April 20, 2012
The well-known Harden Dining Hall, located in the Harper Center, will be demolished shortly after Commencement in May 2012. The dining hall was constructed in 1967-1968 and was to be a part of the greater living-dining facility that was also being constructed. Once considered a “long” walk to Harden Dining Hall, we take a look back on how it became an integral part of Elon’s campus. On June 5, 1967 the Elon College Board of Trustees authorized the funding and construction of two dormitories and a dining hall to be built on Elon’s campus. Ground was broken for the new living-dining facility on October 27, 1967 and construction started in November 1967. The living-dining facility officially opened in September 1968.
Known today as Harper Center, this living-dining facility includes two dormitories, Staley and Moffitt, and Harden Dining Hall. When constructed, Staley Hall served as a residence hall for 200 women and Moffitt Hall housed 100 men. They were both named after former Elon College Presidents, William Wesley Staley (1894-1905) and Emmett Leonidas Moffitt (1905-1911). Harper Center was named after former Elon College President, William Allen Harper (1911-1931). Harden Dining Hall was named after a long-time Graham resident and Elon supporter, Dr. Graham Harden.
The March 5, 1969 Report of the Board of Trustees stated this about Harden Dining Hall, “The new cafeteria is one of the nicest to be found on any college campus. This unit will become an increasingly useful and attractive addition to our campus.” Harden was once considered a “long” walk from the main campus area (Alamance, Mooney, Duke, Carlton, Powell, Whitley), but with the addition of several buildings including the Center for the Arts, Koury Athletic Center, the Story Center, and the Moseley Center–Harden quickly became a not-so-distant building on campus. It will be forever remembered by Elon Alumni from the late 1960s-2012.