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Memories of UC dorm on Ludlow Avenue in 1960s

Below: Original letters that instigated the story — in chronological order.

by Deborah Rieselman

In the summer of 1960, UC purchased the four-story brick Marburg Hotel, originally built in 1902 and located at 260 Ludlow Ave. UC renovated the hotel into a women’s dorm until a new dorm would be completed. When Ludlow Hall opened in that fall, it held only 13 students, two resident counselors and a housemother. By the spring of ’61, though, 78 students lived in its 42 high-ceilinged rooms.

Necessary renovations included installing new electrical wiring, several bathrooms, automatic laundry facilities, a student lounge, a fire-alarm system, a public-address system and a resident-counselor kitchen. Yet to come were sandwich and milk vending machines and a study room in the basement, according to the News Record student newspaper.

But as nice as the rooms were, the women complained about the dorm’s separation from UC by more than a mile and their inability to feel as if they were part of campus, the paper reported. For most of the dorm’s existence, students took a five-minute bus ride to and from campus, using bus passes that were usually provided free of charge.

A women’s dorm for at least the first two years, it also served as a men’s dorm. In the fall of 1966, women had returned, accompanied by a new complaint: buses running “late every day, often not even coming,” making it hard to get to class on time, as they wrote to the News Record in October.

Furthermore, the women claimed that buses ran so late that they frequently missed their prepaid meals on the UC meal plan — a plan that UC mandated they purchase to be sure they ate properly. Their letter to the editor continued, “There aren’t even any machines in Ludlow to keep us alive, especially after 11 p.m. when the doors close. And why, when every other girl on campus has a phone for herself and her roommate, should we have one phone per floor?”

So in the fall of 1967, men took another turn in Ludlow, showing up in greater numbers than expected due to construction delays in opening the new Calhoun Hall for men and the new Daniels Hall for women, both of which opened in October.

Men returned the following fall, but complaints continued — primarily about the total lack of transportation. The bus system had been eliminated after residents neglected to use it the previous year. Hall president Chris Kennedy, Bus ’72, told the News Record that residents spent up to two and a half hours each day walking to and from campus.

Because residents were sometimes unable to reach Logan Hall for dinner, the administration offered to refund their meal “ticket money” or to provide a car to shuttle them back and forth for dinner. Nevertheless, residents had been told they would have to buy their own bus passes on public transportation to get to classes.

By November ’68, the university restored free bus shuttles. Then during the Christmas break, Ludlow Hall was renovated to meet student suggestions, including new phones, new paint in several rooms and new carpeting in some hallways.

Afterward, student attitudes totally reversed direction, and in January 1969, News Record reporter Cliff Radel, A&S ’72, wrote: “Besides boasting good grades, the men of Ludlow believe that they have something almost totally lacking in any of the other dorms — that is a knowledge of other members of their floors and the dorm. Instead of ‘blank faces’ coming out of ‘blank, stereotyped’ rooms, Kennedy feels ‘the guys know each other and the whole hall is a close-knit group.’”

On May 7, 1974, the University Board of Directors approved the sale of Ludlow Hall as it was no longer needed, and the domitory apparently closed at the end of the academic year.

Old letters that revived Ludlow Hall; myths and mistakes included

Ludlow Hall dorm room in 1966

Ludlow Hall dorm room in 1966

Remembering Ludlow Hall

    (published July 2003)

Your recent article regarding life in the dorms sparked vivid memories of my days in residence at Ludlow Hall, that overflow dormitory on Ludlow Avenue that housed freshmen girls.

In 1966, I was a late applicant to the university, not expecting to go to college since my parents really could not afford to send me away to school. My high school art teacher, however, encouraged me to develop a portfolio to submit to the Scholastic Art Award competition. To my surprise, I won, but by the time I was accepted to DAA (there was no “P” in ’66) both of the girls’ dorms on campus were filled, and I was assigned to Ludlow Hall.

I arrived for a week-long orientation just before classes began and moved into my first-floor room, complete with bars on the windows, in this old off-campus hotel. We were supplied with a city bus pass that enabled us to ride from Ludlow up Clifton Avenue for our classes.

Beds in the dorm room in 1966

Dorm room in 1966

Because our “dorm” had no food service, we had to eat our meals in Siddall Hall. So once we made the trip to UC, it was for the day, and we spent most of our free time in TUC. It was there in the music lounge that I listened to the soundtrack from “The Man of La Mancha” over and over. I don’t know who selected the music, but whenever I was there, that was playing.

Living off campus had some disadvantages, like the time I lost my brand new Bass Weejun loafer in the mud during orientation week. UC was in the midst of construction (sound familiar?), while Corbett Auditorium was being built. Pedestrian traffic was not re-routed, so we just slogged through the mess. One day, the mud suctioned my shoe right off my foot and out I stepped, ankle deep in the quagmire. All day, I walked around humiliated in a wet, brown (formerly white) sock stuffed inside a muddy loafer.

At first, I was depressed because I couldn’t live on campus and had to bus it, but our accommodations made up for it. Two girls to a huge room with 12-foot ceilings, our own sink and plenty of closet space was much better than those tiny Siddall spaces. And the communal bath down the hall was never crowded since there were few girls on the first floor. The lobby and the lounge area took up a lot of the space. Looking back, I can say Ludlow Hall reminds me of some of the old European hotels in which I have since stayed. Of course in ’66, I had not a clue about such places.

Patty Lloyd

Patty Lloyd in 1966

Life in the dorms was quite different then. We had to be in by 11 p.m. on weeknights and by 1 a.m. on the weekends. I thought this was wild since my hours at home were not that late.

Male guests were only permitted in the TV lounge on the first floor, and they had to be signed in and out. Unfortunately, not too many young men ventured down Ludlow way. So, it was pretty much just us girls, and we got to know each other probably better than had we lived in a high-rise dorm.

My roommate was a girl named Marilyn Murray from Pennsylvania, whom I haven’t heard from since. Linda McCoy from Xenia and Marlene Soncini from Pittsburgh were also “Ludlow Ladies” I remember quite well.

Ludlow Avenue at that time was not the popular place it is today. The old neighborhood theater, the Esquire, was there, but with only one screen. I remember going to see “Georgy Girl” starring Lynn Redgrave.

Some things never change though. Skyline was on the same corner with its ever-present steamy windows.

I still live in the Clifton area and shop on Ludlow Avenue frequently.  When I pass that old dorm building, I remember fondly my one and only year as a student at UC. It would be fun to hear from others who shared the experience.

Patricia Crume Lloyd
assistant dean at the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science

Ludlow Hall ‘makeshift dorm’

    (published September 2012)

In 2003, you ran a story about the memories of a freshman girl who was housed in Ludlow Hall [Patricia Crume Lloyd, DAAP '69]. She had some good stories to tell about the old hotel that brought back fond memories for me.

After reading the article, I went on a diligent search for memorabilia from my own freshman year in that makeshift dorm on the other side of Burnet Woods. At the time, I couldn't find these photos, but a few weeks ago they turned up in a box of old papers. I have scanned the few that show the dorm from the front and the group picture that our dorm adviser Bob Deddens [Eng '63, JD '67] organized for us.

As far as I know, my freshman class was the first to use the old hotel as a dorm, and I remember being pretty confused when I first got there about where I was and where the college was that I was supposed to be attending. I clearly remember the day my mother and stepfather dropped me off and got my luggage up to my room on the second floor. We said goodbye, and they left to go back to Pittsburgh. There I was--a clueless freshman who didn’t even know what questions to ask.

After exploring Burnet Woods and the little business district on Ludlow Avenue, I got my bus pass to campus and found the DAA building where I would spend most of my time. I had many long walks up Clifton Avenue to the DAA building and remember never quite getting used to all the ambulance sirens coming and going from Good Sam Hospital at all hours of the night.

We had a good group of freshmen there--my first real exposure to people from other places and cultures and all pretty good guys when I think back. I remember the Ping-Pong table in the basement and how I actually used the iron and ironing board to press my shirts to wear to class. That didn’t last very long once I discovered how casual college life was and how my mother's idea of what college kids were supposed to look like was a little behind the times.

It didn't take long to meet some commuting freshman students who had cars and would pick me up and take me to campus. So I never really made very good use of my bus pass. My meal-plan ticket was not very well used, either, since I seldom was able to make it to the other side of campus with all my DAA gear and still get to classes on time.

Breakfast became snack food that I could store in my room. I remember once being reprimanded for keeping a container of milk out on my windowsill to keep it cold in the winter. So much for my routine of cereal for breakfast.

I remember the barbershop a few doors down from the dorm, the IGA supermarket a little further down Ludlow on the other side of the street and some grand old mansions a few blocks out on Clifton. There are lots of memories to go through, but this is probably not the time. Hopefully some of the members of the 1965 freshman class will see this and get a few laughs.

For the group photo, handwritten announcement posters were put up around the dorm, and I must have thought they were worth saving. I am the guy in the black sweatshirt, just right of center behind the guy with the umbrella (mouth open, making a wisecrack of some kind, I'm sure). Our dorm adviser, Bob Deddens, has the bowtie and dustpan just left of me. I remember all these faces like it was yesterday, but can't come up with very many names. I do remember that we had some good times. This was more like a frat house than a dorm.

Craig Fitzpatrick, DAAP '70
Knightdale, N.C.

Search for RA Bob Deddens

    (published April 2013)

It was great to see my letter and the group photo of the old Ludlow Hall gang in the last issue of the university magazine. Hopefully it will be seen by some of the original gang, and you will receive more comments and photos. Thanks for sharing this in the magazine.

I have thought that it would be great if you could find Bob Deddens [Eng ’63, JD ’67], our dorm leader, or that he might see this and respond. He would have some great memories of that year and could certainly fill in some blanks with his version of reality.

Craig Fitzpatrick, DAAP ’70
Knightdale, N.C.

Editor’s note: If anyone knows Bob Deddens, ask him to contact us at magazine@uc.edu or 513-556-5225.

Ludlow Hall: Cause to shudder twice

    (published April 2013)

I think the editor might want to check the facts in Mr. [Craig] Fitzpatrick’s letter [September 2012] regarding his freshman class being the first to use Ludlow Hall as a dorm [in the mid-1960s]. In September 1960, I, along with my roommate, Lynn Pfersick, arrived from Indianapolis and was told that Memorial Hall was full and that the overflow of women students would be housed at the former Ludlow Hotel, 260 Ludlow Ave.

Lynn and I were lucky to get a spacious first-floor room with windows nearly ceiling-to-floor length. My mother made curtains for those windows.
We were supplied with bus passes for daily use between Ludlow and the main campus. We also had meal tickets, which we used, but occasionally treated ourselves to dinner at the Hitching Post further down on Ludlow. I still remember the banana cream pie from there.

 One morning, Lynn and I were late for class, so we rushed off without straightening our room. When we arrived back at the hall, the housemother (sorry I can’t recall her name) greeted us at the door to tell us that we had embarrassed her.

It seems that Mrs. Langsam (wife of then president Walter Langsam) came to visit the new women’s housing, and the housemother went to show her our room, which had been nicely decorated by our mothers. She opened our door only to see unmade beds, clothes scattered, etc. That was the last time we left our room messy!

One last remembrance: One Friday evening, my date and I went to a drive-in movie on the west side of town. Driving home across the Western Hills viaduct, we saw a clock indicating it was almost 2 a.m. (Female students were required to be in the dorm by 2 a.m. on weekends.) By the time we arrived, it was 2:15 a.m.

Three police cars were parked at the dorm, and they shined spotlights on my date and I as we got out of the car. When I entered the dorm, the housemother told me that in five more minutes she would have called my parents in Indianapolis to report my tardiness. I still shudder to think what would have happened had my parents received that call.

Karen Bennett Hoeb, Bus ’65

Editor’s note: You indeed were among the first residents in Ludlow Hall. I knew that Craig Fitzpatrick was not entirely correct at the time, so I did a week’s worth of research and wrote a one-page article about Ludlow Hall. That story was being printed in the magazine when UC’s former president resigned.

We literally stopped the presses and had to remove content to add a news update. The one page devoted to Ludlow Hall was the perfect size and location for yanking.

The bad news: We did not clarify the letter. The good news: We had late-breaking news about the resignation and appointment of the interim president. The “yanked” story now appears above.

Former house of ill repute?

    (published April 2013)

In 1960, I roomed on the first floor of Ludlow Hall, as a freshman in the college of DAA [now DAAP]. I was told by the university that Memorial Dorm and all other female housing was on overload and the university had purchased a facility on Ludlow Avenue to help relieve the situation. Because the person I was rooming with, Katy Carey, DAA class of ’65, had applied late to UC, I would be sent to Ludlow Hall in order to room with her.

We were told that the house had been a “house of ill repute” and a favorite stop for truck drivers. While I was living there, the truck drivers had learned not to stop, but they still frequently honked their horns when driving by.

Our room was on the first floor, and the building’s back door was part of our room. The university put bars on the windows and nailed the door shut, so no one could get in or out. At night, a security guard rattled the door knob to make sure the door was still fastened. The first time this happened, Katy and I were terrified, and this became a nightly event.

At the end of the year, I moved to a sorority house to get away from the mile walk to DAA, and Katy became a DAA co-op student. I, therefore, have personal experience that in 1960 it was a women’s dorm with a housemother.

Judy Gitzinger Montgomery, DAAP ’64
Dayton, Ohio