Opened Fall 1958
Cost: $1.42 million
The R. D. Calkins residence hall was the third part of the North quad that includes Robinson, Trout, and Larzelere. It was designed by Roger Allen of Grand Rapids. It was built on the former site of "Vetville," a collection of temporary metal buildings that housed married ex-soldiers after World War II.
Calkins was built as a women's dormitory. It housed women until 1959, men from 1959 to 1960, and women after that. It is still a women-only dormitory. In its early days, the hall had a policy that each wing would host faculty members to a dinner once a month. When they were first built, Trout and Calkins were joined without any partitions between them, and in 1959-1960, there were several reports of the Trout men rolling bowling balls down into Calkins.
Cornerstones of buildings often contain items that are specific to the time and place the building was constructed, and Calkins was no different. In addition to the usual newspaper clippings and school bulletins, Calkins' cornerstone contains a copy of the United Nations charter and several articles on the crisis in the Middle East over Israel's Suez Campaign.
The hall was named for the head of the Department of Geography from 1902-1944. Calkins was born in Parma, Michigan on April 20, 1873. He received his Life Certificate from the State Normal School at Ypsilanti in 1897. He was the superintendant of North Branch schools in Lapeer for one year, then returned to Ypsilanti to teach geography. He came to Central to chair the Geography Department. He was granted Central's first-ever sabbatical, and in 1903 received his Bachelors from the University of Chicago, followed by his Masters from the same institution in 1907. In addition to teaching at Central, he taught summer sessions at the University of Columbia, the University of Chicago, and UCLA.
He and his wife had two sons. His wife was active in the establishing of the first city library in Mt. Pleasant. Calkins died on September 27, 1955.