Opened Fall 1962
Cost: $1.2 million
When Beddow Hall was first opened, the soutwest quad (which it shared with Merrill, Thorpe, and Sweeney) was considered to be out in the country. There were no sidewalks, streetlights, or public transportation when the first inhabitants moved in. It has always been a women's residence.
Like most of Central's buildings, Beddow was designed by Grand Rapids architect Roger Allen. Its suite-style room arrangement copied the plan developed for Tate Hall that was used in all halls until the building of the Towers. It was dedicated on May 26, 1963.
Beddow's early residents were mostly freshmen who would often move out after the first semester. This was before the Towers became the unofficial freshman dorms. When the hall opened, changes in policy 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 dormitory, men were allowed to visit the suites. In addition, drinking was allowed to 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 PhD from the University of Michigan. He also did graduate work at the University of Chicago and London.
Before coming to Central, he taught at Elm Station in Detroit. He was superintendant 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, then 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" during graduations at Old Main and Warriner. 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.
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.