, " he assured the happy, excited audience, "will be a constant testimony to your energy, ability, and unselfish devotion." Only about $85,000 were expended in carrying on the historic drive; operation of the collection office into 1928 cost about $35,000. 11

To many of the donors Rhees despatched personal notes of appreciation, as, for instance, to the pupils in the eighth grade of Martin B. Anderson School who sent in two dollars. Calling the gift "one of the biggest subscriptions," he interpreted it as "an expression of real interest on your part in the plans" to provide "the boys and girls of Rochester" with "a favorable opportunity for a higher education." He hoped that when the pupils were ready for mature training the U. of R. colleges for men and women would be ready to welcome them--an estimate that fell short by two years.

Alumnae and the city teams handsomely surpassed their quotas, and the alumni slightly exceeded the target set for them. Over seventy percent of the living graduates and almost all of the undergraduates, pitching in on their own initiative, contributed to the fund, and the citizens' "roll of honor" listed 10,330 names, making a grand total of 13,651 subscribers. Certain benefactors earmarked their gifts for specific objectives; Hiram W. Sibley, for example, who pledged $100,000, designated half of the sum for remodelling and maintaining Sibley Hall on the Prince Street Campus and the other half to enrich the holdings of the Sibley Musical Library. Families connected with the Bausch and Lomb Optical Company requested that their contributions should be applied to erecting a building on Oak Hill carrying the names of the founders of the firm, John J. Bausch and Henry Lomb. In lieu of $100,000 pledged in the campaign, Mr. and Mrs. James S. Watson gave about four times that amount to expand the Memorial Art Gallery. In memory of her first husband, Charles F. Houghton, who had studied with Professor Samuel A. Lattimore and was at one time a partner in the Corning Glass Works, Mrs. Charles D. Vail contributed $100,000, which was applied to endow a professorship in chemistry; an equal gift from Mrs. Arthur G. Yates endowed a professorship in engineering, as a memorial to her husband, a University trustee in the 1890's. 12

The lofty goal of $10,000,000, true enough, had not been fully attained, even when the conditional pledge of $1,000,000 by the General Education Board was counted in. But by dint of persuasive argument Rhees obtained a promise of an additional $750,000 from the Board, contingent upon valid subscriptions of $8,250,000 by the end of 1927. The final gap of $750,000 was closed by gifts from other sources, such as the Watson munificence for enlarging the Art Gallery. 13

Before the tumult and the shouting over the outcome of the 1924 drive had died away, George Eastman cast a fresh vote of confidence in the University, which, Rhees said, "electrified us all." On December 1, 1924, Eastman revealed that contractual arrangements would be entered into with four educational institutions whereby, in return for Kodak stock valued (grossly undervalued) at $12,500,000, they would collectively pay him $1,000,000 annually for the next fifteen years or until the time of his death. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes, and the U. of R. shared in the distribution, the University getting $6,000,000 (market value of which in 1933 came to $16,800,000), in addition, of course, to the $2,500,000 subscribed in the recent fund-raising effort. Little wonder that Rhees "found it difficult to keep my feet on the ground and breathe at a normal rate." Little wonder, too, that presently in their correspondence the President and the Kodak magnate addressed one another at last by their first names. 14

VI

At about the time of Eastman's huge benefactions to higher education in Rochester and without, professional and collegiate, white and black, a British journalist interviewed the industrialist in the living room of his East Avenue mansion and drew an interesting pen portrait of the man, then beyond the three score and ten mark. "Mr. Eastman sat on a small divan, smoking a cigarette, and reading a newspaper. His gaze is direct; his eyes questioning, unmirthful, even when the lips smile. His manner may be frosty, but he shakes hands as though he were genuinely glad to see you....

"His suit that day was a modest mixed grey, the trousers slightly baggy at the knees. His tie was restrained. His spectacles were those of a quiet professor or hard-working business man....Even the dimple of his chin assumes an austerity impossible of achievement in the chins of weak men....

"If he hates anything more than the limelight, it has not become known. Unlike most of the world's richest men, he has remained a remote, secluded figure." Even in his home community, the Kodak philanthropist was not widely known, the reporter commented.

To an American journalist who talked with Eastman in 1929, it seemed that he combined "something of the studious attitude of a college professor with the firm, time-conserving voice of a busy architect who has just been called from his drafting board and wishes to get back to it. "He thinks a moment before answering your questions.... His face is unlined, as smooth as a boy's and his eyebrows dark... [his] gray eyes searching."

Well before that interview, Eastman had arrived at positive convictions concerning educational institutions radically different from opinions he entertained a quarter of a century earlier, and concerning. the disposition of big personal fortunes. "If a man has wealth," he is quoted as saying, "he has to make a choice because there is the money heaping up....I prefer getting it into action and adapting it to human needs.... It is more fun to give money than to will [bequeath] it. And that is why I give it." And again, "I have found the greatest satisfaction in doing things for Rochester."

When a business acquaintance balked at contributing to the Greater University fund of 1924 and poked fun at college-trained people, Eastman acknowledged that he had once felt the same way, but his attitude had changed dramatically. "Nowadays,'' he wrote, "practically all bright boys go to college and the [First World] War developed the fact that the college graduate was a good officer and leader. We [the Kodak Company] now, instead of looking askance at college graduates, send out scouts every spring to engage the cream.... From the Kodak point of view, it is highly desirable to, have a good college here, not only to train good men but also to make Rochester an attractive place for Kodak men to live and bring up their families...."

In further explanation of his generosity, Eastman believed that "the progress of the world depends almost entirely on education. The most permanent institutions of man are educational. They usually endure when governments fall; hence the [my] selection of educational institutions."

When giving so lavishly in December, 1924, to four academic centers, Eastman let it be known that the gifts "separate me from money-making for myself and will give me a somewhat more detached position in respect to human affairs....I would like to see results from this money within the natural term of my remaining years." And he did. With regard to the large share of his benevolence assigned to Rochester, Eastman remarked, "We are all set to develop our University on the broadest lines and make it one of the outstanding universities of the country... not the largest, but one of the highest rank in all the fields which it has entered.... But for the fine response of our citizens in the recent [1924] campaign, I should certainly not have allotted to the U. of R. so large a proportion of the properties I am now distributing." 15

VII

Even before the graduates and friends of the University responded so magnificently to the challenge of the Oak Hill proposition, preliminary plans for the layout and buildings on the site were undertaken. Rhees thought in terms of buildings not only for the arts and sciences, an institute of optics and an astronomical observatory included, but also for schools of law and education, undergraduate residential quarters, a student union, and athletic facilities; the desirability of a planetarium also came under consideration. The firms of McKim, Mead, and White and Gordon and Kaelber were invited to prepare sketches of possible campus patterns and did so. Animated discussions, not all of which were set down in official University records, raged over whether the architecture should be Gothic or the less costly native Greek Revival with so-called Georgian colonial for the lesser buildings. After the issue had been resolved in favor of the Greek Revival, a book by a highly respected architect, Howard Major, called The Domestic Architecture of the Early American Republic: The Greek Revival came (1926) off the press. "The Greek Revival is a style which readily adapts itself to present-day use," it was stated, "and it has unmistakable advantages. It is the only thoroughly American architecture. The traditional American belongs in a house of this national style, our independent creation in architecture." This interpretation strengthened the conviction in University circles that a particularly appropriate style had been chosen. Harvard brick, uniform in color and simulating age, with gray limestone trim would be used throughout, and heavy, black slate would serve as roofing. Out of sentiment, certain older alumni wanted Anderson Hall transferred to Oak Hill, but the idea found no support in the administration. 16

Once the whirlwind financial campaign had been concluded, detailed plans for the Oak Hill layout moved forward at an accelerated pace. From the board, the trustees appointed a building committee comprising President Rhees, Joseph T. Alling, James G. Cutler, and Edward G. Miner; Raymond N. Ball, University treasurer (and presently elected a trustee) rounded out the group. These men and the architects visited many colleges and universities to obtain ideas that might be applied on Oak Hill, and they enlisted the cooperation of chairmen of U. of R. departments in planning the design and equipment of individual buildings. At least once a week in the forepart of 1927 architects and University officers held conferences on plans.

Overall responsibility for the architecture was entrusted to Gordon and Kaelber, whose associate Leonard A. Waasdorp was deeply involved. Frederick Law Olmsted, Boston landscape architect, and Charles A. Platt of New York City, who had varied experience in work for leading educational institutions and was widely regarded as the dean of American architects, were retained as consultants. The Rochester firm of A. W. Hopeman and Sons was chosen as the general contractor for the buildings and grounds. 17

From first to last, blueprints of no fewer than forty-seven base site studies were prepared before all concerned were satisfied. The scheme finally adopted contemplated fifteen buildings--apart from fraternity houses--and incorporated definite plans for future expansion. Actually, only eleven buildings were initially erected, student residence halls having been reduced from four to two, an administration office, to stand south of the principal entrance to the campus, was postponed, and a boathouse on the edge of the Genesee was never built. A college inn on the site never advanced beyond the talking stage.

On a central ridge of the tract a spacious quadrangle would be flanked, by academic halls and laboratories, with a library rising on the eastern side; to the west of the quadrangle, an auditorium and an administration building were envisaged. University officials begged George Eastman to permit the assignment of his name to the quadrangle, but he obdurately refused, saying, "At one time it was proposed that the name of the University be changed to the Eastman University, and I objected.... I am not interested in memorials.... " After his death, however, it was called Eastman Quadrangle, and the President composed two inscriptions carved on stone pillars at the entrance.

This quadrangle is dedicated to the memory of
George Eastman, whose ideal for the service of
the University of Rochester was as high as his
gifts for that service were great.


The second recalled the bonds of the philanthropist with the Flower City.

Rochester, a city of happy homes, was George
Eastman's cherished vision, and he gave lavishly
to promote its health, education, and civic life.
Like benefactions enriched others in America
and foreign lands.


Kindred sentiments were placed on a meridian marker set in the heart of the quadrangle in the centennial year (1954) of Eastman's birth.

A note on one of the two stately flagpoles at the western approach to the quadrangle tells that they were given by the employees of Trustee Alling.

On lower ground to the north, near the River, plots were allocated to a student union, dormitories, a gymnasium and playing fields, and space was reserved for homes of the fraternities. Off to the south provision was made for an engineering complex.

Saturday, May 21, 1927, witnessed a supreme moment in collegiate education in Rochester. President Rhees, just back, from a lengthy trip abroad, turned the first spadeful of earth on Oak Hill, at the site of the chemistry building, the first for which plans had been wholly completed. Trustees, faculty, alumni, and townspeople smiled the joy in their hearts. In a few words Prexy lauded the benefactors of the University, in particular George W. Todd, father of the Oak Hill vision, and then a big steam shovel gave a little demonstration of its prowess.

Not long after construction started, the golf club house, which it was thought might be moved and converted into a faculty club, was destroyed by fire of undetermined origin. Almost all of the architects' papers and con tractors' materials in the building were saved, and not much damage was done to geological specimens and museum pieces that had been brought from Prince Street and temporarily stored there. To cover the loss, the University collected over $59,000 in insurance. 18

VIII

In finished form, the monumental library--an epic in brick and stone-dominated the campus panorama, and at the rear space was available for future expansion. Recommendations by some University officers that the library should stand on the south side of the quadrangle, in the direction of the Medical School, were frustrated by the architects' conception of what would be most impressive and speak of strength and virility. Responsibility for the interior detail rested with the young, energetic University librarian, Donald B. Gilchrist, who learned much of value on visitations to other university centers and who chose the experienced James T. Gerould of Princeton University as consultant.

Pressure by the trustees virtually forced Rush Rhees to allow his name to be affixed to the Library. On order of the board, too, tribute was on the Oak Hill project paid to architects, builders, and workmen in an inscription on the south wall of the library foyer, while close-by the names of the thousands of subscribers to and the campaign personnel of the 1924 Greater University drive were recorded in a glass-encased volume.

The imposing round tower of the Library soared to nineteen stories, reaching a height of 186 feet. At the summit a stone lantern held a chime of seventeen bells, played from a room on the nineteenth level, Professor Slater serving as the pioneer bellman. To posterity he left a poetic inscription on the wall:

Hear them at evening chime
Bells of the future, bells of the past,
Bells of beautiful things that last,
Eternity, telling time!


Ornamental stone urns flanked the granite steps leading from the quadrangle into the Library, and chiselled into the face were two fragments of everlasting wisdom devised by Slater:

Here Is The History
Of Human Ignorance
Error Superstition
Folly War And Waste
Recorded By Human
Intelligence For The
Admonition Of Wiser
Ages Still To Come


Here Is The History
Of Mans Hunger For
Truth Goodness And
Beauty Leading Him
Slowly On Through
Flesh To Spirit From
Bondage To Freedom
From War To Peace



Slater also composed or selected inscriptions, epigrams, medallions, and names to adorn several sections of the Library. A faculty committee after no little travail picked the twelve immortal intellectuals whose names stood on a frieze across the facade. Rising above the main entrance was a classic portico of six Doric columns, topped by a pediment with statues of four humans and two lions centered around the seal of the University. Still higher was a circular open colonnade leading to the stone lantern and thence to the summit. Against the expressed wishes of Rhees--though to his unfeigned delight--floodlights were installed to illuminate the upper portion of the huge structure. For the facade Indiana limestone was used extensively. Granite balustrades extended from the Library to the adjacent academic buildings.

Sets of double doors made of teakwood opened into the foyer of the Library. They held glass panels, protected by bronze grilles, and incorporated near the bottom the marks of pioneer printers. The foyer itself had a mosaic marble floor, and walls of polished Indiana limestone, colonnaded with fluted stone pillars. Set between the pillars were cases in which to display books, manuscripts and the like; and, above the cases were portrait medallions of the muses and illustrations of the varied methods of recording human thought. Lintels of carved stone over doors on either side of the foyer bore likenesses of the goddesses of wisdom and memory.

A doorway to the south admitted to an austere reserve reading room while its companion on the north opened into the prototype of a private club. Oak panelled walls, a painted glass window in an alcove, a fireplace, and comfortable chairs and settees were an invitation to relaxed reading. A line of Cicero stood over the fireplace, "In Secundis Voluptas In Adversis Perfugium"--"in success a joy, in adversity a shelter. " Called originally a browsing (which chance undergraduates interpreted as "drowsing") room, it was the gift of two trustees, Francis R. Welles, 1875, and Charles A. Brown, 1879, and in time it was renamed in their memory.

Off a hall at the east end of the ground level, a Treasure Room, furnished by Trustee Edward G. Miner, formed a sanctuary for rare books, precious documents, and original manuscripts, the most prized of them secure in a large vault. At the opposite side, space that had initially been thought of as a second reserve room eventually became the quarters of the University archives, regional history resources, and allied holdings. On the northeast corner of the first floor was a lecture room large enough to accommodate 150 auditors.

Solid stone balustrades, in which marks of old-time printers were cut, lined two grand stairways proceeding to the second floor--"the working" area of the Library. A tribute on the wall along the south staircase directed attention to the Library chime donated by the Hopeman family. At the head of the stairs two stone statues symbolized knowledge and industry (originally, the latter held a camera in her hand, but good taste dictated its removal). The hall on this level opened into the book catalogues and the loan desk, and to the south was the periodical room, each publication in a dust-proof box of its own. Library administrative offices and the cataloguing department occupied the northern sector of the floor. A spacious reading room was laid out on the west side and ringed around with open shelves holding major works of reference; names of eminent thinkers and authors from Moses to Madam Curie stood over the cases. Medallions of famous writers and choice epigrams filled three panels at either end of this handsomely proportioned hall. Off to the south was the bibliographical room, and to the north an area where readers might smoke if they chose.

Small seminar and staff rooms were placed on the third level, while the fourth floor and the basement were largely vacant, except for newspapers stored in the latter. On or beside walls throughout the edifice, portraits or busts of Presidents and of other notable personalities in the University saga were set.

It was estimated that the Library stacks could accommodate 676,000 volumes, or with additional shelving as many as one million. At first only five of the nineteen levels were opened, and approximately 136,000 titles were brought from the Prince Street Campus. An elevator ascended to the nineteenth level, and automatic conveyor belts, never much used, were installed to transfer books to and from the stacks to the loan desk. Costs of the building and equipment substantially exceeded preliminary calculations. A highly important decision was taken to classify all University holdings on the Library of Congress system, which necessitated recataloguing the volumes acquired over the decades by the College library. 19

For a time, it looked as though the University collections might be enriched by the fine resources of the private Reynolds Library in the city. After an agreement to combine the Reynolds with the Rochester City Library failed to be implemented, the Reynolds trustees, several of them also members of the U of R. board, voted in a confidential action to merge the holdings with the University library and to donate as much as $300,000 for the construction of what became the Rhees Library. The joint library would be known as the Reynolds Memorial.

Somehow or other journalists learned of this plan and a section of the Rochester press protested violently against unification; civic groups, especially women's clubs, joined in the hue and cry. The Reynolds collections, it was heatedly argued, should remain downtown where books would be readily accessible; union with the University, moreover, would do violence to a moral obligation to Mortimer Reynolds, the donor of the Library. Extreme critics accused the U. of R. of trying to steal the Reynolds resources and likened it to an octopus intent on wrapping its arms around all the intellectual and cultural resources of the city. Answering the accusations, Rhees stated flatly that the University could not entertain a merger proposal so long as there was any possibility of consolidating the Reynolds and City libraries. Wisely, the University authorities renounced the whole project, but persistent misrepresentation of the attitude of the University so infuriated Rhees that out of self-respect he resigned as a trustee of the City library; subsequently the Reynolds Library joined the City system. 20

IX

Structures for teaching and research flanked both sides of the Eastman Quadrangle, all alike in external appearance: building material largely of brick with stone trim on the facades, Doric and Ionic columns in the porticoes, and stone carving on the pediments and around the doorways. Altogether, the Quadrangle afforded a grand spectacle for eyes appreciative of architecture.

On the south side were erected the Bausch and Lomb Memorial for physics and optics, and Chester Dewey Hall for geology and biology, to which a museum wing was attached at the rear, making it the largest academic building; in it were placed the U. of R. scientific collections, dating back to the Ward purchase of 1862, brought over from the Prince Street Campus. A vivarium, partly a greenhouse, to the south enhanced the resources for teaching botany. Matching these buildings on the opposite side of the Quadrangle, and like them linked by colonnades, were the Samuel A. Lattimore Hall of chemistry and William Carey Morey Hall assigned to administration offices, social studies, languages and literatures, and mathematics. Owing to the sloping terrain, these two buildings had three stories on the front, but five to the north. By an incredible oversight, Morey was not fitted out with an elevator.

South of the Quadrangle facilities for mechanical and chemical engineering were constructed and, like the laboratories in the science buildings, the engineering structure and an adjacent shop for instruction were by the standards of the late 1920's superbly equipped.

Before proposals to establish a campus on Oak Hill had crowded to the fore, the widow of Henry Alvah Strong agreed to finance the construction of an auditorium, which would include a chapel, on the Prince Street Campus. But that plan was laid aside in favor of a memorial auditorium to her husband on the west side of the Oak Hill plaza that approached the Eastman Quadrangle. The principal hall could seat 1,200 and a basement room 300.

A large stage and orchestra pit rendered the auditorium suitable for large academic gatherings or varied types of entertainment. As usual, costs outran calculations, but Mrs. Strong furnished additional funds, which George Eastman supplemented, to cover actual expenditures.

To the north of Strong Auditorium a students' union was built, several undergraduates sharing in decisions on arrangements and layout. Apart from dining facilities, the union was designed as the headquarters of extracurricular activities other than athletics, for dances, banquets, allied social functions, and alumni offices, and it contained game rooms, a bookstore, and haberdashery and barber shops; an enclosed porch made up a portion of the facade. Counting the basement, the building had three floors, a grill room on the lowest level resembling a colonial taproom. It was once thought of commemorating George W. Todd in a residence hall, but when it was learned that the originator of the Oak Hill idea was deeply interested in the student union, he was persuaded to allow his name to be carved on that building. An inscription over the fireplace recounts that the River Campus "is the realization of a dream of George W. Todd who first proposed the site and organized the group of citizens who procured the funds to make the dream a reality.. . . "

A suggestion to reserve space in Todd Union for a faculty club was considered, but turned aside in favor of a section for that purpose in one of the two dormitories, erected on what was sometimes referred to as the lower campus. These residence halls, of four floors each, had room for 189 occupants and memorialized Professor Henry F. Burton and George N. Crosby, a largely self-educated Rochester businessman who bequeathed a substantial legacy to the U. of R. Time revealed troublesome defects in the dormitories: noise penetrated through walls," open stairwells invited exhibitions of hooliganism," corridors were badly lighted; chairs were less than comfortable and no rugs or bookcases were furnished. Playing fields extended from the dormitories to the River Boulevard, close by the Genesee. 21

In full architectural harmony with other Oak Hill structures, a commodious physical education complex, part of it called the Alumni Gymnasium like its forerunner on Prince Street, was laid out to the east of the residence halls. In addition to standard equipment for gymnastic exercises and indoor sports, two arenas for games were provided, the larger (seating 2,000) designed for basketball contests (and semester examinations). There were also a spacious swimming pool with seats roundabout for 500, a large field house in which to practice, an eight-laps-to-the mile track, and jumping and vaulting pits. Squash and handball courts, shower rooms, lockers, and staff offices completed the facilities. To the north of this complex a dozen tennis courts were laid out.

Across a roadway to the east a crescent-shaped grandstand of brick and concrete could care for about 6,000 onlookers, while temporary bleachers, if required, could accommodate as many more; an enclosed press box would protect sports writers from the elements. So arranged were the entrances that spectators could evacuate the stadium in ten minutes, and beneath it were dressing rooms, lockers, and showers for athletes, and a garage in which forty cars could be parked. Over the principal entrance ornamental stone discs were implanted, the central one depicting an athlete with a statue of Victory in his extended hand.

The football gridiron extended to the east and was encircled by a quarter-mile cinder track, and still farther east were playing and practice fields for baseball, football, and soccer. Take them as a whole, the U. of R. facilities for sports and physical fitness compared favorably with the best in the entire country.

X

The northwestern portion of the campus, immediately in front of Todd Union, was set aside for homes of the fraternities. Almost as soon as removal to Oak Hill came under serious discussion, leaders of the Greek societies engaged in conferences with administrative officials on future houses, and a special committee made up representatives of the fraternities was formed. The trustees assenting, Rhees proposed to the committee that the University assign a plot of ground to each fraternity in return for a nominal payment. Designs of homes would be subject to review and approval by University architects, and limitations would be placed on the amount that might be expended on buildings; heat, water, and light moreover, would be furnished to the houses on a metered basis. If desired, the U. of R. would loan each fraternity up to half the cost of construction, but it reserved the right to take over any property at any time with reasonable compensation for the fraternity equity. With alacrity the Greeks accepted this generous agenda.

As plans unfolded, $60,000 was set as the maximum that might be spent on a house, exclusive of furnishings. It was understood, too, that sleeping quarters should accommodate no more than twelve men, and that no dining facilities should be provided, but the last point was dropped in deference to undergraduate wishes.

Nine parcels were blocked out, most of them surrounding what came to be known as the Fraternity Quadrangle, and drawings by lot were held to determine the location of homes for seven of the ten fraternities which desired to build. A building committee of each Greek society engaged an architect, decided on the design of the new home, and organized an appeal among the brothers for construction funds. Alpha Delta Phi, for example, issued a pamphlet describing the plans for its house and reminding the alumni, "This is not the House that Jack built--but the house that YOUR JACK must build."

Despite the Great Depression, vigorous fund-raising drives yielded gratifying results. Young Sigma Delta Epsilon, by way of illustration, which counted only eighty-nine alumni on its rolls, contrived to collect about $16,000; the University extended a loan in the same amount and up the house went, graduates with clever hands putting the finishing touches on the interior.

The building committee of Alpha Delta Phi estimated that the Prince Street property of the fraternity could be sold for at least $45,000 and that much more would be subscribed by graduates. Those calculations, alas, were partly upset by the coming of the Depression, yet some 275 out of 367 living alumni (including practically every graduate living in Rochester) pledged upwards of $53,000 to be paid in installments over five years, and, though there was no market for the Prince Street house a bank loan of $20,000 on it was obtained. An auction of the furniture added a princely $73.10 to the building fund; when finally sold the property netted less than $22,000. A window showing the Alpha Delt emblem was removed to the new home, whose total cost amounted to nearly $86,000, of which over $68,000 went for construction and the rest for furnishings and equipment. 22

By the end of 1951 seven Greek bodies had been installed in attractive residences, representing, happily, a variety in form, shape, and distinctive internal arrangements. As prescribed, the plans had been approved by U. of R. representatives, and on paper, at least, the University owned the seven houses which with equipment cost about $450,000. Besides, the University purchased four fraternity homes near the Prince Street Campus, and University loans on houses together with a few subsequent loans amounted to almost $225,000.

No more house construction took place until 1955, when Kappa Nu (after 1961 Phi Epsilon Pi) erected a dwelling on the Fraternity Quadrangle. Alpha Phi Delta and Beta Delta Gamma acquired homes on Scottsville Road and Elmwood Avenue, respectively, a few minutes walk from the campus. 23

XI

Preparation of the terrain for the Oak Hill buildings and sports grounds involved an immense amount of grading. It was an "M and M job," an eye-witness recorded, "Mud and Misery," and he surmised that the earth that was moved "would have filled a string of Mack trucks from Rochester to Omaha, Nebraska." At the eastern limit of the property where a railway emerged, a bank of earth nearly ten feet high was thrown up to obscure the trains. Landscaped terraces from the Eastman Quadrangle to the lower campus, sewage systems, footpaths, roadways, and parking areas were built, and the River Boulevard was constructed, partly at University expense. Wherever possible oak and elm trees on the campus were preserved, and two rows of tall elms were planted on the Eastman Quadrangle; areas near buildings were skillfully landscaped and shrubbery and ivy set out. Memorial statues of individuals were forbidden by vote of the Trustees. Notwithstanding all the construction, broad and pleasing green spaces dotted the eighty-seven acre tract.

Heat for the new buildings was supplied by the central plant serving the medical center. Beneath the Eastman Quadrangle, steam mains were enclosed in wide and tall tunnels which proved a boon to pedestrians in rough weather.

By the time the Campus was ready to receive students, costs of construction edged toward $8,000,000 and in the end amounted to $8,171,000, far in excess of what had been calculated when the Greater University fund campaign was conducted. As work proceeded, subscribers to the University fund were periodically informed of what had been accomplished through "Progress of Greater University Development Bulletins," containing both text and photographs. Paragraphs devoted to the "financial aspect" urged delinquents to fulfill their pledges. Actually, by early 1929 when the last of the ten installments was due, almost all the subscriptions had been paid. That was well, inasmuch as the Great Depression descended before the year had run its course. 24

XII

It was voted by the trustees that the Oak Hill acreage should be known officially as the "River Campus" and the former home of the College as the "Old Campus," but it was soon felt that "Prince Street Campus" would be preferable. The idea of assigning a distinctive name to the Women's College--both "Anthony" and "Genesee" had its champions--brought no affirmative response from the policymaking authorities. While construction went ahead at Oak Hill, academic buildings on Prince Street were renovated and repaired, the most extensive reformation being effected in the oldest structures.

With funds given by Hiram W. Sibley, Sibley Hall underwent drastic transformation. The entrance lobby was remodelled, spiral staircases to the balcony above the principal reading room were replaced by a single stairway at the eastern end, and the insertion of a mezzanine made a "browsing room" and seminar studies possible. As has been noted, most of the books in Sibley Hall, except for works on education, Spanish, and Italian, were shifted to the River Campus. For the use of students (and the general public) at Prince Street about 22,000 volumes were retained or acquired, mostly duplicates of books at the Rhees Library, together with an assortment of current magazines and learned periodicals. To facilitate borrowing of books from the Rhees Library, the Sibley catalogue listed the holdings on the River, and a regular delivery service made books available in a few hours after an order was placed.

So thorough was the interior reconstruction of Anderson Hall that the venerable structure was scarcely recognizable. Just inside the main entrance in a light and airy lobby a highly polished stone floor replaced the old oil-soaked floor of boards. Instead of wooden stairs with battered treads and sheathing, steel stairways ran from basement to the top floor at each end of hallways. A handsomely appointed social room and a large lecture hall replaced the historic chapel, and offices for the administrative personnel were blocked out on the same level. Additional classroom and faculty studies, large and well-lighted, were provided," French windows were set in steel frames, classrooms were equipped with fresh furnishings, walls were redecorated, and new floors laid. Even the basement boasted classrooms and faculty offices, along with a well-stocked bookshop, lockers, and storage space. A comfortable smoking room for the women, fitted out with stout leather furniture, would doubtless have caused President Anderson to turn pale with horror. While the high stone steps at the main entry were preserved, the mansard roof was rebuilt and the antiquated chimneys were removed.

Carnegie Building was reconditioned to satisfy the requirements of the geology and psychology departments. To furnish warmth for the Eastman School dormitories, the addition to the Memorial Art Gallery, and other buildings in prospect, the heating plant was considerably enlarged and made more efficient.

Remodelling of Catharine Strong Hall auditorium extended the stage and corrected faulty acoustics. It was thought of overhauling the former men's gymnasium to render it more suitable for women, but, instead, it was soon decided to tear down that quaint edifice and erect on the site a student union, made possible by a handsome bequest from Trustee James G. Cutler; a dormitory for women was considered, though not realized until 1939. New tunnels connected (1925) the heating plant to the principal buildings, an automatic bell system was installed (1927), and a steel flagpole replaced the weather-beaten wooden one. The former homes of Psi Upsilon and Delta Upsilon, bought by the University, were converted into dormitories. Beautification of the grounds was achieved by substituting grass plots for patches of macadam and roadways and by laying down new walks. Motorcars were excluded from the campus, but parking lots were provided behind academic buildings. All in all, the refashioned Prince Street Campus possessed a charm, a mellowness that would not be approached on the River for a quarter of a century. 25

XIII

In this decade of rapid and immense expansion, it was singularly appropriate that a substantial history of the U. of R.--the first of its kind--should have appeared. Entitled Rochester: The Making of a University (1927), it was the handiwork of Jesse L. Rosenberger, 1888, a Chicago lawyer who invested four years of painstaking work in the book. It traced the University record across three-quarters of a century and every graduate was given a copy. Considering the vast changes, it was fitting, also, to portray the Greater University on the official seal. The new design (by Philipp Merz of the Gordon and Kaelber firm, who was also responsible for much of the Rhees Library ornamentation) took the form of a shield encircled with the inscription, "Seal of the University of Rochester--1850." A bar across the shield bore the traditional University motto, "Meliora;" two medallions above the bar represented the Arts and Sciences and Music, respectively--an open book across which was written, "Ars et Scientia," and a Greek lyre with the word "Musica;" in the medallion below a symbol of Aesculapius represented "Medicina." 26

Next Chapter: The Changing College
Back to: History of the University of Rochester Homepage


Footnotes to Chapter 22

  1. Campus, XLV, February 13, 20,1920. Ibid., XLVI, February 25, March 18, 1921. R D&C, March 20, 21, 1938. New York Times, March 20, 1938. National Cyclopedia of American Biography, XLI (1958), 117-118. George W. Todd to Rush Rhees, April 7, 1931. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Todd, April 8, 1931. Ibid. Rush Rhees to Alan Valentine, April 30, 1938. Valentine Papers. Rochester Commerce, March 28, 1938. Anon., "George W. Todd," Ibid., XXXII, June 25, 1945. Conversation A. J. May--George L. Todd, November 27, 1965. The personal papers of Todd tell very little about the Oak Hill project, but that little is precious.
  2. Brighton-Pittsford Post, Oct. 13, Nov. 24, 1966. Harper Sibley to Rhees, March 7, 1921. Rhees Papers. A. H. Lauterbach to Rhees, March 22, 1921. Ibid. Walter S. Hubbell, 1871, to Rhees, June 17, 1921. Ibid. [College] Faculty Minutes, VII, March 3, April 6, 1921. Charles W. Dodge to Rhees, April 12, 1921. Rhees Papers. Raymond N. Ball to Rhees, Sept. 19, 24, 1921. Ibid. Slater, Rhees, pp. 224-225, 228-229.
  3. R D&C, Feb. 10, 1921. Campus, XLVI, Feb. 11, 18, 1921. Ibid., XLVII, Nov. 11, 1921. Anon., "A Sleepless Night and a Great Vision," RAR, III (1924-25), no. 2, 38. Raymond N. Ball to Rush Rhees, Feb. 10, 1921. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Burt L. Fenner, 1891, March 5, 1921. Ibid. Rhees to Trustees, June 16, Sept. 6, 1921. Ibid. John R. Slater to Rhees, Nov. 7, 1921. Ibid. Rhees to Slater, Nov. 7, 1921. Ibid. Trustee Records, V, June 11, Nov. 5, I921.
  4. George W. Todd to Rush Rhees; Nov. 2, 1921. Rhees Library Archives. Todd to Rhees, November 5, 1921. Rhees Papers. Todd to Raymond N. Ball, January 17, 1922. Rhees Library Archives.
  5. George W. Todd to Rush Rhees, November 2, 7, 1921. Rhees Library Archives. Todd to Clarence Wheeler, January 16, 1922. Ibid. Harper Sibley to Rhees, January 20, May 12, 1922. Rhees Papers. Raymond N. Ball to Rhees, August 1, 1922. Ibid. Executive Committee Minutes, VIII, March 9, May 3, 1922. Ibid., IX, February 12, 1924. R T-U, April 5, 1924. John R. Williams, "Oak Hill: A Country Club of Great Natural Beauty" (1935). In the pamphlet is a short history of the club by Thomas L. Foulkes. Rhees Library Archives. R D&C, June 2, 1968. Anon., "University Acquires Oak Hill," RAR, II (1924), no. 4, 74. Rhees to George Eastman, July 3, 1924. Rhees Papers. Eastman to Ball, April 13, 1925. Ibid. Harry H. Servis to Rhees, January 1, 1929. Ibid. Ball to Todd, March 2l, 1923. Ibid. Eastman to Walter S. Hubbell, April 13, 1925. Personal Letter Book, 21. Eastman Papers.
    An amusing, imaginative bit in a sensational critique of higher education in America stated that the U. of R. was "moving out to a new site, furnished by Mr. Eastman, the Kodak King, and all around that site... members of the board of trustees and their relatives and friends have been making money buying up real estate on advance information." Upton Sinclair, The Goosestep (Los Angeles, 1922) , p. 165.
  6. Herman L. Fairchild, "How Old is Oak Hill?" RAR, IV (1925-26), no. 2, 35-37. George D. Selden, "Cornfed Indians Liked Oak Hill," Ibid, XVI, (1938), no. 4, 10-12. Arthur C. Parker, "The First Human Occupation of the Rochester Region," RHSP, X (1931), 19-48. Nathaniel S. Olds, 1896, to Rush Rhees, June 24, 1924. Rhees Papers. Alexander M. Stewart, 1900, "Beside the Genesee in 1669," RAR, XV (1937), no. 5, 11-13. McKelvey, I, l-16.
  7. Anon., "River Campus Delighted Pioneers who Settled there 125 years ago," RAR, XIX (1940-41), no. 2. 20. Anon., "Campus once Glue Factory Site," Ibid., XVI (1937-38), no. 2, 10-11. Campus, LX, May 3, 1925. As of 1968, the land records of the Oak Hill acreage were in the office of the Associate Director of University Plant.
  8. R D&C, Nov. 25, 1924. Rush Rhees to Edward Hungerford, March 22, 1922. Rhees Papers. Hungerford to Rhees, July 25, Aug. 21, 1923. Ibid. Rhees to Jesse L. Rosenberger, Dec. 15, 1923. Ibid. Campus, XLIX, Sept. 28, 1923. Executive Committee Minutes, IX, July 7, 1924. Joseph T. Alling, "Rochester's Challenge and Opportunity," RAR, V (1923), 97-100.
  9. Roger Butterfield, 1927, "George Eastman's Vision of the University," RAR, XVI (1954) , no. 1, 10, 30.
  10. Brighton-Pittsford Post, Nov. 24, 1966. George Eastman to Rush Rhees, July 13, 1923. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Raymond N. Ball, July 24, 1923. Ibid. Rhees to Trevor Arnett and vice versa, Aug. 29--Dec. 6, 1923. Ibid. Abraham Flexner to Rhees, Nov. 13, 1924. Ibid. R D&C, August 28, 1923.
  11. Anon., "Greater University Campaign Now Under Way," RAR, III (1924), no. 1, l-6. R D&C, November 9-25, 1924. Campus, L, October 17, 1924. New York Times, November 15, 24, 1924. George Eastman to Harvey J. Burkhardt, November 12, 1924. Personal Letter Book, 20. Eastman Papers. Eastman to Frank Seaman, November 15, 1924. Ibid. Executive Committee Minutes, IX, November 26, 1924. Rush Rhees to David J. Hill, December 1, 1924. Rhees Papers. President's Report, June 1, 1925. An incomplete collection of the campaign literature may be found in the Rhees Library Archives. The "Ten Million Dollar Bulletin" of November 24, 1924, contains a full list of the personnel in the campaign organization.
  12. Anon., "Greater University Campaign Breaks Records," RAR, III (1924-25), no. 2, 29. Trustee Records, VI, June 13, 1925, May 21, 1927. R D&C, Nov. 25, 1924.
  13. Rush Rhees to Charles W. McCutcheon, Nov. 23, 1925. Rhees Papers. Rhees to H. J. Thorkelson, May 14, Nov. 30, 1925. Ibid. R T-U, Nov. 24, 1925. Trustee Records, VI, May 21, 1927, May 12, 1928.
  14. Anon., "Six Millions more from Mr. Eastman," RAR, III (1924-25), no. 2, 41. Rush Rhees to Francis R. Welles, Dec. 8, 1924. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Charles A. Brown, Dec. 8, 1924. Ibid. Rhees to George Eastman, April 10, 20, 1925. Ibid. Eastman to Raymond N. Ball, April 13, 1925 (copy), Ibid. Rhees to Dexter Perkins, July 2, 1934. Ibid. R T-U, April 14, 1925. Executive Committee Minutes, IX, April 28, 1931.
  15. Diana Rice, "George Eastman the Silent," World Today (London), LIII (1929), 483-487. Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 12, 1929. Samuel McCoy, "Eastman. Embarks on a New Adventure," New York Times, Dec. 28, 1924. Ibid., Dec. 9, 10, 24, 1924. Ackerman, George Eastman, pp. 382, 455-457. Edward R. A. Seligman, "A Rich Man and His Money," Review of Reviews (New York), LXXXI (1930), 51-52--this piece served as the introduction to the Ackerman biography. George Eastman to Daniel R. Clark, Nov. 28, 1924 (copy). Rhees Papers. President's Report, June 1, 1925, Anon., "The Goose-Step and the Golden Eggs," The New Republic, XLI, Dec. 24, 1924, 106-108--the writer lamented that Eastman, instead of financing an "experimental" college, had "fattened beyond recognition an excellent but safely conservative institution." Dale Carnegie, "George Eastman," American Magazine CIX, April, 1930, 208.
  16. Burt L. Fenner to Rush Rhees, Nov. 13, 1922. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Edwin S. Gordon, Nov. 3, 1922. Ibid. Rhees to L. M. Todd, May 10, 1939. Ibid. Executive Committee Minutes, IX, Feb. 26, 1923. Edwin S. Gordon, "Construction Work Starting on Oak Hill Site," RAR, V (I927), no 4, 99-101. R T-U, August 14, 1923.
  17. Executive Committee Minutes, IX, May 14, Dec. 2, 28, 1925, Dec. 3, 1926, Jan. 27, 1927. "Bulletins on Progress of Greater University Development," no. 4, Dec. 16, 1926. "Notes on Conferences, February 8--May 24, 1927. " Miner Papers, Box 194.
  18. F. L. Olmsted to Gordon and Kaelber, May 29, 1926. Rhees Papers. Rush Rhees to Raymond N. Ball, June 15, 1930. Ibid. Ball to Rhees, June 23, 1930. Ibid. R T-U, May 23, 1927. Anon., "Construction Work Started on New Campus," RAR, V (1927), no. 5, 145-146. R D&C, September 25, 1927. Ball to Edward G. Miner, March 19, 1929. Miner Papers, Box 193.
  19. Donald B. Gilchrist, "The Rush Rhees Library..." Library Journal, LVI (1931), 343-346. Vera Tweddell, 1927, "Inscriptions at Rush Rhees Library," URLB, XIII (1958) 52-56. New York Times, March 21, 1930. Executive Committee Minutes, IX, Sept. 27, 1928, March 21, 1929. Trustee Records, VI, June 14, 1930. Raymond N. Ball to Rush Rhees, Sept. 8, 1926. Rhees Papers. John R. Slater to Rhees, Oct. 2, Nov. 9, Dec. 9, 1929, June 2, 1930. Ibid. Edward G. Miner to Rhees, Jan. 22, 1930. Ibid. Ball to Miner, July 24, 1929. Miner Papers, Box 194. Miner to Rhees, January 22, 1930. Ibid., Box 193. Cf. John R. Russell to Alan Valentine, June 4, 1945. Valentine Papers.
  20. Raymond N. Ball to Rush Rhees, May 2, September 3, 1927. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Joseph T. Alling, August 2, 1927. Ibid. Executive Committee Minutes, IX, July 6, November 14, 1927. R D&C, July 6, August 17, October 25, 26, 1927. R T-U, October 27, November 24, 1927. Anon., "The U. of R. and the Reynolds Library Situation," RAN, II (1928), no. 3, 3-6. Rhees to Stephen B. Story, January 21, 1931. Rhees Papers.
  21. Campus, XLVI, December 17, 1920. Hattie M. Strong to Rush Rhees, October 16, 1928. Rhees Papers. Raymond N. Ball to Rhees, March 19, May 23, 1930. Ibid. George Eastman to Rhees, November 5, 1930. Ibid. Rhees to Eastman, January 15, 1930. Ibid. Anon., "The Story Back of Todd Union," RAR, X (1931), no.1, 3-6. Executive Committee Minutes IX, May 23, 1930.
  22. Campus, XLVI, March 11, 1921. Ibid., XLVIII, Feb. 23, 1923. Ibid. LIV, Dec. 7, 14, 1928. Rush Rhees to Fraternity Committee, June 10, 1924. Rhees Papers. Hugh A. Smith, 1907, "Fraternity Housing Progress and Problems," RAR, VIII (1928-29), no. 2, 43-45. R D&C, April 18, 1931, Charles R. Dalton, 1920, "History of Gamma Pi Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity," Rhees Library Archives. Dalton, "A Study of the Social Fraternities on River Campus..." (1964). Ibid. Morris, "Alpha Delta Phi," 54-58. "The Grads Reverie of Alpha Delta Phi," 1930-32, passim. Rhees Library Archives.
  23. RAR, XVII (1938), no. 1, 14.
  24. Livingston, op. cit., 78. Trustee Records, VI, May 12, 1928, January 18, 1930. "Report of Progress of Greater University Development Bulletins," Rhees Library Archives--the first of these pamphlets came off the press about October, 1925, and the eighth (apparently the last) bears the date of July 1, 1929; the second and third issues have not been found. Hugh A. Smith, "Progress of Greater University Project," RAR, VII (1928), no. 1, 2-5. R D&C, April 15, 1929. Trustee Records, VI. January 31, 1931.
  25. Anon., "The Old Order Changeth," RAN, III (1928), no. 1, 3. Campus, LIV, May 2, 1929. Rush Rhees to Charles Hoeing, June 26, 1930. Rhees Papers. Anon., "A Tour of Inspection of Anderson Hall," RAR, IX (1931), no. 3, 75-77. Anon., "Catharine Strong Hall Remodelled," RAN, III (1929), no. 3,17. Anon., "A Renovated Campus," Ibid., IV (1930), no. 2, 5. Donald B. Gilchrist, "Women's College Library," Ibid., IV, 6-8.
  26. Rush Rhees to Jesse L. Rosenberger, 1888, November 24, 1923. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Elon H. Hooker, 1891, October 29, 1927. Ibid. RAR, VI (1927), no. 1, 15, 20. Trustee Records, VI, June 16, 1928. Anon. "University's New Seal," RAR, VII (1928-1929), no. 2, 46. R D&C, January 11, 1929.