UW News

March 2, 2006

Red Square was once a ‘swimming pool’

Last summer, University Week wrote to faculty and staff who have worked here at least 35 years and asked for their reminisciences. Today’s trip down memory lane comes from Anne Guthrie, who is now a safety administrator in Facilities Services.

“I started working here in 1967 in the Administration Building (now Gerberding Hall). Charles Odegaard was president and Solomon Katz was provost. Odegaard’s right-hand person was a woman named Helen Hoagland and she ran the building and everything in it. She had standards and all the VPs had to adhere to them.

“I worked for the VP for research, George Farwell. I was a secretary and got the job from temporary services. I can still remember answering the phone and the sound of Helen’s voice saying, ‘Dr. Odegaard calling for Dr. Farwell.’ It made you sit up straighter. Farwell had been associate dean for research in the graduate school and then the vice presidency was created because research was exploding.

“The ad building looked very different then. Schmitz hadn’t opened yet and the cashier’s office was on the second floor. It was just open counters all around and sometimes students were standing in line all the way down to the curved stairs on that side of the building.

“During the Vietnam protests the demonstrations would start at the HUB yard and march to the ad building. Often the building would be locked down and I’d be locked out of work. One day I stayed in for lunch and there was a bomb threat, so they cleared the building and I couldn’t get back in.

“When there actually was a bombing, Farwell’s office had all its windows blown out. There was glass all over his desk, the shelves came off the wall. There was stained glass on the front that never got replaced. There was an 11 by 17 report on the bombing that included photos.

“Red Square was dug up then during the building of Odegaard, Meany and Kane. There was a huge hole that we called the executive swimming pool.”