Hubbell Dining Hall

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Haylie Franklin 9/21/10 Revised 12/2/10


Photo taken of Hubbell in 1973 contributed by Mr. Phil Leeson AS' 76

Hubbell Dining Hall officially opened on September 28th, 1953. At the time of its opening, Hubbell could accommodate 400 people ata time. This building was part of a $2,600,000 dormitory project, that included three brand new residence halls that could house 600 students. A few of the features of Hubbell were a large dining room, along with several individual ones, snack bars and lounges. The first floor contained the snack shop, soda fountain and bakery, with seating available for 125-175 students. Two staircases then led up to the main dining area, which could hold up to 400 students at a time. The entire upstairs dining room was large, open windows, that gave the students a spectacular view of the pond while they were enjoying their meal. The exterior was done in a red brick tomatch the outside of the dormitories. Hubbell is located in the middle of "the Quad", the four freshmen residence halls, Herriott, Carpenter, Crawford and Stalnaker[1] .


Grover Cooper Hubbell, a member of a pioneer Iowa family, was a prominent businessman and an active civic leader in the Des Moines community. He was also a member of the Drake Board of Trustees from 1929 until his death in 1956. From 1931 until 1948, he was the chairman of the Drake Board of Trustees. Hubbell was designed by Eero Saarinen [2].

Logo of Drake's Modern Campus Logo contributed by


In June of 1954, Stuart Davis, one of America's most prominent painters of the time, visited Drake University to select a location for his painting. The painting, named Allee, measures 8 x 33 feet and was given to Drake by the Gardner Cowles Foundation. While on his visit, Davis noted the following about Hubbell,

on. While on his visit, Davis noted the following about Hubbell,

"I remember the whiteness of the room- its ceilings and walls- the black floor, the blue sky outside those huge windows, and the red rectangles of the brick dormitories."

This viewpoint is clearly visible in the painting. Today, the painting is located on the second floor of the Olmsted Building, Drake's student union[3].


In 1966, an addition was added to Hubbell, extending the building to the south. This addition forced the dining hall to be moved to a new area. The new dining hall could hold 330 students and had several new service lines. A coffee shop and student lounge now occupied the space where the original dining hall was. The lower level of Hubbell now had a quick sub and pizza and convenience store. Another huge change to Hubbell happened in 1986. The bakery, which provided dinner rolls, muffins, sheet cakes, pies and nut breads closed its doors. Taking the place of these treats were ready-made items, like cupcakes, cookies, Danish and fruit rolls.


Photo of Hubbell Sign contributed

From the beginning, Hubbell was receiving negative feedback from the students at Drake. The food quality was always being questioned, and the students wondered where their money was going if it was not going towards nutritious food . Atmosphere was another complaint from the students. Until in 1985, the complaints finally piled up enough to where people took action and remodeled the interior for an '80s theme instead of the prior '60s. The biggest complaint of all was the length of the lines. Students began just going to the shortest line. Some even called it a "hassle" going there, and said they would rather skip lunch than eat there. However, Hubbell has always been open to change and change it did again in 2010[4] .


In October 2009, a renovation called Buliding a Modern Campus for Hubbell was cleared by the Drake University Board of Trustees. What was once called Spike's, will for now be called Hubbell North, until a finalized name is cleared. Spike's, the dining hall closest to the first year dorms, was open until 1 am, and many students utilized this option. While students can still have the all-you-can-eat option at Hubbell South, they will now have different options to choose from at Hubbell North. The food Hubbell North will be serving comes from a university-wide survey done at Drake. Students will also still have the late night snack fix when needed, Hubbell North has the same hours as Spike's. The addition of the new Hubbell has greatly decreased the lines and wait time for students at Drake. Students like the different options and the convenience of Hubbell North. The menu and the hours for Hubbell can be found on the Drake Website.


  1. Mares, Fred. Hubbell considers change. Times Delphic.
  2. 1953). Drake's New Dining Hall. Times Delphic.
  3. Gudmundson, Eric. Hubbell Dining Hall. Building a Modern Campus.
  4. Reed, Heather. (1986). The Drake dining experience. Times Delphic.