Side Door

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An extremely alert reader recently commented on the old bonus shot above:

Has anyone identified the location of the bonus photo yet? (As promised, Melissa, I’ve been going back through your archives, and I found I recognized the spot pretty readily.) Facing Sewall Hall, you must have been perched at the top of the metal staircase, which is accessed via the Cohen House kitchen. I hadn’t been to the top of that staircase myself until after I saw your posted photo (had to verify my theory, naturally), but I did recognize the architecture of Cohen House and Sewall Hall – plus noting the orientation of the Ozarka delivery truck hidden behind the trees helped me identify the Inner Loop.

I have a question! Was that doorway at the foot of the staircase ever used as an entrance to Cohen House? I think the inscription indicated the date MCMXXIX (1929), and that it was part of an addition to Cohen House. Maybe the answer is in your archives and I haven’t gotten there yet?

Before I get to the answer, I’d like to say how much I admire her willingness to climb around on things. There are few better ways to learn a campus.

Here’s what she’s asking about. It was part of the first addition to Cohen House and it’s really quite pretty:

Cohen House 1929 addition

You can see it in better context here:

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So was it ever used as an entrance? Just going by photos it seems that it was, but I’m not sure who the entrance was for. It might well have been just for the kitchen staff. There aren’t very many pictures of this side of the building but there happen to be two from the 1930s. Of those, only one is sharp enough to make it out clearly and it was taken by a student who was here in the early part of the decade, soon after the addition was put on:

Fred Alter side door of Cohen House

Looks like a screen door to me.

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One Response to Side Door

  1. Angela Wren Wall says:

    Thanks for following up on this, Melissa! (I missed your post last week due to hosting dept. events on Nov. 7th and 8th.) I’ve been looking for old photos with detail about that side of Cohen House. If it was a screen door as you noted, maybe it was used to vent heat from the kitchen?

    When I went on my “expedition” to Cohen House, one of the staff members said that the current heavy door leads to the basement – something to check out during my next visit to CoHo.

    I will, however, keep an eye out for other photos or documentation that may explain that screen door. And if I have to climb on anything to find the answer, all the better! 🙂

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