Thursday, June 26, 2014

University of Chicago: Cobb Lecture Hall

#60 Published by Franklin Post Card Co., Chicago, Ill.

When I first acquired this postcard, I incorrectly identified it as Burton Judson Courts, where I lived my first year as an undergraduate. Looking at photos of BJ, I realized the turrets and towers were all wrong, and it took me three more guesses before I matched the postcard on this building with Cobb Hall. (Here is where George makes fun of my powers of observation.)

Cobb Hall was the first building completed when the school opened in 1892, and it was named after a donor, Silas Cobb. Henry Ives Cobb, no relation to Silas, designed the lecture hall. Of the sixteen original campus buildings, Cobb Hall was most expensive.

Cobb Hall and Dormitories / University of Chicago Photographic Archive, [apf digital item number, e.g., apf12345], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library. 
Many, many, many of my classes were held in Cobb Hall, and I have good memories of a litany of classes for my major, a sense of neutrality about Form, Problem, and Event (especially my Quarter 2 professor), and absolute nightmares regarding anything associated with the French sequence I unadvisedly selected. The English Department had a small auditorium and film library, on the third floor, I believe, and I was there several Thursday nights to watch movies for class in addition to the film classes that were held there.

My favorite location, though, was the Cobb Coffee Shop in the basement. Surprisingly, I do not have one photograph taken there, but the 2008 article, "Caffeine Culture: The Best Coffee Shops and Cafes at the University of Chicago" features one, and everything is exactly as I remember it except the walls weren't green back in the 1990s. I spent time there alone reading and studying or making a trip quick from the Press, but treasure all the talks Anna and I had over donuts and cokes.

In the post "The Opera House Is So Grand," I share a very similar but not quite exact image of Cobb appears on a postcard published by S.M. Knox & Co. written to an address in Iowa, but never sent thought the mail. Both were printed in Germany. I wonder if there were stock photography services then!

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