During my second year at Ohio University, I lived in two very different residence halls. Unlike my previous "If walls could talk" blog where I go in-depth with every area of the building, I don't have as many photos saved of each living situation, but I will be sharing my experience and explaining each dorm.
To start, I first moved into Bryan Hall. Bryan sits close to uptown (technically considered to be on East Green) and is at the top of "Bryan Steps".
Bryan Hall was a traditional style dorm built in 1948 and named after Elmer Burnitt Bryan, Ohio University's 11th President. The previous summer (2018), the bathrooms had been renovated so I never took/saved photos since they are the standard new bathrooms similar to those in Jefferson Hall. The rooms were still clearly older, as was the rest of the building. The only photos I have are of my roommates half of the room that I took when I moved in. I was in room 301, a corner room that made our layout much different than the rest of the standard doubles.
What makes Bryan Hall stand out is the built in closets that I personally have not seen in the other residence halls. Something that's also unique is the large "basement" lounge area that provides room to do homework or hangout with friends. Lastly, since the bathrooms are recently renovated, they were probably the nicest community bathrooms that you could find on campus.
Within a couple of months, I had received an offer to move and be a Resident Assistant. It was a dream come true. I was hired for Wray Complex on South Green (Back South/"Dirty" South/previously "New" South), which during the 2018-19 school year included Hoover House, Ewing House, Wray House and Dougan House. I was specifically hired in Ewing House on the fourth floor in room 402.
The residence halls within the complex were unique in that they were mod style. This meant that for my particular floor, my room was in the middle connected to a hallway that led to a central community living space on either side. Each mod had a study room and two hallways with six residents in each who shared a bathroom.
Ewing House was built in 1969 and named in honor of Thomas Ewing, one of the first two students to graduate from Ohio University. Ewing, along with the other residence halls built in Back South, were built quickly due to the projected increase in residents, which unfortunately never reached the max estimation. Many of the buildings have been closed due to their poor conditions, already torn down, or are scheduled to be torn down this summer (2019). Housing & Residence Life also has a long term plan to eventually build new residence halls. While buildings in bad condition shouldn't house students, I hope that if/when new residence halls are built, the university considers a style similar to the mods.
Having never lived in a mod style building before, I wish I had lived there my freshman year. As a resident, you have to walk through the community area to leave and it's easier to make friends with the people you live with. You also have the privacy of the community area to just your floor, and the option to still hangout in just your room.
Another uniqueness about these buildings is that they are all connected by the "catwalk" via the first floor of each building. The ground floors are left empty of residential rooms due to the potential flood risk that the Hocking River grants. While the Hocking hasn't flooded the green in many years, during major previous flooding the catwalk was a necessity for students to leave their residence halls. It will be very interesting to see what the university decides to do with new buildings, the space, style and catwalk.
Next year for the 2019-20 school year, Ewing House will be closed due to the lack of freshmen students enrolling. With numbers down, it would cost more money to keep the building open for a few residents instead of housing students in other vacancies across campus. Considering the economy and the large expense that college is, less and less students are enrolling each year. With the buildings located on Back South already in a rough condition and set to be torn down within the next few years, it is likely that I may have been the last Resident Assistant to live in this room.
The photos I have of Ewing House are of my room alone (please excuse the stuff still in the room and the open drawers, I was in the process of moving out). While I loved living in this building, I did not capture photos of inside the mods. My reasoning behind this was that I will be a Resident Assistant again next year in a different building with a similar mod set up and didn't deem it to be necessary. I have also included the floor layout to the fourth floor to better understand the mod style, two views (one from the fourth floor and one from the first floor) that show the catwalk, and a photo of Wray House featuring the clock tower.
If you ever lived in Bryan Hall or Ewing House please leave a comment or contact me, and tell me about your experience and what it was like when you lived there.
Staying in Ewing as part of Parents weekend. I like the mod layout and sad that they are tearing them down. Condition of the building is okay. I went to OU in the 1980s and had many friends on new south. Many of them are sad that the dorms they lived in and met friends and shared experiences are soon to be gone or already are gone
I currently live in Bryan and I quite honestly love it. The building is old and leaves a lot for my mind to wonder what it looked like in it's prime. I have to say while I enjoy the thought of having actual closets they tend to leave less room for storage. Although it makes up for it with the amount of space I have in the actual room. I never lived in a mod but I always enjoyed the idea of it. I was lucky last year when I lived in Perkins Hall that my floor was very social. I loved reading about your dorm experience and it just makes me appreciate dorm living a little more. It's quite an experience especially on such a historic campus.
My daughter lives in Perkins as a freshman this year and she loves it. She says she had very short walks to her classes in Morton and Ellis and McCracken. Plus it is next door to Shively and Morton Hill is so much easier than Jeff Hill.
Why is Hoover in such bad condition?
And the Catwalks are so dirty?
Just curious. It is a lovely campus tho
Thanks for the comment. I think that Hoover and the catwalks are in suck bad condition is because they were never meant to last this long. They were built quickly as the university thought college admissions were going to increase drastically in the late 60s and into the 70s (for reference Hoover House was built in 1970). While admissions never really peaked to the estimated heights, these dorms were never used to their full capacity and have the nickname of "dirty south" by students and are often avoided for the more appealing east green or new south buildings.
The buildings are now in a state of disrepair that some are becoming deemed unlivable, and many have already been demolished.
I hope this could better answer your question!
Lived in Building #15 (before it was named Hoover House) in 1972 & '73; nice new dorms then - had a great time - lived in room 410 (fourth floor of course) overlooking the golf course & Hocking River. Very fond memories - still keep in touch with many floor-mates. Just visited Hoover House last fall (2021) - sad to see the nasty crud on the sidewalks.
Lived in Bryan Hall for two years. 1960-1962. Room on 4th floor overlooking the South Green had spectacular view but was extremely small for three people. However we became lifelong friends and never thought twice about the size of the room. Enjoyed evenings after curfew studying in the first floor lounge. The breezeway was great outdoor space for entertaining the guys. Really fond memories of Bryan Hall.
I lived in Bryan from 1964-68. It was a great location but far away from the boys' dorms! (Bryan was then women only.) The "basement" was then a full cafeteria that served 3 meals a day; we got mail deliveries at the dorm 2 times a day. The front door was always open--never locked. I am still good friends with the "girl" who was my roommate my junior year--we loved our 4th floor room. We traveled together in Europe on OU's first German Work Program in 1967. Wonderful memories of Bryan.
Just found this. I Lived in Hoover House from 1985 to 1988. Loved every minute. The modular concept of having a community room and small 6 person hallways sharing a bathroom was wonderful. Your mod mates became your family. I have wonderful memories of my years living in Hoover. I hope the University considers building similar residence halls in future...it was a wonderful concept for a residence hall. Sorry to hear it is in such disrepair.
Hi Brad, I love learning from others who have lived and gone to OU! The eventual tear down/replacement of the mod style is definitely a missed opportunity for the University.
hi, i’m moving into ewing this upcoming semester on the second floor and i just want to know is it any different now is it nicer?!
i am too!!!
Hi Kaleigh, whether you’re moving into Bryan or Ewing, you should have an amazing time!
Hi Kiera, unfortunately I’ve since graduated and do not have any connections to OU who would know the state of Ewing. I know that while it might not be the nicest dorm, please give the mod style living a chance because you’ll have an amazing time and can make life long friends there!
Please send me updates
Hi Blake, unfortunately I’ve since graduated and do not have any connections to OU who would know the state of Ewing or Bryan Hall.
Moved my son into Ewing today. Very old and in need of repairs. Furniture old and outdated. Rooms very small. Having A/C is good. I lived in Wray House in 1986. No A/C then, so having it now is an upgrade. Mod living is good since you have your own single room, but have the ability to socialize in shared, connecting lounge. OU campus is beautiful, but the current administration needs to step it up with cleaning. At least slap fresh paint on walls and doors each year! College costs have dramatically exceeded inflation, and as a parent, I believe OU should be doing more to take care of it’s infrastructure.
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