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December 09, 1932 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1932-12-09

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Mason Hall's



Old Structure




Was Once The
Reord .Depicts Student
iPranks And Fights in
City With esidents

'' .

The earliest days of great colleges
are in some manner associated with
a 'symbol. At Harvard, Yale, and
Brown that symbol is the Pilgrim
father, devout, learned. At Princeton
it is the stern Presbyterian, mingled.,
in some strange way, with the life
of the high south. At Columbia it
is the British New Yorker, already
interested in trade and commerce.
And at Michigan, oldest of colleges
in the land once composing the
Northwest Territory, it is the pioneer.
For the early history of Michigan
is one of struggle, of a fight by a few
men. against the natural hardships
of a world still crude, raw; still, in
short, "the wild and woolly west." It
is a struggle best told by recalling the
history of Michigan's oldest building,
Mvason Hall.
Plans for Mason Hall
The first plans for the erection of
Mason Hall were started in 1837, the
year that Michigan was admitted to
the. Union and the year that the act
creating the University passed the
state legislature. The Board of Re-
gents, returning to the east for in-
spiration and help, called upon a New
York architect, Alexander Davis, to
draw up plans for the first buildings.
It has been thought until recently
that the Davis design was for two
four-story dormitories, resembling
the old buildings of New England
colleges, with a chapel in the center.
'this, at least, is the plan which ap-
pears on a map of Ann Arbor in 1854.
However, it is now definitely estab-
lished,- from a design found in Mr.
Davis' papers, that the original plan
was for a single sumptuous Gothic
building, which would have looked
amazingly out of place on a Mich-
ian farm. This plan intrigued both
the townspeople of Ann Arbor and
the Board of Regents, the latter
group voting 11-0 in its favor.
Gothic Style Protested
But if the townspeople and the Re-
gents were captured by the Gothic
spires and Gothic windows, the su-
perintendent of. public instructin.
wa's neot. He ruled against the plan.
At' this' the Ann Arbor townseople,'
considerably annoyed that such an
unusual edifice was to. be denied
them, followed an ancient American
custom and held a protest meeting.
Nothing came of the meeting, for the
Regents did not have enough money
to erect so gaudy a structure any-
If one can imagine cheese being
sold in a China shop, or Bach being
played at a burlesque show, then one
can imagine Mr. Davis' original plan
situated on the Rumsey Farm in the
western town of. Ann Arbor, 1837. For
Ann Arbor in those days was a gen-
uine western town. It had 2,000 in-
habitants, four churches, two banks,
and eight mills anl manufacturing
plants. There were wooden sidewalks,
hitching posts for horses, general
trading stores, Indians entering from
the neighboring woods, steers,' bad
men, and good liquor. And it was
upon this community that Mr. Davis
wanted to .place a series of Gothic
arches! The superintendent of pub-
lic instruction was one wise man.
The building finally completed in
1841 was a very modest affair. It
was four stories high, 110 by 40 feet,
and located on a flat patch of land,
the Rumsey Farm, somewhat re-
ioved from the village proper, which
was down a slight grade to the west..
The Regents had an opportunity to
buy the land overlooking the Huron
River, giving a view of the surround-
ing countryside. But. for some unfor-
tunate reason the flat land which is
the University's present site was
chosen instead.
Contribution to Architecture
Citizens of Michigan considered
the building a contribution to archi-
tecture. An account of- that period
describes the building in this-vein, "A

more classical model or a more beau-
tiful finish cannot be imagined.. It
honors the architect, while it beau-
tifies the village." This was of Mason
Hall, and one is tempted to wonder
what the rest of the town looked like
if the new college was worth such
extravagant praise.
Yet the building, standing alone,
must have shown some resemblance
to the halls of eastern colleges. Like
Nassau Hall at Princeton and Uni-
versity Hall at Brown, it was oblong,
it was four stories high, it was ex-.
tremely simple in design. It did not,

however, have a bell tower on the
In 1843 the building was named
after Stevens T. Mason, first gover-
nor of the state. He was known as
the "boy governor," being only 25
years old when elected. The hall was
built of stone, faced with stucco, and
there is a tradition that the build-
ers, instead of mixing the stucco
with water, used skimmed milk, in
the hope that this would be -more
durable. Whether the tradition is
worth anything or not, it is certain
that the builders did a good .job, for
that stucco is still on the building
-almost 100 years old.
Instruction began in September,
1841, with a faculty of two and a
student body of five. One of the
members in that class was George
Washington Pray, 17 years old, who
had. a room on the northeast corner
f Mason Hall. He kept a diary, and
much of the life of that period has
Teen recorded by him.
Pray's Dairy
On Sunday, June 2, he says: "I
vent to the Presbyterian Church
:wice today. Things at church as
asual. The girls possesse of as many
vitching and enticing ways as usual
-they hitched and twitched and
hewed their huge bustles as much
is ever. The students rather more
attentive than usual because a pro-
'essor preached; notwithstanding
heir. eyes often wandered in the di-
"ection of some fair object..
"In the evening.1. went to the bu-.
-ial ground, which seems to be the
ashionable or rather commo'n resort
n Sabbath evening. You may see
;he pert misses going from one tomb-
;tone to another reading the inscrip-
ions as if they cared for them and
is if they had not read them a hun-
ired times before. They are very
ready to catch an ogle from any
;entleman who will favor them with
Those must have been great days
'n the political life of Michigan. The
-tate had only recently been admit-
'ed to the Union and voted in a na-
'nional campaign for the first time
'n 1844, when the contest was be-
;ween the Democrat Polk and the
Whig Clay. It was a period of the
pioneer spirit, of "manifest destiny:'
And it was a period which heard
the first, faint rumblings against the
slave order. Pray, on Oct. 9, wrote
in his diary, "There has been a -great
mass meeting of the Liberty Men
here today. Among the speakers was
a very interesting young man-a
run-away slave, who, they say, spore
very well."
Demo.rats Win Election
The election of 1844 was on Nov. a.
Pray wrote, "Today has been a great
day for America. It has been a day
upon the result of which perhaps the
destiny of our country hangs. At
least the policy of our government
for the next four years is today de-
termined . . . A great hurrahing and

rejoicing was kept up in town till
late in the night by the Democrats,
who are triumphant by a great ma-
jority in this county."
More interesting from a political
angle than the above quotation is
what Pray wrote on Nov. 10, five days
after the election was held. "A train
of cars," he noted, "came in from
Detroit about 12 in the night and
brought the news that the state of
New York is Democratic. The Demo-
:ratic flag waves triumphantly and
the stillness of the holy Sabbath
:norning is broken by the cheers of
legraded and unholy men."
Whether they were degraded men
because they broke the Sabbath still-
I tess or because they were Democrats,
Pray neglects to say.
They had a drinking problem in
those days. On Dec. 17, Pray notes,
"A. disgraceful and lamentable affair,
happened today. J. C. L., a student,
sixteen, got drunk, .had delirium tre-
moutrs, and came near dying . . .
He was expelled."
The dairy of George Pray lets us
view the student life that first year.
It is, altogether, a pleasant life. Pray
and his classmates were enjoying
themselves. Yet behind the diary,
unseen by Pray, the new college was
fighting for its existance. It stood
alone, an odd creature with its ridi-
culously small faculty and student
body, in the center of a booming
west. It traveled no royal road to
Buildings Save the School
In 1842 a good number of people
thought that the institutiolt had fin-
ished its career. And that might well
have been the case if Mason Hall, as
well as four faculty houses (one of
which was the present president's
home) were not already erected. Gov.
Barry that year stated, "as the state
has the buildings and has no other
use for them, it is probably best to
continue the school." Thus the col-
lege was allowed to exist on the very'
slight reason that there were some
vacant' buildings in the state, and
:omething might as well be done
,vith them.
Mason Hall was everything then..
t housed the administration rooms,
the library, the classrooms, the cha-
7el, and the dormitory rooms in
which the students slept.
The students arose - at 5:30 in the
norning. Then they went to chapel,:
and then to class before breakfast..
They were required to be on the cam-
.us during certain hours of the day
and were positively prohibited to.
leave the campus after 9:30 o'clock.
A bell, borrowed from the Michigan
Central Railroad, and erected-,on top
of a- pole in back of Mason Hall, rang
Daily to, awaken the students. The
man who rang it was Pat Kelly, jan-
:tor, who had charge of the campus
1ows, sheep, and farming products.
Bell Frozen
As the years passed the bell bc-
tame the center of a good deal of
I .miisement_ One of the most joyful

ites Early
on the matter could hardly have had '
much effect .upon the cow. e
In 1849 the South Wing, an exact k
replica of Mason Hall, was construct-
ed, and the. two buildings became t
known as North College and South i
College. Not until 1870 was Univer- f
sity Hall built, joining the two early a
buildings. This edifice had a large or- (
nate dome, visible for miles. But in A
1898 the tower was condemned, torn i
down, and the present one erected. d
White Praises University
The period around 1860 is remem-
bered by Andrew. White, who was a
professor at Michigan at that time,
and later became president of Cornell n
University. Mr. White, in his auto- a
biography, says of Michigan:w
"The more I threw myself into the l
work of the University, the more I I
came to believe in the ideas on which a
it was founded, and to see that it n
was a reality embodying many things i
of which I had previously only a
dreamed. Up to that time the highest s
institutions of learning in the United b
States were almost entirely under
sectarian control . . . The instruc- i
tion in the best of these institutions m
was narrow, their methods outworn,d
and their students, as a rule, con- I
fined to one simple, single, cast-iron I
course. The University of Michigan t
had made a beginning of something i
better . . . The president was Dr.
Henry Tappan.V
Dr. Tappan had devoted himself to
urging a system (of liberalism) on i
the eastern instiutions, but-except,!
possibly, on Brown-he had made no
impression. Each of them was asp
stagnant as a Spanish convent, andp
as self-satisfied as a Bourbon duchy; i
3ut in the west he attracted support-
,rs and soon his ideas began to showZ
;hemselves effective in the state uni-
versity over which he had been callede
,o preside."
Non-Sectarian School
Mr. White's praise for the Uni-
versity does not stop at that point,
however. He continues, "The features
vhich mainly distinguish the Uni-
versity of Michigan from the leading
;rnstitutions of. the east were that it
was utterly unsectarian, that various'
-ourses of instruction were estab-
fished; and that options were already
allowed between them. On these ac-1
counts that University holds a most t
important, place in the history of'
American. education; for it stands
practically at the beginning of the d
transition from the old sectarian col- p
tege to the modern university.".
Drinking is no new problem here."
It is true that each succeeding gen-
oration believes it drinks at least a
little bit more than its predecessors,
because that is what it wants to be-
lieve. Yet in the very first class, as.
was seen in Pray's diary, a boy was
expelled for drinking. And in. the

50's and '60's drinking was strenuous
enough to produce what has become
known as the "Dutch War,"
Ann Arbor was a genuine German
own in those days. The name "Mich-
gan" had been repeated from one
amily to another back in Germany
and many people left their home
country for the new state in the
American west. As a German town,
t had a goodly number of beer gar-
dens, and the students, it can be as-
sumed, were good customers.
Demand Free Drinks
One such beer garden was called
"Hangsterfer's." It was here one
night that two students got into an!
argument with the proprietor, and
were thrown out. The next night a
arge portion of the student body
marched down from Mason Hall,
and, entering "Hangsterfer's," de-
manded free drinks. The proprietors
refused. Immediately there started
a battle betwaen the students on one
side and the proprietors, plus the
town people who sympathized with
them, on the other. It was a glorious
fight. Chairs, tables, pictures, bottles
were slung about with gleeful aban-
don. Clubs and knives came into use.
It ended with the students complete-
ly victorious, and the two proprie-
tors on the run toward the town
Two years after this, at one of
the drinking bouts, a student died.
This, historians say, had a restrain-
ing influence (for a time).{
Mason Hall Hidden
The years have seen the early
paths spread out over the original
property, and beyond, connecting one
imposing edifice with another. They
no longer radiate from Mason 1all.
That building, once all that there
was of Michigan and public higher
education in America, is hidden be-
hind a brilliant mass of white marble.
They have a new building, you see.
They are progressive, visionary. They
are boosters, and cannot' be bothered
with the trivialities of the past. The
new ,marble is as clean as a white
egg. It 'almost shines. It' shows that
they have 'money to spend.
Well, no matter. They. han hide
Mason;'Hall and they can even tear
it down. Its day of utility is over.
That block of old stone and ivy which
challenged the narrow sectarianism
of American education, demanding
democracy in the student body's corn-
position, freedom from religious dom-
nance, and a wide scope in the elec-
tion of courses has won its battle.
Mason Hall's glory is in the past but
its victory is in the present.
A. A. Dulaney, Hinds county Miss.,
farmer, built a rat-proof corn crib
with. discarded automobile license

Wile Forcasts
Repeal Before
Session Ends
(Continued From Page 1)
tical issues. "His campaign was bril-!
liantly vague, or vaguely brilliant, as
you will."
Devoting some time to refulgent
praise of the character of the Presi-
dent-Elect, Mr. Wile passed on to the
current "lame duck" session-the last
one in our history, as he phrased it,;
because of the imminent ratification
of the Norris amendment which will
provide for inauguration of the Pres-
ident and first session of the new
Congress in the January following
the November elections.
'Atmosphere of Booze'
"The present Congress," he said,
"met for its last session entirely, to
the exclusion of all other Republican
attitudes and thoughts, in an at-
mosphere of booze. Burning ques-
tions have all been subordinated for
the time being to the all-consuming
issue of beer."
Repeal, he said, was not secured
on the first day because of bad "staff
work"-i.e., inaccurate "counting of
noses" by Reps. Snell and Rainey, who
thought they had the requisite two-
thirds majority, but fell short of it
by a mere six votes. "Repeal, how-
ever, is not defeated, but merely de-
layed," he stated. "It will bob up
serenely in the House shortly, and
it requires no gift of prophecy to say
that the counting of noses will be
done, the staff work will be carried
out more efficiently, and a repeal
measure will be carried by bothl
houses before the adjournment of
this not much lamented 72nd Con-
He pointed out, however, that it
wvould take some time before the
neasure became an amendment.
'Prohibition' is dead," he comment-
gd, "but the date of the obsequies is
far from certain."
Congress, he said, must raise $1,-'
300,000,000, and they do not know
how they are going to do it. Hoover
has proposed to cut down adminis-
trative costs, federal building pro-
grams, and veterans' bonus pay-
ments; but "the President proposes-
and Congress opposes and disposes."-
There is certain to be plenty of op-
position to all three proposals, he de-
Predicts Cabinet
In predicting possibilities for cab-
inet offices, he proposed the two Da-
vises, Baker, and several other "de-

serving Democrats" for the premi
office. Glass, lie said, has been ur
officially offered the Treasury posi
tion, and will undoubtedly accept
his physician nasses' on his physic
condition. If Glass leaves the Senal
his position will probably be given
former Governor Harry Flood By
of Virginia. James Farley is pra
tically certain for the position
postmaster general, in which case :
will retain his position as Democral
national chairman, and "distribut
chief of patronage pie."
"There is no suggestion," he a
serted, in treating the war de
question, "that Capitol Hill will rai
any voice for an extension. Congre
has made up its mind (if any) the
the people are against extension. B
if someone with sufficient intesti
al investiture would organize pu
lic opinion, I am convinced that
would register, not for complete ca
cellation perhaps, but for reducti
of debts." Hoover, he pointed ou
after a conference with Rooseve
favored a commissio of experts
investigate the matter, while Root
velt liked the idea of handling tra
sactions through ordinary diploma
channels. "Having known so ma
of our diplomats," commented M
Wile, "'I am inclined to favor t
Hoover suggestion."
Would Recognize Russia
"I think we would be willing
discuss recognition of Russia toda;
he said, "if we could get an ire
bound pledge that they would ce
propagandizing this country."
"Roosevelt," he said, "will have
face as stormy seas as ever confron
ed an incoming administratio
Many people think that Hoov
much as he must take his person
defeat to heart, should go down
his knees and thank God that t
incalculable burden is to be tak
from his shoulders in a very f
City Orchestra T0 Give
Season's OpeneroTd
The, season's first .public conce
by the Ann Arbor Community C
chestra, under- the direction. of Fre
erick W. Ernst, '33SM, will be giv
at 8:15 p. m. Friday in the auc
torium of Ann Arbor High School
The orchestra, which consists f
the most part of townspeople, has
roster of 30. It had its inception la
year as.a church orchestra and gra
ually has risen to where it is a
claimed the leading non-Univers
musical organization in the city.
There will be no admission chars
for the concert, which is endorsed
the Chamber of Commerce.


Kil Ut1U U. ~ GU aelaVVJJA"
of all pranks was to turn the bell
upside down in winter, fill it with
water which froze overnight, and re-
main in bed the next morning when
Pat couldn't ring it. On one occasion
the bell, post and all, was carried
away. Next morning in chapel Dr.
Tappan, the president, said that the
bell had been a convenience for the
students, but as they apparently no
longer needed it, classes henceforth
would be held without a bell call. Not
many nights later the bell and post
were restored to their original posi-
The cows which roamed the cam-
pus were another source of fun. On
one occasion a herd of cows was cor-
relled, and one frightened aninial
ran into Mason Hall. Immediately,
the door was closed, locking the cow1
in. 'T'hen, when one of the classroom
doors opened, the demoralized cow
entered, to the general joy of the
students and the painful surprise of
the professor. This latter worthy con-
sidered the incident a "proposed and
deliberate insult." But his attitude


We woant somthin
mm' %;T1 CI LI

i. .1

Kellogg's Rice Krispies
are all of that. Toasted
bubbles of rice that actu-.
ally crackle and srap in milk or cream.
Extra delicious with sliced bananas.
You'll also like the rich energy that Rice
Krispies supply. Helps you feel keener and
fitter. Try it tomorrow. Made by Kellogg in
Battle Creek,
Th most popular cereals servad in th dining-rooms
of American colleges, eating clubs and fraternities are
made by Kellogg in Battle Creek. They include
ALL-BRAN, PEP Bran Flakes, Corn Flakes, Wheat
Krumbles, and Kellogg's WHOLE WHEAT Biscuit. Also
Kaifee Hag Coffee - real coffee that lets you sleep.

Here's a typical American family expres-
sing themselves quite definitely on the
subject of Christmas presents. They don't
believe that Christmas 1932 is any time to
give useless gifts and neither does Ward's!
That's why you'll find Ward's ready with a
store full of gifts that are PRACTICAL !
So bring your shopping list to Ward's
where you can select a useful gift for every-
one. And of course Christmas shopping
at ward's, like shopping at Ward's any
time in the year, means SAVING MONEY!



(Flying Time) (Flying Time)
N. Y. City. . .3 hrs. 35 min.. . $50.00 Cincinnati ...1 hr. 50 min.. .$'20.00.
Boston .....4 hrs. 10 min.. . $60.00 Youngstown . . 1 hr. 10 min.. $16.00
Pittsburgh .. . 1 hr 30 min... $22.50 So Louis . . .3 hrs. 30 min... $44.00
Buffalo ......1 hr. 40 mil,.. . $22.50 S. Ste. Marie.2 hrs. 12 mm. . $30.00
Ironwood . . .2 hrs. 20 min.. . $44.00 Columbus . . . 1 hr. 15 min... $18.00
Also Planes to All Points in United States and Canada Dec. 16th
CHARTER A PLANE. Special rates to sorority and fraternal organi-
zations. Fastest, quickest possible time. Spend an extra day or two
or three at home. Leave Ann Arbor afternoon Dec. 16th, be in New
York City or Boston in time for evening dinner. Compare plane rates
with that of railroad plus Pullman-then flyhome-save money, time,
and rest in comfort in luxuriously appointed ships. No extra charge


For Wife
or Mother

Trukold Elec. Refrigerator
Wardway Washing Machine
Majestic Vacuum Sweeper
Airline Radio
Damascus Sewing Machine
Windsor Cooking Stove
Electric Ironer
New Living Room Suite -
New Axminster Rug

for Husband
or Father
Comfortable Club Chair
Humidor Smoke Stand
Car Heater
Automobile Horns
Delrio Suit of Clothes
New Shoes
New Hat
Wardmont Shirts

N. Y.

0 $16.95



i , 1 1 11




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