Draper as a Dining Hall

Title

Draper as a Dining Hall

Subject

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Description

Constructed in 1903, Draper Hall has been in existence for over one hundred years. In its first years, Draper Hall was home to the university's only dining hall. Located at a far more convenient portion of campus in relation to the other dining halls today, this article will examine the history of Draper Dining Hall. In its long history, the interior of Draper Hall has changed dramatically.

Often known as the primary dining hall on campus, Draper Dining Hall was known simply as the "Dining Hall" on campus, mainly because it was the only dining common on the Massachusetts Agricultural College’s campus. The 1913 campus map shows the first official traces of Draper Dining Hall being called by its current name. Located at the heart of campus, Draper Dining Hall served as the go-to facility for a snack in between classes. Starting in 1935, a section of Draper Dining Hall was used for a women’s dormitory. Draper included space for women’s dormitories until the rapid expansion of the UMass Amherst campus following World War II.

Draper Hall served MAC students poor quality but inexpensive food. Records from the later 1800s show that lunch was $3.50 per week. Given the low cost per meal, the food was “the object of derision and complaint.” Responding to the negative reception of MAC’s food, the President of the College adamantly denied the allegations of bad food. President Clark wrote that the food is “abundant and of good quality,” and students should not complain.

After WWII, the UMass campus saw an expansion of both the Northeast and Central Residential Areas. In fact, Central Residential Dorms, Butterfield, Greenough and Chadbourne were built in 1947. In the 1950s, the Northeast Residential community saw a large expansion. Because of these additions, Draper Dining Hall competed with the University Dining Commons built in 1948, for popularity. Prior to the construction of the University Dining Commons Draper served 3,220 students. This far exceeded the limit of 300 students the cafeteria was built to cater to. In 1965, Franklin Dining Hall would be built which further diminished the need for the small Draper Cafeteria.

The inside of Draper Dining Hall would not meet most modern standards for food and health safety. Pictures show servers using their bare hands to handle food and not wearing any facial protection. Further, in the buffet line, there was no cough or sneeze barrier to cover the food from germs. All of these trends most likely were common for the time. Scores of tables lined Draper Dining Hall while overhead fans adorned the white ceilings. A buffet was featured on the eastern side of the tables.

Draper Dining Hall was once the primary dining commons on the UMass Campus. Due to the expansion of the University, Draper Cafeteria became obsolete. The rise of the Northeast and Central Residential Areas forced students to eat closer to where they lived.

Creator

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Source

UMass Special Collections and University Archives

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Type

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Identifier

RG150-0004094, RG150-0004097, RG150-0004100

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Files

RG150-0004094.png
RG150-0004097.png
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Date Added
November 13, 2012
Collection
Central Campus
Item Type
Still Image
Citation
“Draper as a Dining Hall,” Lost UMass, accessed July 29, 2017, http://lostumass.omeka.net/items/show/60.