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The Draper Hall Balcony

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Vintage postcard circa 1940 of a stately brick building with a translucent yellow spot over the right-most balcony.

Draper Hall postcard, circa 1940. Photo courtesy of the UMass Special Collections and University Archives.

This view can be found on the second floor of Draper Hall, just east of Stockbridge Hall. The stately red brick building, constructed in 1903, was the only dining hall on campus at the time of its construction. Quite unlike the award-winning UMass Dining of our current era, the food was sometimes “the object of derision and complaint,” according to university archival records.

Black and white photo of students in suits going through a cafeteria line.

Dining services in Draper Hall are shown in this undated photo

Photo: UMass Special Collections and University Archives

Starting in 1935, a portion of the building was used as a women’s dormitory, and Draper housed students until shortly after WWII, when an expansion of the student body led to the construction of new dorms. University Dining Commons was built in 1948, and Draper Hall was soon no longer serving meals. Today, it houses offices for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Draper Hall has two balconies—one looming over the front entrance, and another tucked around the east corner of the building. This photo was taken from the latter, the smaller of the two balconies. To find it, head inside Draper Hall, take the stairs to the second floor, and bear right. Soon, you’ll find yourself basking in the tranquility of this private perch.

What was it like to live in Draper Hall as a student? Dorothy Dunklee Gavin ’43 shared her memories of living at Draper Hall and attending Massachusetts State College in this oral history from our Special Collections and University Archives.