Wilder Hall

Men's Building, n.d., 135 W Lorain St.

A description from the Oberlin College Archives: "The construction of the Men's Building was begun in 1909 and the building was completed in 1911, at a total cost of $460,000. It was the gift of an anonymous donor. The architect was Mr. J.L. Silsbee of Chicago, and the building was erected by Mr. George Feick of Sandusky. It was designed to be the center of the men's activities of all kinds - social, religious, athletic, musical, and literary. It contains reception rooms, offices, and rooms for the Young Men's Christian Association, athletic, trophy, and Glee Club rooms, and assembly room seating five hundred, rooms for the men's literary societies, and dormitory accommodations for one hundred and fourteen men. In the fall of 1918 it was the headquarters of the S.A.T.C. In 1919 a men's Commons, accommodating two hundred men for table board, was opened by the College. From 1928 to 1934 the Commons was used as a Freshman Dining Hall. In 1934 the dining room was discontinued and the space occupied by it and by the kitchen was remodeled for use as a Recreation Hall. At the present time the dormitory accommodations are reserved for Freshman men. In 1928 the assembly room was named the "King-Bosworth Room."

Wilder Hall now houses Oberlin's student union. The Dean of Student Life and Services, the Multicultural Resource Center, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA), and the Experimental College (ExCo) all have offices there as well as most of the college's 100-plus student organizations.

A plaque currently on display in Wilder Hall: "Named Wilder Hall in 1956 for Herbert A. Wilder, known for over the Boston Donor. His belief in Oberlin and in President Henry Churchill King prompted the gift of this building and many other benefactions to the college."

Wilder Snack Bar constuction photos ...

Snack Bar during its construction in 1972

Snack Bar upon completion in 1973.

Hales Annex - The early years

The addition built onto Hales Gym, also know as Hales Annex, was built in 1958 by architects Herk Visnapuu and Robert Gaede. The addition was created to house bowling lanes. Unlike today there was a long wait between the time that you ordered new lanes and the time that you received them. Before the lanes were installed the Annex was used as a Zoology Laboratory.

Hales Annex

Bowling - Who Knew?

The lanes were installed in the summer of 1963. There were 6 lanes with above ground ball returns. Three of the lanes were moved from the Rathskaller in Wilder Hall.

Bowling Lanes

Cat in the Cream

For five years from 1975 - 1980, the Cat in the Cream Coffeehouse was located in the basement of Bosworth Hall. In September 1980, then manager Jennifer Hoock moved the Cat into Hales Annex, to avoid the overflowing room in Bosworth that often violated the fire regulations. The move caused a slow start, but soon the old regulars and new customers alike found the Cat's new location and things were purring again.

Cat in the Cream