What began as a dream of the dean of women is now being torn down after being empty for seven years. Though recently used as a training facility for the local fire department, most current students have never seen the hall occupied. Carey Hall has held many purposes since it opened in 1948; the first week of August 2012, it will likely be a “grassy area.”
Ethel Carey, who the hall is named after, was made dean of women in 1924. She was notorious for being especially conservative about student wardrobe, personal hygiene and social behavior.
The building was named for Carey a year after it was built, and it was a dormitory for women until 1982. The halls were suites which included a bedroom and study area, and 193 students lived there. The building also had a laundry room; storage rooms; a fireplace; and, like today’s NMU dorms, a reception area and student mailboxes.
The Health Center was also located in Carey Hall when it was first built until 1961 when Gries Hall opened and it moved there.
The purpose of Carey Hall was changed in 1982 when the dorm evolved into faculty offices. The hall was home to departments like philosophy, psychology, sociology, and public safety. It was also the Speech and Hearing Clinic for many years.
By 1996, there weren’t any permanent offices in Carey Hall. Public Safety moved to the services building that year, and the psychology and sociology departments moved to Gries. A special committee, headed by Carl Holm who remains director of housing and residence life, considered options for Carey Hall, but nothing was determined. Until 2005, when the building was closed permanently, Carey Hall was used for occasional classes and even a place for NMU skiers to wax their skies.
Source: A Sense of Time by Russell Magnaghi
First picture: Archives website
Written by Lucy Hough