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Farewell, Oliver Hall

Reflections on life at 1815 Naismith Drive

BY MEGAN HIRT
Oliver Hall in spring 1967, during its inaugural school year. Photo courtesy of Spencer Research Library

A first nest on the Hill for thousands of Jayhawks, Oliver Hall opened in fall 1966 and housed its last occupants in spring 2019. A 1965 KU news release stated the forthcoming nine-story residence hall had a price tag of $3 million and would accommodate up to 680 students.

To an outsider, Oliver’s most obvious appeal was perhaps its proximity to Allen Field House, which, before the arrival of Downs Hall in 2017, was unrivaled among residence halls. But for those who knew it from the inside, what truly made Oliver—what makes any residence hall—beloved was the trove of youthful memories it embodied. Although parts of the Oliver experience could be guaranteed (a 13-by-9½-foot room, the dining hall, early-morning fire alarms), the magic was in the people we met and the bonds that formed thanks entirely to chance—because Oliver happened to bring us together.

Here’s to your memory, Oliver, and to all those you gave to us.

Oliver Hall during its construction. Photo courtesy of Spencer Research Library
Photo courtesy of Spencer Research Library
Photo courtesy of Spencer Research Library
June 27, 2022, at the start of demolition. Photo by Dan Storey
Oliver Hall on July 7, 2022. By August’s end, the residence hall—named for KU’s first chancellor, R.W. Oliver—was no more. Photo by Dan Storey
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