Ask the Archivist: The Quarry

The Quarry

by Jim Gerencser ’93

"What is the history of the building we know today as The Quarry?” —Troy Laur ’03

The limestone-clad house situated on the southeast corner of College and Louther streets dates back to the turn of the last century. Members of Dickinson’s chapter of Phi Delta Theta wished to build a fraternity house, but they found it difficult to secure an appropriate plot of land.

College authorities granted permission for the fraternity to build its new house on that corner of the John Dickinson campus, and construction commenced in the fall of 1898. The fraternity celebrated a formal opening of its new house in February 1901.


The agreement reached between the Board of Trustees and the fraternity brothers included the proviso that if, at some future date, the college authorities wished to reclaim that land, they could do so by compensating the fraternity fairly. The board voted in 1927 to give notice that Phi Delta Theta should plan to vacate the house within five years, and in 1931 the property transfer took place, with the college paying $8,300 for the house. Dickinson then renovated the space to house classrooms and labs for the psychology department, and the fraternity moved into a new house it constructed across West Street from East College, known today as Stuart House.

In 1958, the psychology department moved out, and the music department moved in. As the music department grew, it inevitably needed more space. Instructional media then moved into the building in 1976, occupying it for just a few years until moving into Bosler Hall. The house returned to its original purpose as fraternity living quarters in 1982, when Kappa Sigma moved in.

It remained the Kappa Sigma residence for 10 years and then housed other fraternities until 1999.

Renovations began in 2000 that would turn the house into a campus wide social space. It opened early in 2001, with
“The Quarry” becoming the new moniker for the building. Over the next several months, students suggested additional changes to make the space more appealing, and further changes in 2003 to increase dining options resulted in The Quarry that we are familiar with today. 

Send your questions for Ask the Archivist to dsonmag@dickinson.edu.

Read more from the spring 2014 issue of Dickinson Magazine.

Published Apr. 22, 2014