JC student housing in 1912

JSSP Keith Norman Column Sig
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Jamestown College, now known as the University of Jamestown, was expecting a big year in 1912.

Officials anticipated that the student body would overflow the dorm space available at the college.

According to college publications from 1910, Sanford Dorm would accommodate about 60 girls.

“Each girl is provided with a single bed and the rooms are furnished with tables, chairs, dressing cases etc… to make them beautiful and comfortable,” according to the college bulletin.

The bulletin bragged less about the men’s dorm although the charge was the same at $5 per month including heat and electricity.


“Some beds are double in the boy’s dormitory,” the bulletin noted farther down the page.

Cafeteria meals were “as low as is consistent with wholesome and healthful living” and cost about $3 per week, according to the bulletin.

With the college anticipating more students than it had dorm space, the school's leadership started looking elsewhere.

On the front page of the Aug. 22, 1912, edition of The Jamestown Alert was a brief article asking local citizens to cooperate with the college.

President Barend Kroeze of the college asked Jamestown residents who were willing to take in a boarder for the school year to call his office.

And then he went a step further and asked if any local residents would also like to help those students out financially.

Those who would like to have girls to assist in the home for board and room, and young men to do odd jobs about the house or stores or offices were also urged to call.

Think of it as a work study program aimed at covering the cost of room and board off campus.


In the article, Kroeze noted that some of the students wouldn’t be able to attend college if those types of arrangements couldn’t be made.

There is no way to know how many Jamestown folks took in the student boarders or what type of chores they took on to earn their housing.

Another attraction for students may have been the city of Jamestown itself.

“Jamestown is noted as a city of culture,” said the Jamestown College Bulletin. “Beautiful buildings and homes, clean morally, with a citizenship proud of esthetic and physical beauty as evidenced by its numerous parks and drives. It is nearly 100 miles from the nearest saloon.”

Author Keith Norman can be reached at

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