Building the campus after World War II

Posted by - - 1940s, Builders

The end of World War II presented Whitworth with unique challenges and opportunities. As returning soldiers took advantage of the G.I. Bill, Whitworth’s enrollment climbed to record levels in 1945 and continued to increase for several years. The swell of students prompted President Frank Warren to tell the Synod of Washington, “Our problem is not how to get students, but what to do with them after they arrive.”

Enter the Mead Act, which provided government surplus buildings to be repurposed for housing and classrooms. Ten buildings from Baxter General Hospital, in Spokane, and six buildings from Port Orchard were donated to Whitworth and moved to campus. They would become faculty and student apartments; an infirmary (Grieve Hall); Tiffany Memorial Chapel; a science hall; a social-science hall; a music building (now Lindaman Hall); Lancaster Hall; Goodsell Hall; Nason Hall; and a staff house. Several of the buildings were named in honor of graduates or former students who had given their lives on the mission fields or in their country’s service. To meet a need for married-student housing, in 1947 surplus buildings were moved to the eastern edge of campus and were remodeled into 22 apartments, lovingly dubbed “Ball & Chain Lane.”

Most of these buildings would remain in use until the 1970s, but three of them – Lindaman, Westminster and Hendrick – still serve as classrooms and offices today.