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Friday, November 16, 2012 - Page updated at 01:20 PM

This is a collection of reader-submitted stories about the University of Washington's Terry and Lander residence halls. Both are coming down to make way for new dorms.

Lander was attractive since it was close to the UW academic computer center: only a couple short blocks to a 24-hour self-service card reader and chain printer (with no Internet and no modems that was very helpful). In 1979 Lander got upgrades: touchtone phones and sprinklers. Such luxury! But the view on the south side of the building was AMAZING.

The food was pretty bad, although they tried to innovate (three words: "French fried cauliflower"). Our floor was co-ed which was rare and exotic to a shy freshman from Tacoma in 1978. There were a variety of people, often trying to figure out who they really were. Christian engineer, a slowly coming out gay guy, the-guy-with-the-huge-Speakerlab-corner-horn speakers in his tiny tiny concrete room, the stoners, the slackers, the unbelievably driven, the jazz musicians, the classical musicians, the Republican operative (quietly holding it together when John Anderson was chosen over George Poppy Bush at the caucus) and a couple math majors (perhaps the oddest of all). Learning to live together was an important part of our education. Our poor RA had to deal with the randomly assigned people sharing small sparse rooms but we rearranged ourselves in those cases where roommates really couldn't stand each other.

In recent years I found myself working in a nearby building and people here often eat in the remodeled and much improved cafeteria. It feels odd to walk by that big hole.

I came to the UW to attend graduate school. Never having been in the state before, I figured that on-campus housing was an easy, safe bet. I didn't figure on sharing the floor with undergrads who did typical freshman hijinks like stopping the elevator between floors, water-balloon fights, and music played loudly on speakers the size of refrigerators. By winter quarter I was happy to move off campus.

It was the best places on campus. Roof-top sun decks in the spring, walks to the Montlake Cut, easy access to campus. Watch sun rises, seeing Mount Rainer, and watching traffic on 520.

I lived in the residence halls all four years, and worked there for 3-1/2 years, plus summers. I lived in Mercer with the summer staff. My fondest memories were watching the boats between Lake Union and Lake Washington as I was on the south side of the 10th floor.

I was in a room on the fourth floor. That floor was designated for a program called "The Residential Program" -- students took classes that were offered in the dorm. While I wasn't officially part of the program I was allowed to take a class on the book "Alice in Wonderland." It was a good group and an interesting class.

My other big memory is that my room was right next to the men's bathroom. The Residential Program tended to attract "out of the box" students. In the case of the men's bathroom, they constructed a full-scale sauna. I can still remember the hammering and rolls of plastic sheeting going in the door. I never got to see the final result, but it was an interesting experience to listen to all that racket!

Dorm food was of course ... dorm food. A lot of us ate off the Chicano food cart that was provided with every meal. There was a Chicano floor in the dorm, and the cart was provided for them. There wasn't someone standing over it making sure that the Chicano students got the food. The rest of us survived on that and endless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I had an electric skillet in my room and lots of boxes of cereal.

Loved my fifth-floor living experience. I am a 'Local' who chose to live on campus, so I didn't have to catch the bus home at 2 a.m. from the library. My roomie and I still keep in touch.

... Walking in on my roommate and his girlfriend .... Having there be parties in my room after I'd gone to sleep. ... Eating nothing but Red Vines ... .

Terrible buildings, overpriced, and far too strict with the rules. I paid roughly $500 a month to share a tiny room with two other guys -- luckily they were cool and we became friends but talk about a bad deal. Also, our opening window just opened 4 inches and was about 24 inches by 12 inches in size.

Good riddance to the old buildings -- it can only get better -- although I am confident that the UW isn't going to do students any favors on the rents there. Note to all future students: get an apartment or shared house. It's more space for less $.

I remember losing clothes in the laundry room when I didn't get back in time; playing darts with my RA using a board hanging on the back of his door; getting stopped by campus police while a bunch of us were getting ready to have a party and having to pour everything down the sink since I was the one carrying the dishpan full of bottles (and was very underage) ...

More: My fish tank on the wide window sill facing Mount Safeco; hanging out watching TV in the fifth-floor lounge on Friday nights; the girl next door who had a word processor, while I had a computer and no one else had anything like it ...

Still more: Some guys down the hall who had their beds up on stilts or hanging from the ceiling and had work spaces underneath (which I thought was brilliant); my roommate who was supposedly hand-picked using the computer system and we couldn't have been more different (and she was kinda scary) - she moved out a couple months into fall quarter then I had my own room for the remaining time I was there (I only lasted two quarters before transferring to a community college instead)... .

I do not think my friends or I ever took a picture while there. I do remember a lot of wild parties, keggers and such. We had access to the rooftop for get-togethers as well. It is good to know that no one will come up with a compromising picture and post it on Facebook. The lobbies were spacious, people would play the piano. Lightning Hopkins played an impromptu concert in the Terry lobby that I was lucky enough to attend.

One of my most vivid memories of living in Terry Hall was watching the Olympic torch being run past the dorms. I used to marvel at the fact that no matter what time of the night it was there were always people everywhere roaming the halls, playing music, studying. It seemed like no matter what time it was it was perpetually "afternoon."

I remember looking out my ninth-floor window and seeing the Interstate 5 Lake Union Bridge being built ... and finally "coming together."

1) The roommates next door to me were randomly selected and didn't know each other before moving in. They ended up getting along well and had in common an intense interest in politics. It just so happened that one was a fervent Bush supporter, and the other an equally avid Gore man. Instead of agreeing to keep the campaign out of the room, they drew a physical line down the middle. Not to be out-paraphernalia'd by the other, the signs, bumper stickers, and posters grew one by one until all surfaces -- including the door, windows and ceiling -- were completely covered, with an inch-wide no-man's-land running down the center. They were briefly on no-speaking terms between the election and the supreme court ruling that ruled in Bush's favor, but the entire ordeal was pretty amusing for the floor.

2) The February 2001 Nisqually quake hit while I was living on the ninth floor of Terry Hall, and many of the tall, thin dorm dressers and wardrobes fell over on the upper floors, blocking the inward-opening doors. We returned from classes to see how our rooms fared, and had to wait for the fire department to go door-to-door removing hinges. The best thing to come out of the experience was that all damage to rooms was waived for the year whether or not it came from the earthquake, so all those scratches and paint chips from rowdy weekends were forgiven, and at least in my case that more than made up for my one earthquake casualty: a broken lava lamp.

I remember how small the rooms were. My roommate and I each had a 4-foot wide closet and four drawers. We also each had a small study desk. Both of us put our beds up on blocks so we could fit a fridge and other things underneath.

I remember going to a really fun dance one night on one of the upper dorm floors. And sitting on the top of Terry Hall on sunny spring and summer days. I remember going to "The Last Exit" for apple pie. I remember going to frat parties and Husky games with my dorm mates.

One day I and some dorm mates took some old clothes and used them to decorate a bunch of statues all over campus. It was during finals week and the next day I walked past one of the statues we had decorated. A weary student was heading my way and saw the statue and started laughing, I was glad we could brighten his day!

It wasn't a bad dormitory, but it was so far away from the main campus that I lived the next two years at Haggett Hall. It was the '60s. The cafeteria-style food was fair; jokes were made about being close to the dog-food factory next door. I participated in my first house-exchange activities with other dormitories there. We weren't coed until 1969, so the standards were a bit crude.

During my freshman and sophomore years, I lived on the 11th floor of Terry Hall. Officially, it was the "quiet floor" as well as an all-guys floor, but I realized that for many people it may as well have been dubbed the "procrastinator floor" as they had been placed there for waiting until the last minute to sign up for on-campus housing.

The memories of that place are endless, but for me one in particular stands out. On the first day of winter quarter 2004 a snowstorm pummeled Seattle, dumping about 6 inches on the city. The university canceled afternoon classes, sending us all home. Since none of us had any meaningful homework due yet we all congregated in a small grass field that was divided in half by the Burke-Gilman Trail and situated just off to the side of the University Bridge. Those of us from Terry 11 proceeded to have a massive snowball fight with students from the old Mercer Hall, standing in a giant circle and pummeling each other. After a while, several of us borrowed some lunch trays from Terry Cafe (Sorry UW!) and went sledding/snowboarding down the hill at Gasworks Park.

By 10 that night, heavy rain had rolled in as it always does in the Seattle winter, and had washed all the snow away. It was as if the weather gods had decided to let a bunch of underclassmen relive their elementary school days for a few hours, but then swoop in to remind us that we had better not fall behind academically. Slogging to class through the ubiquitous Seattle puddles the next morning, the snowball fight seemed like a distant memory, but more than eight years later it now seems to me like it happened just yesterday. When it comes to my favorite memory of my two years living in Terry, there's no contest.

I lived in Lander but was the desk "clerk" in Terry - one of very few women who spent much time in Terry because it was all male at that time. I was 19. I had an argument with one of the Terry residents (long story) and I guess he liked women who talked back to him, because he asked me out. He was awfully cute so I went out with him. We were married in 1970 and are still married 42 years later! I also remember one of the resident assistants in Terry. He was a polite, good-looking guy named Norm Dicks.

Lander Hall was the nerve center for my Steve Pool for President campaign. We had campaign signs (one) and that was about as far as it went. My second year in Lander Hall I had a million-dollar view of the Seattle skyline and the Space Needle. I used to stay up at night gawking in awe.

Met many of my closest friends here as a freshman! Many of them from different corners of the globe through the international house. Therefore, the place holds a dear place in my heart and memory.

First experience in sharing bedroom living space with anyone. I had three roommates in my year there: first only a week as he and a buddy wanted to live together so we swapped rooms. End of first quarter my next roommate joined Marines. Last roommate a buddy since third grade in Wenatchee. Sunday night meals were burgers if you paid for them. We preferred new Mikes drive-in two blocks away. A dog food company was located nearby, so many jokes about our cafeteria meals. I was on Rainier Hall with Portage Bay view. Watched Space Needle and I-5 Ship Canal bridge being built. Nice digs and I don't remember any disagreeable people. Not many students had music systems; only radios. Not many seniors; mostly frosh and sophomores. Mostly Washington residents; hardly any out-of-staters and none from out of country on our floor. Only non-Caucasian was Japanese-American from Hawaii who loved late nights going out to gamble. He lasted through the year!

I loved Terry Hall. There was a game room/pool room in the basement. I was on the "quiet" floor, the 8th floor (for girls), and 9th floor (for guys). Each common area had a piano too. The rooms were on the larger side, and we had a great view of Portage Bay. The cafeteria was large, and there was a little fast-food window in the basement across from the pool tables that served clam strips with fries, always a favorite.

I lived on the fifth floor of Lander facing the water. I remember having such a great view! Many nights were spent studying out in the hall with friends or down in the Fish Bowl.

At first I lived on whatever floor, which usually ended up being a party floor. I soon chose to move to the study floors and stayed there the rest of my time there.

I stayed healthy running up and down the stairs instead of taking the elevators. I hated the elevators. They would go up to your floor then drop several feet, sometimes stopping above or below the floor you wanted. They seemed to be always under repair. I had nightmares about them for years afterwards.

I can still see the dangling dinner remnants in the mechanical shaft on the fourth floor. I've always wondered how long it took the facilities folks to find the dried turkey or chicken and peas that were strung like laundry across the wide chase. Perhaps it is the demolition crew that will find these historic pieces from the cafeteria. Yes, Terry Hall ... the word on the street was that the UW got a floor for free due to the general contractor's miscalculation. So long, my first home away from home.

Spent three years of my life in Terry Hall. One good roommate, one weird roommate and year in a single which is good becasue I finally buckled down then and got the education that I was after.

Great memories, mass people, conveniently located for my classes and generally a really good experience.

Will always remember pranking the ROTC guys next door. I don't think they ever knew.

Random memories:

  • Friends blocked my dorm room door with phone books - floor to ceiling, wall to wall, and two feet on either side.
  • Many pranks involving water, including trying to flood the stairway and mystery puddles in the middle of friends' rooms.
  • Getting caught coming back downstairs from the roof.
  • Fire alarm evacuation at 1 a.m. from Chris' burnt microwave popcorn.
  • Snow sledding outside on cafeteria trays and snowball fight on the University Bridge.
  • Getting my car stolen, along with my bike seat, tire, and front wheel, from the Terry garage on the first day of school sophomore year.
  • Mariokart drinking games - winner drinks!
  • Shooting sandwich toothpicks into the cafeteria ceiling.
  • Quiet-hours violations and stereo bass tests/demos.
  • Doing pull ups on fire sprinkler pipes - NO HANGING ON THE PIPES.

The elevators were frequently broken in Lander. I lived on the seventh or eighth floor. I had broken my leg just before moving in, so I did a lot of stairs on crutches that winter.

That year Lander was home to a pilot racial-integration program. The floor meetings were tense and intense. So much learning, new awareness. Life changing.

I was in room 414 (Chelan House) in 1963. Then in room 304 (Olympus House) in 1964. About three weeks into my "college experience" in 1963, the resident and assistant resident organized a group event. One afternoon we walked up to the Safeco building and picketed. That was an earlier, shorter Safeco building. The company had plans to build the current (now UW) building. The spoof protest was that it would create more light to keep the north side Terry residents awake at night. Several of the guys picketed in their pajamas.

Each floor had a small common kitchen. Sometimes a bunch of us would get together and make tacos or pizza. Someone would get beer. It didn't matter that the spaces were drab, it was quite lively. There was also a fairly nice common space with a ping pong table and a piano. Someone was always there playing one or the other.

Great views from almost every room.

Later in the year some buddies and I started working up a band to play some blues and covers. We played a dorm cabaret show and later did some gigs, including playing for one of the other dorm cruises.

The rooms were small by today's standards, but functional. I found it easy to get my studying done there, except Friday and Saturday nights. I learned that low sounds are omnidirectional - that is, it's hard to detect the source. I decided to try and experiment and bought a large bass speaker, built a wooden box, cobbled together an electronic crossover and hooked up my stereo - one bass box and two mid-high speakers. It was the first (that I know of) subwoofer system. The floor below appropriately named it "thumper." I sure don't miss living in the dorms now, but they and the people I was with do bring fond memories.

We were personally responsible for ending dorm keggers on the UW campus in the early '70s, but I guess the best Lander/Terry story is probably the night we dosed our friend Craig from Lebanon with acid, his first experience. Sometime during the night we lost track of him and he found his way to the roof of Lander, where he decided it would be a wonderful idea to build a campfire so he could serenade the moon with his guitar.

Somehow he managed to break up part of a sundeck and actually got the 2x4's lit, maybe with booze. The first indication there might be a problem was when the top-floor residents underneath the fire noticed asphalt dripping out of a vent in the ceiling. The dorm manager discovered Craig on the roof singing by his fire, and was treated to him crooning to her like a long lost lover.

Craig got kicked out the dorm system, but it was far from the most dangerous stunt we pulled while living there. That had to be "the night of the tubes," but that's another story ...

The dorm opened the autumn of 1957 when I arrived. I lived on the fifth floor which was known as McGregor Hall. Panty raids, on the women's dorms, were frowned upon as were the water fights between floors that were quite creative and resulted in what we would call bonding today. Nothing was sacred including the elevators and stairwells where galvanized garbage cans held a lot of water.

We all looked forward to Sunday evening TV, at 7 p.m., when "Maverick" played featuring James Garner. The lounge in the basement was always packed.

Dress code for the dining hall required clean street dress including shoes, socks and a shirt with collar. At breakfast, the trick was to decide what kind of boiled egg you wanted and how to get it. The food server always sweetly asked you whether you wanted a hard or soft boiled egg and would reach under the linen towel with her tongs after you announced your preference. The real choice was made by when you arrived. If you wanted a soft boiled egg, you arrived shortly after they opened. If you wanted a hard boiled egg, well you arrived anytime after that.

I moved to Seattle -- into Lander Hall, seventh floor -- without a single acquaintance in town. Living in the dorm made it easy to make friends and get oriented. Within a week or two I joined the floor's intramural volleyball team. We had a shortage of girl volunteers, so the sister of a girl on the floor was asked to join. Twenty-four years later, that sister and I live in Bellevue with our 10- and 8-year-old children.

Room and board was $150 a quarter for each of the three years I was there along with $61 a quarter tuition. My how times have changed. We could earn enough in a summer to pay for a whole year at the UW in those days. Lander Hall was a great place to stay even though we constantly complained about the food. Pizza Haven opened on the Ave and you could always go up there for a 75-cent Pizza or to Dick's for a 19-cent hamburger. Girls above the first floor could get you thrown out of the dorms.

Random memories:

  • Room, phone booth and VW crams;
  • exchanges and parties in each house;
  • water fights with other houses (floods);
  • football players moving in from crew house after football season;
  • football players talking about playing the "pros" in the alumni and spring game;
  • 24 or more empty cans where books normally go;
  • a room with a couple of live-in "oars," compliments of the yacht club;
  • football in the parkway to impress the girls looking out the windows at Lander;
  • intramural football on Montlake dump and fully dressed showers afterwards;
  • double dates in VW;
  • pick-up lines for the girl punching meal tickets at the door;
  • music everywhere;
  • publicity for house band playing at the hub by using old doors all over campus (not the "Doors" band, but our own guys).

My most vivid memory is looking out the window of my room, 388, and watching the stand-off between anti-war protestors and Seattle Police riot squad. The sound of a policeman's wooden night stick on a human skull is one not soon forgotten.

A lot of fun and great friends. The second time was for the Pacific Coast Banking School and the communal living was not nearly as "romantic" as it was 15 years earlier.

I was the resident advisor on fifth floor Lander. Residential life was taking a trip to Expo 84/85 in Vancouver. One of the males who lived next door to me hung his luggage on the fire sprinkler over the door and when his roommate opened the door, the sprinkler went off and the entire floor flooded. The smell of a floor full of wet dorm carpet was ... disgusting.

Jack Patera, right, Chicago Cardinal linebacker, had help from Jack Fuller, tackle, as the pair ate breakfast in the cafeteria in Lander Hall. (Greater Seattle News Bureau photo, from 1958-'59.)

This was Lander Hall, the "UW" is on one wing, the "91" is on the other. (Courtesy Mark Wong, Lander Hall resident advisor 90-91, 91-92.)

Matt McGehee of Bellevue plays the saxophone in his Lander Hall room in this photo from the early '90s. (Betty Udesen / The Seattle Times)

Five foreign high-school students visiting the University of Washington got some tips on campus life from Jack Rhodes, third from left, university sophomore from Chehalis, when they dropped by Terry Hall. (Seattle Times photo, undated)



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I lived in Lander Room 777 from 71 -73.  Posted on November 25, 2012 at 9:21 AM by Lander Room 777. Jump to comment
Random memories from Lander: Getting penny'd in my room. Some students used to force so many pennies at the top and bottom edge of the door...  Posted on November 25, 2012 at 9:05 AM by Lander Room 777. Jump to comment
I'd transferred from WWSC, which had a wonderful food service. Terry was a real let down. Instead of steak night once a week, as it was in...  Posted on November 25, 2012 at 2:38 AM by 65th street fan. Jump to comment

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