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Building names revisited, or
how "the Jungle" got its name
March 9, 1998

Building Names Series
Building Names - Part 1
Building Names - Part 2
Building Names - Part 3
Building Names - Part 4

The eleven dormitories of North Campus were built in 1950 to accommodate the surge of students that came in the post-World War II years. The nickname "The Jungle" came about "because they were over-crowded and noisy, originally housing male veterans going to school on the G.I. Bill," wrote Evan Hill in his unpublished history of the University.

Eight of the dorms in North Campus are named for the counties of Connecticut: Fairfield, New Haven, Litchfield, Middlesex, New London, Hartford, Tolland, and Windham. The other three are named for former Connecticut governors.

  • Baldwin Hall is named for Raymond E. Baldwin, a Republican governor from 1939 to 1941 and 1943 to 1946. He was a U.S. senator from 1946 to 1949 and chief justice of the state Supreme Court from 1959 to 1963. It was Baldwin who, as governor, signed legislation in 1939 changing the name of Connecticut State College to the University of Connecticut.

  • McConaughy Hall is named for James L. McConaughy, a Republican governor from 1947 until his death in 1948. He was president of Wesleyan University from 1925 to 1943 and lieutenant governor under Raymond Baldwin in 1939-1940.

  • Hurley Hall is named for Robert A. Hurley, a Democratic governor from 1941 to 1943. As commissioner of the state Department of Public Works from 1937 to 1940, Hurley oversaw $5 million worth of construction on the Storrs campus, including the Wilbur Cross Building, the Design and Resource Management Building, and Manchester, Whitney, Sprague and Wood Halls.

The Northwest Quadrangle, known as The Frats, also was built in 1950. These units, which at one time housed 23 fraternities, are named for 19th-century Connecticut businessmen.

  • Batterson Hall is named for James G. Batterson (1823-1901), founder of The Travelers Insurance Company and a leading contractor in granite and stone works. One of his projects was the State Capitol in Hartford.

  • Goodyear Hall is named for Charles Goodyear (1800-1860) of New Haven, inventor of a system of vulcanizing rubber.

  • Hanks Hall is named for Benjamin and Rodney Hanks, inventors who lived on Hanks Hill in Mansfield. Benjamin (1755-1824) cast cannon for the Revolutionary war and patented a tower clock powered by wind. Rodney (1782-1846) invented machines for spinning silk with water power. He built the nation's first silk mill in Mansfield, a structure now in the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.

  • Rogers Hall is named for three brothers who were pioneers in the silver industry. Simeon, Asa, and William Rogers were the first to use electroplating in the commercial production of silver-plated flatware.

  • Russell Hall is named for Samuel Russell (1789-1862), a Middletown businessman who was involved in early trade with China.

  • Terry Hall is named for Eli Terry (1772-1852), operator of a clock factory in Terryville, Connecticut. Terry, who started in business with Seth Thomas and Silas Hoadley beginning in 1807, soon established his own company and patented about 10 improvements on clocks.

  • Wright Hall is named for Benjamin Wright (1770-1842), a Wethersfield native who was designated the "father of American civil engineering" by the Society of American Civil Engineering. He was chief engineer in the construction of the Erie Canal, St. Lawrence Ship Canal, and the New York and Erie Railroads.

Over at Hilltop are the last new dormitories to be built before construction began last year on the new South Campus. Opened in 1971, the two dormitories and dining facility are named for three Connecticut men from the Revolutionary and Federal period.

  • Ellsworth Hall is named after Oliver Ellsworth of Windsor, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He played a major role in bringing about the Connecticut Compromise, which provided for a bicameral Congress. He was a U.S. senator from 1789-96 and chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1796-1800.

  • Hale Hall is named for Nathan Hale (1755-76), an American patriot caught by the British and hanged as a spy. Born in Coventry, he graduated from Yale in 1773.

  • Putnam Refectory is named for Israel Putnam (1717-1790), a captain in the French and Indian War and major general under George Washington during the Revolution. It is Putnam who is supposed to have said at Bunker Hill "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes."

Mark J. R.

Source: unpublished manuscript, Evan Hill, 1981. Additional information about the history of the University can be found in the University Archives of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.