10 Things We Miss About Denison

10 Things We Miss About Denison


Fuller’s Market  Before Whit’s, Brews, and a slew of real estate offices, several grocery stores lined Broadway in Granville. Sargents, Welsh’s, and Fuller’s Market all had their perks, but Fuller’s eventually outlasted the others until it closed in 1994. A popular stop-in for snacks, cigs, and “baskets from around the world,” Fuller’s also sold the basics: bread, meats, cheese, and vegetables–including the products of English professor Paul Bennett’s garden. And many a cash-strapped student took eager advantage of the store’s convenient student accounts.


Traying  In the dreary and sometimes-snowy winter months, Denison’s hilltop position provided plenty of opportunities for downhill fun. And for the sledder without his own vehicle, a “borrowed” dining hall tray did just the trick for some wild rides down Deeds Hill. Sadly, the fun came to an end when the college had to ban all forms of sledding out of concerns for safety, and the related risk of unfun lawsuits.


Skin Hill  Denison’s slopes and open spaces offered great warmweather recreation as well. Back in the day, the grassy hill behind Shaw, Sawyer, and Beaver halls was known as “Skin Hill” based on its status as THE hot spot for sunbathers. When the Mitchell Athletic and Recreation Center was built in 1994, the hill’s nickname and sunbathers were both displaced. And while skin cancer research caused some bathers to give up the daytime naps entirely, others just searched for a new place to catch some rays. Today, it’s East Quad that often hosts the bikinis and beach chairs on sunny days.


Denison Summer Theatre  It wasn’t long ago that summers at Denison included a big blue tent on what’s now called the Fine Arts Quad. In that tent, students, faculty, staff, and community members entertained theatre goers with new performances every week from June through mid-August. Denison Summer Theatre–and that giant blue tent–became a symbol of summer on campus and in the Village, but the program disbanded after the 1963 season, mostly due to financial difficulties.


Pointy Specs  Remember when folks came to football games in their fall finery? We’re not suggesting that people start wearing their Sunday’s best to Piper Stadium once again, but we miss the days when the bleachers were the place for Denisonians and villagers alike to be seen on a Saturday afternoon. But now, with so much more competing for our weekend time, and with so many means for catching the highlights without being there, we miss that sense of bleacher camaraderie. Oh. And those pointy, cat-eyed specs? For the record, we miss those, too.


Tug-of-war  Amid Denison’s countless contests of strength and teamwork, there was one that mattered more than all the others, especially for the freshmen trying to earn their respect and the sophomores trying to maintain theirs. In the early 1900s, a tug-of-war between the two classes determined whether freshmen were required to continue wearing their unfashionable beanies. A victory for the sophomores meant the caps had to stay in place for the rest of the year, but if the first-year students pulled the sophomores into Raccoon Creek, the caps were no more. As time wore on and beanies were discarded altogether, these class wars lost their relevance, but the classes continued to duke it out over Ebaugh Pond every fall just for bragging rights.


May Day  For more than 60 years, Denison welcomed the final month of the academic year with a May Day celebration, complete with a May Pole dance, a ceremony in Latin, and the crowning of the May Queen. These days students might scoff at the idea of awarding a crown to the most popular or traditionally attractive co-ed, but back then, the formal event was a rite of spring. Besides, who wouldn’t miss a ceremony that included fancy dresses, flowers, and a trumpeter in tights?


The Swim  What ever happened to The Swim? And the Mashed Potato? And the Cabbage Patch for that matter? Sure, they were replaced by small pockets of the Macaréna and the Electric Slide, and today’s students love to boogie down…anywhere. But gym-filled evenings like the one pictured at right are long gone, leaving us only to miss the smooth moves and fancy formals that defined whole generations.


Dance Cards  Speaking of those formal dances, we’re nostalgic for those cute little dance cards the gals would carry with them, documenting the events and the gents they danced with that evening– mini-memory books from their college years. Nowadays, if students keep any record of their their adventures, it’s through blog posts, Twitter feeds, and Facebook walls. But somehow, it just doesn’t feel the same.


Bowling Before the third floor of Slayter became the Roost (the campus pub) and the place to host comedians, rock bands, hiphop artists, and club nights, it was where the Monday Night Ladies Bowling League would come to play. The 10-lane alley was a campus hot-spot for students and villagers who could show up any time of the week to play a few games. And you know what else we miss? Those cute little bowling shoes. Who ever said those weren’t fashionable? (Click here to learn more about Denison’s dip into the bowling world.)


Published November 2010