Residential living through the years
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1884: The university’s first residence hall was located beside the academic building in Independence, Texas. President John Hill Luther’s wife, Annie, served as matron of the college home. In addition to caring for the students’ daily needs and nursing the sick, Mrs. Luther saw that the residence was furnished comfortably, despite limited means. She improvised by sewing bags of ticking filled with hay to use as bed springs and hanging calico curtains from shelves for make-shift wardrobes.
Early 1900s: A student relaxes in her room in Luther Hall, which includes a piano and a dangling ceiling light with the cord pulled over to one side of the room. The room was heated by steam from the radiator on the right. Electricity was first added to Luther Hall in 1888. In 1897 a sewage system, water closets, lavatories, and hot and cold baths were installed. For the first twenty years in Belton, Luther Hall housed the entire college. Classrooms, offices, and the president’s living quarters were located on the first floor, while dormitory space occupied the second and third floor. Luther Hall was destroyed in a fire in 1929.
1935: Student housing has always reflected the personalities of its residents. Here, a room is decorated with traditional Mexican blankets and curtains adorned with images of Mexican dancers. The space is a room for two, with two beds and a shared desk. For over four decades, just three student dormitories existed on campus: Stribling Hall, Burt Hall, and Ely-Pepper Hall. Gettys Hall was built in 1965.
1956: Students Carolyn Valdivia and Doreen Margrett, both daughters of missionaries, enjoy the new furniture recently given by alumna Martha James ’39 for their room in Burt Hall. The dormitory’s suite-style rooms, connected by a bathroom, were considered architecturally ahead of their time and served as a model for the design of college dormitories across the country.