Cost: $1.3 Million
Thorpe Hall was the last residence hall built in the quadrangle located on what was then the southern end of campus. The quad was south of Washington Court and far from any classroom or other campus buildings. Although the University had difficulties convincing students to take rooms in the first buildings to open, by the time Thorpe was ready for occupancy students were much more comfortable living on this end of campus. Indeed, by the early 1970s, following the construction of a southeast quad and the towers complex, the center of student life on campus had relocated southward.
Thorpe, along with the other residence halls in this area of campus, was designed by architects from Roger Allen and Associates in Grand Rapids and was built by the Collinson Construction Company of Midland. The $1.3 million building was designed to house 316 students. The building opened for occupancy in the spring of 1963. It, along with Beddow Hall, was officially dedicated in a joint ceremony on May 26, 1963.
Thorpe Hall's first residents were 300 "volunteers" who moved from their rooms in Robinson, Sloan, Ronan, and Barnes Halls. They were randomly selected and ordered to move over the weekend of December 15-19, 1962. Sixty came from Ronan, fifty from Barnes, forty from Sloan, and 150 from Robinson. The hall's suite plan was copied from Tate Hall, the same plan that was used in all halls until the Towers began to open in the late 1960s.
Thorpe Hall was named for the Head Librarian from 1955 to 1958. Before his appointment at Central, he had been an assistant librarian since 1941. He was born in Waco, Nebraska. He received his AB from Peru Teacher's College and his MA from the University of Michigan. He did course work toward his PhD at Michigan State University.