CentreCyclopediaOld Main

Residence Halls


In 1825 the Board of Trustees authorized the committee on the refectory to contract for the construction of twelve dormitories. These were undoubtedly small, simple, wooden structures as evidenced by the Trustees approving the purchase of one double bedstead and one table for each "cottage". In 1831 rent was set at $5.00 per session. These dormitories were torn down by 1846, when a kitchen was built for the president's house using the materials of the former dormitories.

Until the 1870's all students from outside Danville lodged and boarded in private homes. The 1859 catalog noted that this arrangement was an advantage, because student's "... morals and manners are better secured by their becoming incorporated with the families among whom they are thus distributed." By 1863, however, the faculty reported to the trustees that it was becoming more and more difficult for students to find affordable lodging. The lack of available housing for students would be a common thread throughout much of the remainder of the nineteenth-century. Following the completion of Old Main in 1872, Old Centre was converted into housing space for about forty students of "good character and limited means." While the College Home, as it was called, provided space for some students, most continued to live with Danville families. The lack of college housing created a growing problem as the cost of boarding in private homes continued to rise, and the number of families willing to rent out rooms declined. In 1874 a committee again reported to the board that "... it is of prime importance to the prosperity of the College that some arrangement should be made to secure cheaper boarding for the students." In the opinion of the committee the best means would be the construction of a dormitory.

In 1892 the Danville Theological Seminary built Breckinridge Hall for the use of its students. The hall provided rooms for about fifty students, and the seminary allowed the college to use the rooms not needed by its own students. After the seminary moved to Louisville in 1901, the college took over the entire residence hall. As originally designed, each student living in Breckinridge had their own bedroom, with two bedrooms opening into a common study. Each room had an open fireplace, and the annual cost of $25 per year covered both room rent and fuel. Centre at last had a dormitory.


The question of adequate student housing remained a problem in the first part of the twentieth century. Breckinridge remained the only residence hall on campus, and students continued to reside in private homes. Some of the fraternities had chapter houses off-campus, and undoubtedly students lived in these. In 1940, through the bequest of Guy Wiseman, Centre was able to build two new residence halls, Wiseman and McReynolds. Wiseman allowed all freshmen at that time to live on campus, while McReynolds had a dining hall on the first floor and rooms on the second. Following World War II, and the anticipated influx of students, Centre erected Veteran's Village, a group of temporary wooden barracks for married students.


By 1955, all six of Centre's national fraternities had their own off-campus houses, providing space for many of the college's students. When Thomas Spragens (1957-1981) became president, one of his goals was to gradually increase the size of Centre, requiring the construction of new residence halls. He also soon realized that maintaining two separate campuses, one for men and the other for women, was no longer feasible. Moving the women to the men's campus required building new residence halls. These two factors were the cause of the construction boom in the 1960's and early 1970's. Acheson-Caldwell House and Cheek-Evans House were the first two of three new women's residence halls constructed in 1962 to house the students being moved from the old Women's Department campus to the Centre College campus. The third, Yerkes House, would be completed in 1963. In 1962 Fraternity Quadrangle (the "Quad") was constructed, consisting of three duplex units, built to accommodate the college's fraternities. Nevin was finished in 1968 as a men's residence hall. Hillside, completed in 1974, provided smaller student residences and could be used by residential study groups. During Richard Morrill's presidency (1982-1988), Bingham Hall was completed in 1988. Partially to reduce problems from the "Quad" grouping of fraternity houses, and to provide equal accommodations for both fraternities and sororities, Greek Park was completed in during the presidency of Michael Adams(1988-1997). The fraternity houses opened in 1993, and the sorority houses in 1994. Also, during this time Walnut House was renovated to add student rooms on the second floor and student residence space was added on St. Mildred's Court.


After the college bookstore relocated to downtown Danville in 2005, the building was used for student housing, and is now named Stuart Hall. Pearl Hall, a 146-bed residence hall made possible by a gift from Centre trustee Robert Brockman '63 opened in the fall of 2008. Ruby Cheek House, a former private residence that had been used for administrative and retired faculty office space, was converted to student housing in the fall of 2009. In the fall of 2012 the A. Eugene Brockman Residential Commons opened, a $15-million project funded by the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust, featuring apartment-style housing for 124 upper-class students.