They are the first students to occupy the building since 1977. (The college sold Emerson to a builder/developer in 1980 with an option of reclaiming it after 35 years.)
While Emerson’s renovated interior feels fresh and new, students are still surrounded by reminders of the past, in part through the building’s unusual floor plans and room shapes—several located within turrets looking out onto legacy oak trees. A tactile reminder of the building’s 1897 origins was found in the attic under heaps of insulation during the restoration: sections of the well-preserved, original hand-carved staircase balustrade, which the college plans to repurpose into furniture. Another surprise was the discovery of the original first floor lounge, with the fireplace still intact. That space was initially unrecognizable because it had been converted into apartments.
At the time of this printing, the college was planning to hold a ribbon cutting event for Emerson Hall on August 19 that will formally bring the residence hall back into the campus fold. The event will recognize lead donors James and Nancy Packard, Frances Trout Norgren’53 and Robert Norgren’52, and Barbara Roth’37, whose gifts laid the groundwork for the Emerson restoration.