Thurston Hall, which houses the most freshmen of any residence hall, was named after GW’s first female student. Hatchet File Photo by Charlie Lee | Hatchet Photographer
This post was written by Hatchet reporter Nicole Dunsmore.
The University launched a contest last week to name the campus’ newest residence hall. But how did other GW dorms get their names? Here’s a look back:
Strong Hall: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it stands proud as the first residence hall the University built on the Foggy Bottom Campus. Hattie M. Strong, a Board of Trustees member, donated $200,000 for the construction of a women’s residence hall – $3.5 million in today’s dollars. Members of the sororities Pi Beta Phi and Chi Omega occupy Strong Hall today.
Hall on Virginia Avenue: Originally a hotel, room 723 was used as the lookout spot in the Watergate break-in. HOVA is now a residence hall for graduate students.
Ivory Tower: The phrase “ivory tower” comes from the Song of Solomon and represents noble purity in religious tradition. Former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg picked the name for the residence hall, prompting criticism from faculty.
Potomac House: Built in 2006, the hall was named after Native Americans of the D.C. area, specifically the Potomac tribe, who lived on the river in Virginia.
Thurston Hall: Named after GW’s first female undergraduate student Mabel Nelson Thurston. She enrolled in the school, but the University prohibited her from attending classes, which forced her to individually seek out professors.
Philip Amsterdam Hall: Built in 1997, the residence hall stood new and, lacking a donor, unnamed. The building acquired the title New Hall, which stuck for 12 years, until trustee and donor Philip Amsterdam passed away.
Lafayette Hall: Originally named John C. Calhoun Hall after the congressman and vice president, GW later decided the building should honor President John Quincy Adams. The title switched to John Quincy Adams Hall until the University changed its mind again, choosing to celebrate Marquis de Lafayette, a friend of George Washington, who attended the Columbian College’s first commencement in 1824.
City Hall: Previously a luxury hotel called The St. James Suites, the building started holding students in 2001 when the University signed a 15-year lease. The hotel became known as City Hall, possibly because of its position on the edge of campus.
International House: Formerly called Riverside Towers, the building took on a new name in 2001 to recognize the growing international student population on campus, regardless of the fact that international students do not necessarily live there.
Mitchell Hall: Named after Gen. Billy Mitchell, renowned for his work in the U.S. Army and military aviation. Mitchell studied at the Columbian College but dropped out to serve in the Spanish-American War. He finished his degree 20 years later, after fighting in World War I.
Fulbright Hall: The building served as the Everglades Apartment for Nurses before transforming into a residence hall in 1981. The name honors Sen. William J. Fulbright, who earned a law degree from GW in 1934.
Guthridge Hall: Named after Guthridge Apartments, the former name of the building before GW purchased it.
Munson Hall: Formerly known as Munson Hall Apartments, before GW converted it to a dorm in 1981.
South Hall: Named simply for its location on the south side of campus.
This post was updated Thursday, Feb. 13 at 4:16 p.m. to reflect the following corrections:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Strong Hall was the first residence hall GW ever built. It was the first hall the University built on the Foggy Bottom Campus. The Hatchet also reported that the hotel building that became the Hall on Virginia Avenue was located inside the Watergate complex. It is located across the street. It was reported that Marquis de Lafayette attended the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences’ first commencement. He attended the the first commencement of the Columbian College, the institution’s original name.