Eagle Rock 1914
On the morning of March 26, 1914, the 25th anniversary celebration began at the Hall of Letters on the Highland Park campus with an account of the history of the college by William Stewart Young. The festivities culminated on March 27 in Eagle Rock where College President John Willis Baer, trustees, students, alumni and the community were joined by prominent national leaders for the dedication of the first three buildings of the Eagle Rock campus.
"Johnson Hall of Letters" housed administrative offices, classrooms, literary society rooms and a combination chapel and lecture hall. Johnson Hall was named for long-time college benefactor and trustee OUT. Johnson. "Fowler Hall of Science" provided laboratories and classrooms for the natural science departments, and included a cafe. It was built by the Fowler family as a memorial to Eldridge M. Fowler, a trustee from 1909 to 1914.
Across the undeveloped "quad" was Swan Hall, a gift of Frances B. Swan as a tribute to her husband, James B. Swan. Designed as a men's dormitory, there were twenty-seven bedrooms, ten sleeping porches, and a large assembly room on the ground floor.
In the fall of 1914, faculty and a student body of 200 men and 122 women would put these new facilites to use. In addition to the liberal arts and science curriculum, students established literary, academic, and social organizations such as the Arden Shakespeare Club, Lowell Literary Society, Glee Club, the Aelian Club, and Owl & Key. With the automobile becoming the preffered mode of student transportation, the Occidental Automobile Club was formed in 1915. The undeveloped campus terrain was perfect for hill climbing contests.
The surrounding area was still sparsely developed. In 1909, the college was conceived as the centerpiece of a prestigious real estate development. but the two year delay in launching construction seriously damaged the credibility or the real estate venture. The campus stood alone in the valley a mile away from the Eagle Rock business district. But, the stage was set for the College and the community to grow. And grow they did. The move to Eagle Rock launched a new era for Occidental College in Los Angeles.