East Hall


East Hall



In 1922, the University purchased the old Tappan School building on East University, renaming it East Hall, and gave it to Engineering for use in its classes in non-technical subjects such as Engineering English. This old building had been erected in 1883 as a city school. The name “Tappan School” remained on its north face. It was condemned for elementary school purposes by the state fire inspectors in 1922, and became available to the University, “a price of $76,200 was agreed upon for the purchase … of all the property known as the Tappan School buildings and grounds … out of the general funds of the University.” An allowance of $2,000 was made for alterations and repairs to adapt the building for use by University classes during the year 1922-23 (R.P., 1920-23, p. 572).

East Hall, of brick construction with two floors and a basement, contained twenty-nine rooms, including 10 classrooms and a study hall in the basement and had 20,194 square feet of floor space. Several of the classrooms were considered to be too large, so they were partitioned into sizes more suitable for university work. The building was connected to the university light and heating system.

From 1922, this building was used continuously for classes and offices. By 1955 offices of the Engineering English Department were located there, and the classrooms for the courses in English and mathematics. The building was on East University Avenue, just north of the East Engineering Building.

George G. Brown (The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedia Survey, p. 1616) 


Tappan School

Tappan School (right) on the east side of East University Avenue
(the column visable on the left is the original Medical Building on the west side of East University Avenue)



Needless to say, this cast off addition to the Engineering campus was not highly regarded. An article in the Michigan Technic put it this way:

It is the ugly duckling of the engineering family. After wandering through a maze of narrow passages and inter-connected classrooms, the student perhaps comes to a door on which are inscribed the desired numerals, where he is safe till it is time to go out. Then if he is particularly unlucky he will fall into a trap set by Professor Brackett, who has very cunningly established his office right on the spot where even a wandering Freshman is sure the door to the Great Outdoors and Freedom is located.

There are all sorts of rumors about the old school. Many cubic feet of the basement are completely blocked off from curiosity satisfiers. In the disused belfry live pigeons who are said to be descended from those who performed heroic messenger service in intra-campus battles of former years. Directly under the north entrance-way there is a large cistern. Nobody seems to know the reason for its existence, but it has been suggested that a trap-door in the floor would furnish excellent facilities for such ceremonies as baptisms or sacrifices to the engineering gods.” (Michigan Technic
, October, 1939, p. 28)

The University Main Building
East Hall (note the top of the tower has been removed)