Webster Hall, 1950

THE WAY IT WAS


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1950

 

 

Many former Wayne State University students fondly recall Mackenzie (formerly Webster) Hall, a campus landmark on the southeast corner of Cass and Putnam. Here, students hurry to and from classes in the bustling area. The structure opened in early 1925 as an 800-room luxury men’s residence called Hotel Webster Hall, named after Judge Clyde I. Webster. Vintage postcards reveal that the 12-story edifice featured a large coffee shop seating 400, a writing room, and reception space. In addition to sculptural flourishes by Corrado Parducci, the lavish pool in the basement with colorful tiles adorned with mermaids and fish was another bragging point. During the playing season in the 1930s, the Detroit Lions team lived at Webster Hall. In 1946, Wayne University (it didn’t become a state university until 1956) bought the building and used it as a dormitory and student center. Later, Webster Hall — which was renamed Mackenzie Hall in 1961, after the school’s founder, David Mackenzie — housed faculty offices. Even after a new student center opened in 1969, students and faculty packed Mackenzie Hall’s cafeteria. The grand old building was imploded on a Sunday morning in 1991, making way for a not-so-grand parking structure.


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