Remembering Quadrangle Hall

Quad Hall Photo

This summer we say goodbye to one of the oldest residence halls on campus, Quadrangle (Quad). From 1919 to 2016 Quad has served as home to many on the University of Iowa campus. It's hallways, rooms and community spaces house the memories of not only students, but army veterans and naval pre-flight cadets. Join us in celebrating the rich history of Quad as we prepare to raze the building and commemorate all it had to offer. 

Purchase a Commemorative Brick

Quadrangle Brick

Secure a timeless piece of University of Iowa history by purchasing an authentic Quad brick. Whether you lived in Quadrangle Hall, ate strawberry pie "back in the day" at Quad Cafeteria, or just love to hear stories about Quad, a brick is a special way to keep those memories alive. A limited number of these authentic bricks will be available for purchase. Each brick will include a signed certificate of authenticity, a gold plaque engraved with an image of Quad Hall, along with the verbiage "Quadrangle Residence Hall, 1920-2016, The University of Iowa". 

Proceeds from the sale of Quad bricks will support scholarships for UI students living in the residence halls.

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A Brief History of Quadrangle Hall

Quadrangle was completed in 1919 at the cost of $253,282.70, but its original intent was not to be a dormitory.  Due to World War I, in 1918, over 1,000 members of the Student Army Training Corps were stationed on campus, and the War Department asked the University to build temporary barracks for these men.  The university agreed with the idea, but with the hope of a permanent structure that could later be used as a men’s dormitory after the war.  During the 1920s Quadrangle was the largest dormitory in the country, and was a very attractive building, with its vine-encrusted brick towers and center courtyard (complemented in the summer and fall with a bright array of flowers).

Quadrangle was not just a place for men to sleep and eat—it also provided its residents with a short-order grill, barber shop, library, lounge room, post office, and later music and darkrooms.  The War Department repossessed Quadrangle during World War II, housing part of the naval pre-flight cadets from 1942-45.  The pre-flight programs lasted approximately two weeks, with over 10,000 “graduates” between 1942 and 1944.  One of its most famous residents is probably Nile Kinnick, who lived there while stationed in Iowa City.  According to Wikipedia, the first American to orbit the Earth—John Glenn—also lived in Quad when stationed with the pre-flight cadets in Iowa City.  In 1963, the West section of the building was completely remodeled.  By 1976, because many rooms in the East section stood vacant for a number of years due to low student demand and oversupply of dormitory housing space, the decision was made to demolish that half.

Quadrangle hasn’t undergone many changes since 1976.  The main lounge was remodeled in 1981 and named after former Residence Services Director Theodore M. Rehder.  In 1999, the Quadrangle Public Cafeteria closed and, for those who might remember, the beloved Strawberry Pie served there disappeared.  In 2000, the Quadrangle Dining Room was closed and the newly remodeled Hillcrest Market Place began feeding all students on the West side.  Today, rich in history, Quadrangle still remains one of the grand old buildings of the West campus.  With demolition and some other reconfigurations within the building, it is almost back to its original 1920 occupancy, with 350 students living there. Although Quadrangle hasn’t been an actual quad-shaped facility for almost 40 years, its now-open courtyard is still a beautiful Iowa green space and attracts students to relax, recreate, and study.  Its ivied walls, its courtyard, its towers, and its gates will be missed, but nothing can ever demolish the history that Quad has lived through and experienced!

For more information on Quadrangle Hall visit the Iowa Now. 

Share A Memory

Did you live in Quadrangle Hall or have a special memory you would like to share? Email us your story at We will be sharing stories periodically on social media, our website and at various events. 

Stories of the Past

I was in the band and I remember going to Quad every Saturday morning there was a football game after morning rehearsal. We would walk through the Hospital and the over to Quad for breakfast. We had to write on charge slips which Dining room we were assigned to (Burge 4) And yes I had there famous pecan rolls! - Jeneane Stepan

Several of my friends and i lived in the Quad in1950.  I lived on the first floor and my friends lived in one of the towers.  Of course there were no private bathrooms but we managed to survive this handicap.  There was always something going on either in the halls, the lounge or the dining area.  We had no complaints! - Grant Thomas

I lived in the a second floor tower room in 1993-94.  It was huge, a triple that was changed to a double.  We had room for a fold-out couch and to play Nerf basketball against one wall.  I had the window that led to the fire escape over my bed.  This was frequently used for access to the roof for early spring sunbathing in very chilly weather. The hallway hosted golfing and great Frisbee games when the weather was poor.  The dents in all the doors and radiator covers were not all my doing and we did yell ‘fore’ prior to hitting excessively hard putts. I loved Quad and years later met another former resident who has been my wife for 24 yrs. - David J. Waight, BSE 1987, MD 1991

I was President of the Quadrangle Association 1961 - 1962 and got Radio Station KWAD back on the air. Note: the station relied on using the electrical system within the building and so could not be received more than 20 or 30 feet from the building. - Sam Sibley, BA 1963, MS 1865

One thing I remember most about living in the dorms at the quad, is how small the halls were and how close students were to each other in each section. I had many friends from my floor, but compared to other dorms I stay that on the east side, I basically didn't know many at all with how big they are, and the number of students they housed. Plus with how open the quad yard was compared to other dorms and how small area there is around them, there was so much more activities to do. - Steve Fred, Class of 2006

I lived on the 3rd floor of the Quad from 1998-2000 in the biggest most coveted single room on campus.  I think I have pictures of installing a ceiling fan and bird feeder.  That was the best room! I’ll miss the Quad. - David M. Hersch, MBA

I lived in Quad my Freshman year at Iowa and loved it there. One unforgettable memory happened in the Spring of 1974. A short, but very hard, rain left the courtyard temporarily flooded. Students quickly took advantage of the afternoon flood and donned shorts to wade in the water.  It turned into a good-natured mud fight. I remember the R.A.'s greeted us as we entered the building making a bee-line for the showers. They tried to be mad but were just too amused to be. - Paula Catterall, 77 BBA

I lived on the 11th floor of Rienow hall during my freshman year. I looked out on what was 3/4 of the original Quadrangle (the northeast portion had been recently demolished). Nice days invited a little bit of frisbee time in the yard of the Quad. - Peter A. Eklund, DMA

I met some of my best college friends living in that dorm. We were residents the 2003-2004 school year.  We deemed ourselves the “Quaddie Hotties” and had a blast our freshman year of college thanks to the friendships we found within the Quad Walls…I was honestly thinking of transferring to a school closer to home after the first month of college – I was too quiet and didn’t make a ton of friends quickly. Then  the girls, in rooms close to mine, started hanging out a lot; they became my at-college-family. What we learned from each other went beyond the classroom – we embraced the already tired Quadrangle building and took pride in our residence hall – especially when the new-Hillcrest-building kids poked fun at it. I attribute a lot of my amazing college experience to the Quadrangle building and the relationships and lessons I learned within the wall. - Heather (Drake) Larsen – class of 2007

I lived in Quad from 94-96 and remember painting the hallway walls on the second floor. When we moved in, the walls were painted to look like bricks, and were sadly outdated. The hallways were dark and narrow to begin with, so painting fake bricks in dark red along both sides wasn’t the greatest choice. So there was a project to paint the walls in our wing, and we could all paint a section if we wanted to. My roommate and I painted some Calvin and Hobbes comic strips and some characters from Disney’s Lion King (don’t laugh – Disney was a big deal in the mid-90s!)  It might have been cheesy, but it definitely brightened up the place! - Jenny Wilson

As a sophomore in 1999 my track and field teammates occupied a good portion of the lower level of Quad.  The day before school started that fall a few of my teammates and I went over to the women's side of Quad to "say hello" and introduce ourselves to our fellow female residents. The very first room we came to, the door was open and we all came in to talk with the two pretty girls inside.  I started a conversation with one of the two coeds and found out she spent the previous summer in my hometown of Denver, CO.  One of my teammates actually snapped a picture of the very moment we met that day.  She grew up in Dubuque but loved Colorado when she went to visit her sister who had moved to Denver several years before that. She was excited to hear that I grew up in Denver.   It would be two more years before we would start dating (bumping into each other in Denver after she moved there).  Nonetheless, that awesome residence hall is the very reason why I met and eventually married the love of my life.  It will be 22 years of marriage on June 18th (we were married at Danforth Chapel in 1994).  Very fond memories of that place! - Kevin Herd & Tara (Sandberg) Herd