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Ira A. Beddow Residence Hall


new beddow pic.jpg

Opened: Fall 1962
Cost: $1.2 million
Capacity: 288

Beddow Hall was the third residence hall built as part of the quadrangle on what was then the southern limit of campus. Beddow, along with Merrill, Thorpe, and Sweeney Halls, was located south of Washington Court and far from any classroom or other campus buildings. There were no sidewalks, streetlights, or public transportation when the first inhabitants moved in. As a result of the construction of these four buildings, the southeast quad, as well as the Towers complex, relocated the center of campus living southward.

Beddow Hall was designed by architect Roger Allen of Grand Rapids and was built by the Collinson Construction Company of Midland. The $1.2 million building was designed to house 288 students. Like the other residence halls constructed during this period, the suite-style floor plan closely resembled the one developed for Tate Hall. The building was opened in fall 1962, although it was not officially dedicated until the following spring. Beddow Hall, along with Thorpe Hall, was dedicated in a joint ceremony on May 26, 1963. Ceremonies featured appearances by University President Judson Foust, architect Roger Allen, and a representative from the State Board of Education.

Beddow Hall opened as a women's hall. Today it, like all CMU residence halls, is coeducational. Beddow's early residents were mostly freshmen who would often move out after the first semester. When the Towers complex opened in the late 1960s, it replaced Beddow as the home of Central's incoming freshmen. When Beddow opened, new policies reflected the changing times of the 1960s. Signing in and out was done away with and the quiet hours policy was liberalized. For the first time in a women's residence hall men were allowed to visit the suites. In addition, drinking was allowed for people who were of legal age.

Beddow Hall was named for the head of the Department of Speech and Reading from 1905-1939. Ira Beddow was born in Southfield, Michigan in 1867. He attended high school in Albion, Birmingham, and Ypsilanti. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Albion College, his AM from Columbia, and his doctorate from the University of Michigan. He also did graduate work at the University of Chicago and London.

picbeddow.jpgBefore coming to Central, he taught at Elm Station in Detroit. He was superintendent of schools for Plymouth, then taught at West Side High School in Bay City and Olivet College. He started teaching history during summer sessions at Central and joined the faculty as a full-time speech instructor in 1906.

During his tenure at Central, he directed what came to be referred to as "Mr. Beddow's Commencement Play" produced during graduation in Old Main and, subsequently Warriner Hall. The first of these was "Antigone." He also started the first canoe rentals on the Chippewa River with a boat dubbed "the Faculty Frigate." He retired in 1939. Dr. Beddow and his wife Elizabeth had two daughters and four sons. After Elizabeth died, he married Theresa McDonald. He died on April 4, 1950 in St. Petersburg, Florida.