West Dorm as Summer Resort in 1909

Katie Nash May 21, 2014

West Dorm, early 1910s

West Dorm, early 1910s

As the campus prepares for commencement exercises on May 24, 2014, we can’t forget about all the history and interesting stories that have involved West Residence Hall since it opened on campus in the fall of 1906. As the campus community and guests enjoy the shade and cool breezes under the oaks and facing West Residence Hall during commencement, here’s an interesting story about West during the summer of 1909. Here’s to the beginning of summer! 

Interior of student's dorm room in West, 1908

Interior of student’s dorm room in West, 1908

During the summer of 1909, West Dormitory served as a summer resort for many families in the local area as well as from other states. As stated in an article in the June 23, 1909 issue of the Christian Sun newspaper, West Dorm opened its doors to summer boarders and those who wished to vacation on the campus of Elon College. Visitors were assured that there would be “plenty of good pure well water, fresh vegetables, cool, clean, airy rooms, and every surrounding that could tend to coax one to health and vigor.” From June 10 through August 17, visitors could stay for weeks or months at a time for rates of $15.00 a month, $5.00 a week, or $1.25 a day. As advertised in the June 30 issue of the Christian Sun newspaper, the attractions offered included: “complete rest and quiet; the finest pure, cold water; a beautiful shady campus of 25 acres; the college library and reading room open to guests free a part of each day; lawn tennis, croquet, base ball, ‘marbles,’ ‘horse shoes,’ and ‘mumble-peg;’ two livery stables and good roads; near-by points Alamance Battle Ground (9 miles), ‘Pyle’s Hacking-Match’ grounds (5 miles), Burlington (4 miles), Graham (6 miles), Greensboro (17 miles), Raleigh (60 miles); the river and other fishing places from 3 to 5 miles away; good wholesome fare–fresh milk and butter from the College dairy, and fresh vegetables from the College gardens; on Southern Railway, 17 miles east of Greensboro, and on the main automobile road from Raleigh to Greensboro and western parts of the state; telegraph and express offices, and long-distance telephone connection with all points; splendid, new three story building, clean, neatly furnished, building supplied with hot and cold water, and bath and toilet rooms on each floor.” In a nutshell, West Dorm was advertised as “…an ideal place, in the Piedmont Section, for those seeking rest and recuperation, rather than the usual Summer Resort diversions and amusements.” In 1909, Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Jones were responsible for opening up West Dorm for summer boarders, and Mrs. Jones was in charge of the summer boarding house  for the entire summer. The previous year, Mrs. Jones served as the stewardess of East Dormitory on Elon’s campus. Another known family to stay in West Dorm for the entire summer in 1909, was the family of Mr. John Lawrence, who was the brother of Elon professor W.P. Lawrence. Mr. and Mrs. John Lawrence and their three children left Mineral Wells, Texas in mid-June and resided in West Dorm until mid-August. The Lawrence’s visited other family in Randolph County during their visit in North Carolina. As stated in the August 11, 1909 issue of the Christian Sun newspaper, “Members of his (John Lawrence) family who have been in delicate health have improved rapidly since coming to this place (West Dorm).” In late August after West Dorm ceased to be a summer resort, a new gymnasium floor was installed in West Dorm “for the physical culture and gymnasium exercises of the young ladies.” (Christian Sun, September 1, 1909)


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