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Where's the Fire?

My mother, Lydia Cooper Lewis Rickman, Class of 1906, used to tell me that a student was expelled from the College “for putting out a fire in Trotter,” and that even in her day Trotter was considered “not fit for purpose.”

Fact or fiction?

—LUCY RICKMAN BARUCH ’42, Marlow, England


College Archivist David Obermayer did some digging and shares the following information:

There was a fire in Trotter Hall, then called the Science Hall, in 1905. Trotter Hall was originally built in 1881 and called the Science Hall since it housed the lecture and laboratory spaces for all of the sciences. In the early 1900s, the building was only 20 years old, but due to the ever-increasing interest in the sciences among the student body, the administration made plans to build a new chemistry building. When a fire broke out in one of the chemistry lecture halls in 1905, the plans were pushed up and the new chemistry building opened in 1906.