Daily Archives: November 30, 2009

Blanchard Hall’s “Dugout” – Sesquicentennial Snapshot

In his memoirs The Wheaton I Remember, Edward “Coach” Coray (Professor Emeritus and former Executive Director of the Alumni Association) recalls his days as an undergraduate student at Wheaton in 1920s. Using a sports metaphor to recall a space full of active young men, Coray recalled a “dugout” from his past.

Blanchard 4th-floor residents, 1939-1940

“While I never roomed on the fourth floor of Blanchard Hall I have heard many stories of experiences of people associated with this historic area. I never really determined if the fourth floor attracted the kind of fellows it did or if there was something about the atmosphere of the place that made them that way. In any case fourth floor monitors, or whatever they were called, came and went quite rapidly. I think I should slip in here that some of our finest graduates are alumni of the fourth floor. Getting back to monitors, one bachelor professor got out of the job when he got married. It cannot be definitely proved that he got married in order to get out of the job. A young, scholarly graduate assistant got an unexpected shower bath, fully clothed. Even Del Nelson, a rugged athlete who served as “housemother” while coaching athletics, had some problems. Del is now Dr. Delburt Nelson, M.D., and a college trustee. I presume much of his success in life is due to his experiences handling inhabitants of the fourth floor. One night he was chasing a fellow who had shot off a big cannon fire cracker. The fellow tried to escape through an attic with an unfinished floor over the library on the floor below. Del was in hot pursuit. The boy’s foot slipped onto bare plaster and his whole leg came down through the library ceiling, scattering pieces of plaster over one of the tables. With the increase of dormitory facilities and the need for more office and classroom space, the fourth floor was closed as a resident hall. Alumni returning to campus still wander around the “Floor” pointing out where they and their friends roomed and swallowing lumps which come in their throats.”