South College
Student Room, South College, 1895
Union College Schaffer Library,
Special Collections Picture File
South College
South College, early 1900s
Union College Robert N. Michaelson,
UC 1972, Postcard Collection
map
South College, circa 1906
Union College William Hahn Postcard Collection

South College, like its twin to the north, was one of the first buildings to be erected on the present campus. Opened in 1814 and built in keeping with the plan devised by Eliphalet Nott and Joseph Jacques Ramée, the construction of this particular structure was supervised by Nott himself.  Although primarily serving as a student residence, it also once housed recitation rooms, faculty apartments, meeting rooms for fraternities and other student organizations, such as the Philomathean Society, the college chapel, and administrative offices. The dormitories were separated into three distinct sections with brick-paved hallways and wooden stairways. In 1872, some of the rooms were remodeled in a style resembling the modern suite system.

In 1895, Mrs. Perkins wrote that President Raymond had given two rooms on the ground floor of the middle dormitory section to the College YMCA. “They are thrown into one room by a very large door and painted and papered very prettily, and will be furnished by the ladies of the town… In the back room meetings can be held, and the front room will be a sort of parlour” (May 16, 1895).  Conditions in the student dormitory itself deteriorated, but it was finally renovated thanks to the Class of 1899. “Jimmy Vander Veer made a good speech at the Alumni dinner saying that his class has assessed themselves two hundred and fifty dollars to pay the expenses of sending requests for small subscriptions toward remodeling the South College. Putting in steam and light and water etc.” (June 30, 1899). Bathrooms were also added to the top three floors as a result of this effort.

Externally, the building has not changed significantly, but several additional major internal renovations have since taken place. The building is now occupied by two Minerva Houses, Green and Sorum.