Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Curtis Hall, 1893
was constructed in 1893 as a multi-purpose building in part to compensate for the loss of the dining hall from , which was to be taken for additional dormitory rooms. The architect of the building was George A. Clough. The new building, known for some ten years as the Commons building, was intended to have, besides the men's dining room, two or three stores and rooms for students. The dining hall was for many years known as the Dive. In 1904, the building was renamed for James Otis Curtis, Medford shipbuilder and Tufts trustee from 1856 to 1890. On April 2, 1977, the building was heavily damaged by fire caused by faulty wiring.
|One of the original purposes of the building and one which has been in continuous use is the Post Office, which had previously been located in a small wooden building at the same site. For many decades, it served the needs of the entire institution as an independent unit, with all mail addressed to "Tufts College, Massachusetts." Among the other concessions the building has housed have been a bicycle repair shop, the Bookstore, a restaurant, the Tufts College Publishing Association - publishers of the Weekly and the Tuftonian, the Tufts College Press, the Maintenance Department carpentry shop, and the Department of Civil Engineering's Strength of Materials Laboratory.
The dining hall housed in Curtis was at various times a cooperative enterprise under student management, College operated, and a private concession. About 1900, a meal ticket good for three meals a day for a full week cost $3.50, prompting student complaints about high prices.
During World War I, the main building was a mess hall for members of the Student Army Training Corps unit stationed at Tufts. During World War II, it was a Navy mess hall, serving well over 500 at a time. The upper floors served as housing for both students and employees, and in the 1950s, four Jackson sororities were assigned rooms in the building.
As of 1999, continues to be used as a multi-purpose building. The US Postal Service maintains an office there, and in 1997, use of the building for dining purposes resumed after a hiatus with the opening of Brown and Brew, a coffee house run by Dining Services. Rehearsal space for student performing groups is located in the building. Offices for the Tufts Daily and the Observer are both located there, as well as other student publications, such as the Zamboni. It is also the home of WMFO, Tufts student-run radio station, and TUTV, the student-run television station. The Center for Engineering Education Outreach and the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-based Modeling are both located there. Finally, the Office of the Protestant Chaplaincy is housed in .
Source: BG4; FAS