Goodrich Hall (1865-1902)

Bowling alleys were available on campus to Williams students during the spring term of 1865. Finished with all the “comforts and conveniences required”, the alleys were in a basement room (16 ‘x 96’) of the first Goodrich Hall situated on the west side of Griffin. The building, elegant “early English style”, cost approximately $30,000 and on the second floor housed the “best facilities for Gymnastic Exercise and Training” according to the 1866/7 college catalog. In the “Hall” story, within the spacious edifice, there were all the “appliances for gymnastic and military drill” and the room would be used for Alumni dinners given at Commencement. The entire Chemistry department with classrooms/labs and offices occupied another floor. The building’s donor, John Z.Goodrich of Stockbridge also supplied an additional $25,000 to fund a professorship of Physical Culture.

Even though construction of this building proceeded slowly, according to publications of the time, it was done poorly and the building eventually became unsafe to use. The Board of Trustees voted in 1902 to take it down and use the old Alumni Hall/Chapel across the Main Street for recitation rooms and religious services. Thompson Memorial Chapel would be built on the vacated site in 1905. Lasell Gymnasium had been built in 1886 to supply the needs of the students and athletic clubs. The Goodrich name was also transferred to the building across the street in 1905, in appreciation of the donor’s interest in and generosity to the college.