Anyone who has walked the tunnels of Phase has stumbled upon the large “Meliora” board that is painted in the basement of Gale House. A spoof on the traditional Monopoly board game, this board uses different places on campus and in the Rochester community as the properties, utilities, railroads and other various squares.Although the exact year in which the board was painted can only be narrowed down to sometime after Phase was constructed in the late 1960s, the appearance of certain places and names on the board show that it is by no means current. So, if you have ever wondered what “The Hill” was, or beenasked by an alumnus where “The Rat” disappeared to, ponder no more. Described below are some of the mysterious squares – and a little bit of UR history.
The RathskellerA local gathering place for students and faculty, the Rathskeller was an on-campus bar that was open daily. Better known as The Rat, the bar was a popular hang out for students, especially during Happy Hour. The Rat was originally located downstairs in George W. Todd Union, when the building was the student center, occupying the area that is now the Chase Manhattan Bank. When Wilson Commons was opened in 1976, the bar was moved into the space where the Coffee Shop is today. According to the 1976 Wilson Commons Policy Manual, The Rat served beer, wine and liquor to the university community and was designed to be a place in which people could enjoy discussions, programmed events and alcoholic beverages. Drinks purchased at the Rat could only be consumed within the bar and adjacent food service area, and the space was equally divided between non-smoking and smoking sections.
MDCMDC, short for Men’s Dining Center, was the original name of the Frederick Douglass Building. Opened in 1955, the dining hall initially served men, while women ate at Danforth. When both MDC and Danforth became coed in the 1960s, President W. Allen Wallis officially announced the renaming of the building. Not only was MDC now open to women, it was also home to many offices, seminar rooms, and the bookstore, making the name inadequate. Although the official change was made in the summer of 1967, MDC remained a popular nickname for the building, but eventually faded in the 1980s.
Serv-RiteA Rochester-based food service company, Serv-Rite was contracted to operate the entire Wilson Commons eating areas in the 1980s. Since the contracted food service company was required to run the Rathskeller, Serv-Rite operated the bar in addition to the snack bar. According to Assistant Director of Wilson Commons George Morrison, the company also catered student events on campus. After Serv-Rite, the contract was turned over to the university food services.
The Hill”The Hill” was the common nickname for the Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls, and the university community affectionately used this name to refer to the building since its opening in 1955. The term, developed by students, reflected the building’s location atop a hill. This nickname was so common, that almost nobody referred to the dorm as Susan B. Anthony. The use of the term “The Hill” died out in recent years and today the building is often called “Sue B.”
Helen Wood Hall Located on Crittenden Boulevard across from University Health Service, Helen Wood Hall is the current home of the School of Nursing. However, when the building was opened in 1928, it was designed to be a dormitory, and served as part of undergraduate housing for many years. Undergraduates typically occupied the first two floors of the building, which was comprised of mostly single rooms, and the School of Nursing utilized the top two floors. Although Helen Wood was part of the regular housing lottery, it was often chosen last due to its distance from campus and thus the building was often used for transfer housing.