Five Fun Facts About Geneva (Part 3) - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)
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July 1, 2022

Five Fun Facts About Geneva (Part 3)

Curious things happen everywhere around the world and that includes Geneva College! Here in Beaver Falls, there is a ton of history and a load of fun facts that go right along with it. If you haven’t read part 1 and 2 of Five Fun Facts About Geneva, then go back and read them before part 3 (https://www.geneva.edu/blog/the-college/five-fun-facts-about-geneva-pt2). Okay, ready for some more interesting facts? Let’s begin!

1. Here We Go Around the May Pole

As many may recollect, part of homecoming is bringing recognition to the homecoming court and crowning the homecoming king and queen. This is a fun and festive event that Geneva students and alum like to celebrate. Differing from Geneva Homecomings today, in the early 1900s, Geneva College would select a May Queen. One particular year, 1916, Geneva students dressed in royal court garb and watched as the Queen of May, Ada Wilson (Hutcheson) knighted one of her subjects. Another year Geneva women dressed up and danced the Maypole dance around a literal pole. I think that is one tradition that would be interesting to see back at Geneva.

2. Alum at home on campus… literally

M. Downie, class of 1881 lived in a home built across the street from Geneva’s Old Main building. Geneva soon purchased this house in 1926 after Downie’s death. This purchase would not have been possible unless for the donations of alum. Upon acquiring the building, Geneva named the building “Alumni Hall.” One may think the building was named Alumni Hall after the alum who once lived within its walls, however this is not the case. Geneva named the building Alumni Hall in honor of the many donations provided by various alum. Now 95 years later this building is still being used by the college and stands as a space open for the Center for Student Engagement.

3. Fishponds Next to Old Main?

As many of you probably know, there are quite a few entrances to Geneva’s Old Main building. While the main entrance to old main points south, there are two other frequently used entrances, one faces the parking lots and alumni hall while the other faces the student center. These entrances were also in use in the 1900s. Often times, students would quickly head to class utilizing the door pointing West, next to College Avenue. But unlike the nice green lawns that are there now, Geneva used to have fishponds on either side of the side walk leading up to Old Main. I don’t know about you but that sounds fishy to me.

4. Infirmary on Campus

During the 1900s, Geneva opened its doors to supply housing for cadets of the Army Air Force. The men would drill in the field that is known now as Reeves Field. The men were also able to sleep in the dormitories and take classes from faculty at Geneva. With the army on campus, there was an infirmary located in McKee Hall, a women’s residence hall. While I am sure the women were happy to see some handsome soldiers on campus, they had to make alternative living arrangements. All the women were reassigned new living spaces throughout the Beaver Falls community during this time.

5. War Surplus Material

With World War II coming to an end, student enrollment was rising, requiring the addition of more buildings on Geneva’s campus. The end of the war also brought war surplus material from the dismantling of wartime facilities. Instead of wasting this good material, the government gave this surplus material to colleges in need of building resources. It was at that time when Geneva was able to build a temporary field house to work as a gymnasium. They also had enough resources to build a small white house called the Brigadoon. Fortunately, Geneva acquired enough financial resources to later build the new Metheny Field House and the current Student Center where the Brigadoon is located now. Although buildings created out of war surplus material are long gone, it is still an interesting thing to know about Geneva’s history.

-Abby Forton ‘22