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.

Los Angeles Tribune, March 28, 1914

 

The lead story of the March 28, 1914, edition of the Los Angeles Tribune describes the dedication ceremony of Occidental's new campus. The three buildings being celebrated were Johnson, Fowler, and Swan Halls. Some of the luminaries in attendance were the presidents of Pomona College and the University of California, Former U.S. Vice President Charles Warren Fairbanks, and William Shaw, general secretary of the United Society of Christian Endeavor.

Occidental in Eagle Rock Valley, 1914

 

The site of the new campus in the expansive Eagle Rock Valley was chosen for its many possibilities. Eagle Rock Boulevard runs through the center of the photograph. Johnson, Fowler, and Swan Halls can be seen to the northwest (upper right). Photograph by B.D. Jackson, courtesy of Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society.

Occidental College, 1921

 

This photo of a blossoming Eagle Rock campus in 1921 was taken near Alumni Circle below Fowler Hall using a panoramic camera, giving a distorted effect that places the three buildings in line with one another. Photograph by T.C. Thompson.

"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.

Johnson and Fowler Halls, 1916

 

A grove can be seen behind Johnson and Fowler Halls in 1916. Architect Myron Hunt planted Eucalyptus Blue Gum seedlings, introducing landscaping to the campus.

Orchestra in Johnson Hall chapel, 1915

 

The orchestra assembles in the Johnson Hall chapel, 1915. The chapel was also used as a lecture hall.

Student Lunch Counter at Fowler Hall, 1914

 

Students and faculty at the Student Lunch Counter in 1914. The Cafe in Fowler Hall was judged by most students to be inadequate for dining purposes, but it wasn't until 1918 that the college began making plans for better dining facilities for the campus community.

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.

Eagle Rock Campus Construction

 

The construction site of the Eagle Rock campus, circa 1913. Fowler Hall and Johnson Hall, in the foreground, would house classrooms and offices. While excavating the site a large underground spring was tapped, threatening to derail all plans for building the campus at this location. Swan Hall, in the background, would be a residence hall for men.

Construction of Swan Hall, 1913

 

The construction site of Swan Hall in 1913, as seen looking south down Alumni Avenue. In the distance is the house of Ralph Rogers, who donated his home to Occidental.

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.

Sophomore Stunt Production, 1915

Students put on a production for the traditional Sophomore Stunt, circa 1915

Football Car in Parade, 1916

 

The prize-winning car at the parade before a 1916 Oxy-Pomona football game. Oxy won, 27-0.

Annual College Picnic at Occidental, 1915

 

Picnics were a popular pastime with the Occidental community. This 1915 photograph shows President John Willis Baer (in the tailcoat) participating in the annual college picnic.

Cast of "The Medea" at Johnson Hall, 1915

 

The cast of "The Medea" on the steps of Johnson Hall, 1915, staged by the Classical Society. Classics professor Dr. William D. Ward, Dean of the College during the Highland Park years, brought back the staging of Greek drama on campus. Ward translated "The Medea" from the Greek into modern dramatic prose and lyrics.

Students Watch a Track Meet, 1916

 

After the three original building, W.C. Patterson Field was the next major project on the new campus. Students watch a track meet at Patterson Field, circa 1916

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.

Looking Down Alumni Avenue, 1915

 

Looking down Alumni Avenue in 1915 towards what is now Campus Road, a lone figure accentuates the open land around the new campus. At the end of the road on the left is the Ralph Rogers home, which would become the Fiji fraternity house and later the site of the Samuelson Alumni Center.

Occidental Park, circa 1910

 

This brochure circa 1910 shows the original plan for the new Eagle Rock location. The "Two Car Lines" were the W and 5 streetcars. The W line connected the Highland Park campus and the new Eagle Rock campus just a couple of miles away

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