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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Raiders of the lost archives, part 5

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Horace Goodhue Hall’s famous Superlounge was not always a place to shoot pool and play video games. The room began its life as one of Carleton’s four dining halls when students first occupied the $1.3 million dormitory in 1962.The residence hall was initially called “New Dorm” until President John W. Nason announced the current name honoring Carleton’s first professor in February 1963. Goodhue was the only men’s dormitory on the east side of campus until co-ed housing began in 1970.

The former 250-seat dining hall was architect Minoru Yamasaki’s attempt to bring personality to modernist architecture. In fact, author David Gebhard called it Yamasaki’s best work at Carleton. The coffered ceiling is a design informally known as a “waffle ceiling”—appropriate, considering the room’s original purpose. Concrete aggregate casings surround Yamasaki’s signature tall, narrow windows, the shapes of which are mimicked in the balcony railing.

Goodhue’s only diners initially were its male residents, who were required to wear a jacket and tie to meals until 1965. In Evans and Gridley, the women’s dining halls, women could not wear “slacks, shorts, pedal-pushers, or jeans” per the Women’s League Handbook. In 1965, Carls were allowed to choose a second dining hall after previously being assigned to one based on their dormitory. Co-ed dining expanded at this time, partially in anticipation of Gridley’s 1967 demolition.

When Goodhue first opened, students ate “family-style,” wherein wait staff brought diners each day’s fare on carts. In 1968, Goodhue converted to cafeteria-style service for lunch and dinner. The other dining halls followed suit, the Severance Tea Room being the last to switch from family-style.

Goodhue offered the first vegetarian options at Carleton, an initiative students undertook in 1969. The following year, Carleton contracted with the Saga Corporation, Bon Appétit’s predecessor, for campus food management.

Goodhue’s food services ended in 1999, when construction of the Recreation Center blocked the access road for food deliveries. Dining operations transferred to Evans that fall, and both dining halls were permanently decommissioned when the Language and Dining Center opened on New Year’s Day, 2001. The Office of Residential Life decided to turn the dormant Goodhue Dining Hall into a “Sayles-Hill East,” which took shape during Fall Term 1999. Because most Goodhue residents were (and still are) under 21, administration designated the new common space as alcohol-free. Goodhue staff hosted an open house for the “Superlounge” on January 18, 2000.

The lounge’s amenities have not changed since the initial renovation, but carpeting, track lighting, new furniture, and a stereo system have all been added since then. In 2004, the Superlounge became one of the first campus buildings with wireless Internet access. A popular pastime is intense Super Smash Bros. sessions on a Nintendo Game Cube donated by freshman John Guckin, Jr., before he died in a March 2011 car accident. The Superlounge no longer has chefs or serving trays, but it remains a “Good” place to enjoy the company of friends.

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