October 01, 2015

Emerson Hall, President’s house, and the letters of Ethel Bird

Letters: From our Readers

Recalling Emerson Hall

My room was the one on the ground floor to the far left in this photo. It had five windows in a rounded turret where I placed my desk. What was amazing to me was the fact that I didn’t need to have a roommate (which after prep school was a major plus) and yet I had two rooms—an entry/study room and a separate bedroom. It felt like I was in Oxford, England, and would brag to guests who came over who only knew the more modern dorms.

The other freshmen who were allowed to live in Emerson all seemed to be the independent type—world travelers and people who had interesting life experiences. We were sure to catch Star Trek every evening when we returned from the dining hall next door. I’m so glad Emerson was not torn down and thank you Jim, Nancy, and everyone else who donated for recycling a college institution!

Pavel “Paul” Mikoloski’80
Yelm, Wash.

I really liked living in Emerson my freshman year, but I never knew what its history was. It was a double pleasure to visit during my 50th reunion not only to see where my old room was and remember my great first floor friends but also to know the hall was a significant part of entering college for the first women who enrolled at Beloit.

Barbara Lane Lucier’65
Saugatuck, Mich.

It’s great to see Emerson Hall back in the fold. My memories as a kid growing up in the ’40s and ’50s in Beloit were of the shaded, sunken tennis courts on the south lawn of Emerson Hall.

John Carroll’65
Beloit, Wis.

I lived in the Emerson annex as a freshman and couldn’t have been in a better place. A ready-made, small group of friends, plus the wider realm of the rest of Emerson Hall. I’m so happy to see that Emerson will still be going strong!

Susan Phillips Fletcher’62
Las Cruces, N.M.

May the newest Emerson Hall residents have as glorious a time as I did, back in 1950-51 as a freshman, and again two years later as a junior counselor! Can younger folks picture a grandmotherly sort of woman as our building “house mother?” All freshmen had that caregiver/chaperone person. She checked that we obeyed lights-out times and mothered those with ailments or problems and generally set the tone of welcoming (and behaving) that made our lives so pleasant.

We junior counselors had some of the same responsibilities, only for just one floor each. We lived with the freshmen women under their rules and mentored them while enjoying them as fellow Beloiters. Lots of good friendships and learning happened there, well worth the sacrifice of much of the usual junior experience!

Nancy Conant Kratohvil’54
Centennial, Colo.

President’s House Tour

It was with great pleasure that my husband and I read the wonderful article about the president’s home (spring 2015). I cannot be certain, but I believe my husband and I were the Reunion couple Mrs. Bierman referred to in her remarks.

For starters, the whole weekend and Reunion for the class of ’64 was fabulous. The Biermans did overhear us talking about the weekend, the house, and graciously invited us in. The tour was wonderful, and it was a pleasure to visit with both of them. Beloit is so fortunate to have President Bierman in his position.

Carole Homann Taylor’64
Waynesville, N.C.

Letters Home

I enjoyed the article in the summer 2015 issue by Fred Burwell’86 and Diane Lichtenstein about Ethel Bird and her letters home. It brought back fond memories of when I lived in Emerson Hall in the late 1960s, and of our recent tour of Emerson with Fred during the 2015 Reunion.

I laughed out loud when I read about Ethel washing laundry in the basement of Emerson. I also experienced the “washing” in the basement. We had the luxury of automatic machines, but they often operated in fits and starts. After struggling with them, I began taking most of my laundry to a commercial laundromat off-campus. I guess some things did not change too much from the 1900s to the 1960s.

I am very pleased that Emerson Hall has returned to Beloit College. Thanks to Fred and Diane for bringing this piece of history alive. We look forward to visiting Emerson Hall when its renovation is complete and students are living there again.

Beth Padon’70
Long Beach, Calif.

Also In This Issue

  • Beaches in Space and Time

    Beaches in Space and Time

  • Donald Summers

    In Remembrance of Professor Donald Summers

  • Large Brown Vase

    Collecting Today

  • The Moth podcast

    Moth Storytelling Founder to Hold Mackey Chair


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