Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

for the scientist but for a member of the family, was opened in 1901. Seniors were given preference in the assignment of rooms, rates for which were from $1.00 to $1.50 per week, with board at $3.50 a week. The dormitory was in charge of Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Niles, experienced innkeepers, for the entire period of its existence. Professor Coombs was in executive charge of the Hall, and Dr. Ewell served as proctor.

Another innovation, in 1900, proposed and started by Miss Francis, the librarian, was a lunchroom for student use in the basement of Boynton Hall. This was the beginning of the "Rat Hole," of none too pleasant memories. The following year another step was taken to improve the social life, when the Student Y. M. C. A. was authorized to enlarge and furnish a meeting room in the Mechanical Laboratories.

During this period the Washburn Engineering Society continued to be active. Students of the two upper classes, alumni and members of the staff attended the monthly meetings in large numbers to hear professional papers, many of which were subsequently published in The Journal. Outside speakers of some prominence were secured to give the Commencement lectures before the Society. In 1900, the speaker was a Prof. Ira N. Hollis of the Harvard Engineering School.

Worcester continued to be the inspiration and pattern of new technical schools. The trustees of the proposed Armour Institute at Chicago visited W. P. I. in 1894 to obtain ideas. In 1900, when Andrew Carnegie made an initial grant of a million dollars to found a technical institution in Pittsburgh, the Worcester plan was again the basic pattern.

Proponents of athletics were much encouraged by Dr. Mendenhall's initial sponsorship of this phase of student life. Soon after he took office he called a mass meeting to consolidate the various activities into an Athletic Association that would supervise all sports. Dr. Kinnicutt was elected president. For a time there was an uplift in athletic fortunes. The football team of 1894 had a remarkably good season, winning three of its five games. During the winter an ice


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Last Modified: Fri Jul 30 11:15:25 EDT 1999