The Carl Online

Houses RIP by carlmagazine
September 28, 2010, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Campus, Northfield, Society

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the death of two houses that once stood tall and strong on the Carleton College Campus.


Reynolds House, Carleton’s Jewish interest house of many years, was brutally knocked down this summer. It’s death did not come as a surprise to friends and family as  a variety of piping malfunctions left it closed for the majority of 2009-2010 school year. Reynolds will be remembered for its multi-faceted personality which ranged from spiritual to fun to absolutely ridiculous.

Campus rabbi, Shosh Dworsky remembers fondly the “certain coziness of that dark dingy living room.” The living room was the site of many a alumni Shabbat.  Rabbi Shosh says that it was “fun for me to see and hear them [alumni] as the memories came rushing back.” There are three classes still at Carleton who will recall Reynolds House memories every time that they see its’ empty plot on Union Street.

Will Taylor (’11) describes himself as a “part time resident” of Reynolds House during the 2008-09 school year, as he was a good friend of two of the house residents, Moshe Emilio Lavi (’11) and Iosif Sorokin (’11). Will often found himself passed out on the Reynolds couch. On Saturday mornings he usually woke up to what he describes as some of his most striking memories of the former Jewish home. Every week Iosif hosted 4th and 5th graders from Northfield for chess lessons, “surrounded by piles of MSR and bottles of wine- sheer destruction.” This moment epitomized the spirit of an interest house- an intersection between community outreach, (or what Jews would call tzedakah) and the happy go lucky wear and tear of collegiate festivities.

Iosif remembers when “…a bird flew in through the fireplace and Moses chased it around with a broom for about an hour until he finally knocked it into a box and then we moved it outside and released it.” Just as that bird was freed almost two years ago, it is time to let go of Reynolds House. It seems that the Jewish Students of Carleton (JSC) were ready for and accepting of change. “Though it certainly took my breath away the first time I drove by the empty lot,” Shosh says that, “I can’t say I shed any tears.”  Or as Moshe Lavi more bluntly put it, “I think it was a nasty and rotten house when it comes to the manner in which it was maintained. I want to say good riddance, but to be honest with you I could not care less.” Reynolds was reaching its end with pest issues and some spatial issues too. Perhaps some day something new will come into the space of Reynolds House, a place where all people and things from Jews, to MSR, to 8-year old chess players are welcome.

Watson House

Another home that was reduced to broken timber this summer was Watson House, once located near Watston Hall on Maple Street. Watson House served many purposes over it’s storied years. It was once WHOA House, a residential house and was also Knight House. Knight House existed for one school year, 2007-2008 and served as a school spirit house and a home to many of the Cheer Boys. Dash Cole (’10), a Knight House resident and part-time house manager, explains that, “residents were required to go to at least two sporting events per term, which was really not that much. The house was also supposed to be an open forum for anyone who wanted to talk about Carleton athletics, from varsity to club to intramural.”  Mary Bushman, a resident the year after Knight House, says, “it became a lot more boring in its post-Cheer Boys days,” though she did appreciate the frequent visits from Toff.

Much like Reynolds, Watson was in poor physical shape during its last couple years of existence. Dash remembers feeling rather nervous about the crumbling edifice, saying,“we had parties in the basement sometimes, and there were three pillars that were structural support for the house. One of them could be moved pretty easily, and wasn’t even still connected to the ceiling. The other two just looked really shaky. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it collapsed while we were living there.” Because of this, Dash believes it was a good thing that Watson House was knocked down, though he will always remember his times there fondly.


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: