Opened: September 1956
Cost: $1.14 million
The Rachel Tate Residence Hall was built, along with several other residence halls, to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding campus population in the 1950s. The $1.14 million building was designed by Roger Allen and Associates of Grand Rapids, who designed many other residential and academic buildings on Central's campus. Tate shared a food commons built in 1948 as part of Barnard Hall.
The designs for Tate Hall saw the last change in room layout until the building of the Towers complex in the late 1960s. The building copied the innovative suite plan designed for Robinson Hall, but added a second bedroom to the plan. This plan was used on the next eleven residence halls at Central Michigan University. Construction was underway by early 1956, and the cornerstone was laid in July 1956. The building was opened a few short months later in September, but it was not dedicated until January 19, 1958. Although its 75 suites were designed to house 300 students, the first year of operation saw 325 women rooming there. It was located next to the President's House, now Carlin Alumni House, on the present-day location of parking lot 8.
Its location next to the president's residence, led to many dinner invitations to the president and his wife as apologies for excess noise. In 1958, the entire Homecoming court lived in Tate Hall. The building housed women from 1956 to 1972, and became coed for the rest of its history.
Tate Hall continued to serve the needs of on-campus students for decades. However, in 1993 Tate and Barnard residence halls were closed due to low enrollment, structural problems, and general inefficiency. The Board of Trustees announced future plans to demolish Barnard and Tate Halls in December 1995. The decision to raze them was based on the high cost of remodeling and continued low student enrollment. The University awarded the demolition contract to Diamond Dismantling, a Detroit company, who agreed to complete the demolition for $357,221. Demolition began in May 1996 after furniture was auctioned and utility equipment was salvaged. Certified Abatement of Detroit and Termico Incorporated of Midland were hired to assist with the removal of asbestos from the site. Demolition was complete within a few months and a parking lot was laid on the spot of Barnard and Tate Halls in 1997.
In December 2011, the CMU Board of Trustees announced plans for a new Graduate Student Housing Project on the site of the former Barnard and Tate Halls. The Christman Company of Lansing was hired to contract out the work. The total budget for the project was $28.5 million, which included funds for the expansion of an adjacent parking lot. The new residence halls were closely modeled on the architecture of Barnard Hall, both to recall the building that once stood on the location and also to better incorporate the new buildings into the existing architectural style at the north end of campus. The new graduate housing, which opened in 2013, was built to serve the recently completed College of Medicine.
The building was named for Rachel Tate, who was an instructor in the Department of English and a part-time women's dean from 1897 to 1916. She was born October 12, 1848 in Berrien County, Michigan. She attended Niles High School, then earned her degree from Michigan State Normal (now Eastern Michigan) in 1889. She did graduate work at Harvard and the University of Chicago. Before coming to Central, she taught grade school in Chicago, was commissioner of schools in Berrien County, and taught at Benton Harbor College and St. Mary's College in Illinois. She died on March 16, 1916. In her memory, the Rachel Tate Literary Society was formed in 1924, at a time when fraternities and sororities were banned at Central. In 1940, the "literary society" was reorganized as Sigma Phi Delta sorority, then as Alpha Sigma Alpha in 1941.