During Christmas vacation of 1950 the University announced that work on a new men’s dormitory would begin as soon as weather permitted. The South Quadrangle, planned by the architect Andrew Morison and constructed by Bryant and Detwiler Company, of Detroit, was opened in the fall of 1951 (R.P., 1948-51, p. 618).
The brick and limestone building housed 33 triple rooms, 507 double rooms, 101 single rooms, a guest suite, and 14 suites for staff personnel. Housing for 1,232 male students was provided. The total cost of South Quad was approximately $5,600,000.
The South Quadrangle gave students the intimacy of life in a small college and the stimulating atmosphere of autonomous families residing within a larger neighborhood community. The basic unit in the Michigan House Plan was the individual house. There were seven in this building. Each house was composed of two floors and each floor had two wings. Thus, each house contained eight families of about twenty men. In a house there was a house director who was primarily concerned with the health and well-being of the students. The resident adviser, a member of the faculty, was responsible for the academic tone of the house. He acted as counselor to individual students, as adviser to student organizations, and as sponsor of the house programs. Staff assistants, usually graduate and professional students, lived in each of the eight wings of the dormitory.
On the top level, or penthouse, were sun decks, a large study room, and a “ham” radio station. On the ground floor were five sound-proof rooms for those who wish to practice music, the South Quadrangle Council room, a suite of photographic rooms, two ping-pong and card rooms, a wired radio broadcasting station, and a library with adjoining study and typing room.
In accordance with the Michigan House Plan tradition all seven houses were named in honor of former distinguished teachers and scholars on the University faculty: Professors Fred Manville Taylor, economics; Moses Gomberg, chemistry; G. Carl Huber, medicine; Francis W. Kelsey, music and archaeology; Jesse Siddall Reeves, political science; Fred Newton Scott, English and journalism; and Claude Halstead Van Tyne, American history.
Paneling in the first floor lobbies was oak and in the dining rooms wild cherry planking had been used. Furnishings were modern in design and constructed of birch wood in a natural finish.
A common lounge for residents and a parlor for women were in each end of the main floor, and four automatic elevators serviced the upper floors. Each house had its own lounge in addition to a small powder room for women and a laundry for use of the residents.
A snack bar, called the “Club 600” (from the address, 600 Madison Avenue) provided snacks and soda fountain service for the residents and seated 350. Parcel post, laundry, and dry-cleaning service were handled within the building, and student mail was distributed through individual combination lock boxes.
Food was prepared in a central kitchen and was served at two double cafeteria counters for four dining rooms, all on the first floor. One of the dining rooms was divided by means of a plastic curtain so that the entire room could be used for social functions.
In accordance with the Michigan House Plan tradition all seven houses were named in honor of former distinguished teachers and scholars on the University faculty: Professors Fred Manville Taylor, economics; Moses Gomberg, chemistry; G. Carl Huber, medicine; Francis W. Kelsey, music and archaeology; Jesse Siddall Reeves, political science; Fred Newton Scott, English and journalism; and Claude Halstead Van Tyne, American history. Dorothy Markham
(The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey, p. 1707)