Jewett Hall

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Jewett Hall

Originally submitted by Kelly Tafoya, Drake University, Fall 2011

Copyright - Drake University


Construction of Jewett Hall began in the summer of 1939 and was completed by January 1940 at the cost of $125,000. Originally built for males only, Jewett could hold up to 80 male occupants. The Student Union was also located inside the three story brick building where smoking was also permitted. This was the first place smoking was allowed on campus. The Union also contained a room with a grill, soda fountain, booths and a television. There was also a room that could be reserved for private dining designated the “Pine Room”. A contest was held to determine the name of the room with the grill which ended up being “The Kennel”.


In 1986 there was a petition to transform Jewett into a co-ed, single room, ‘study intensive’ floor for law students. The petition also called for the lounge for faculty to be removed and had 93 signatures. The faculty house was eventually moved, despite protests from some such as Michael Ferrari who thought that Jewett was important socially as a part of Drake’s history and should be part of ‘fringe benefits’. At the time Ferrari wrote this there was a no coffee break policy which most of the faculty was not happy with and the carpet in the lounge needed replacing along with a different color of paint on the black ceilings. However, eventually a law and graduate floor that was co-educational was established for the 1986-87 school year along with nine undergraduates (five of whom were seniors) who were designated to the third floor of Jewett. The Union/lounge was moved to Olmsted in order to save money (although there was much argument about whether it would or not). The new floor that was established in Jewett would be a 24 hour, 7 days a week quiet floor, all students selected to live on there were described as serious and quiet. Changes like this did not make Jewett an all male hall anymore but allowed the Law School to have a ‘comparative advantage’ over other schools.

George A. Jewett

Jewett was named after George A. Jewett, who worked informally with the founding group and was the second secretary-trustee after D.R. Lucas. He was also a very generous donor and was most known for his enthusiasm towards Drake University since he gave the longest continuous service (1883-1934). Til 1934, every diploma issued by Drake University had been signed by him. Jewett Hall is a part of the ‘older campus’ per say which is why it’s significant that his name is associated with because his life was connected with it (the older campus).

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Ericson, J. (1986, August 15). [Cowles Library Archives] Campus Communication. Des Moines, IA: Drake University.

Ferrari, M. R. (Ed.). (1985, December 6). [Cowles Library Archives] Campus Communication. Des Moines, IA: Drake University.

Group Seeks $100,000 For Campus Building. (1939, May 26). [Cowles Library Archives] Times Delphic. Des Moines, IA: Drake University

Jewett Student Residence [Newspaper Photograph]. (1940). Des Moines, IA: Cowles Library.

Stoppel, W. A. (1986, April 29). [Cowles Library Archives] Office of the President. Des Moines, IA: Drake University