Today’s throwback Thursday post takes us back to freshman year and the dorm experience. Both of these images were taken at Nathaniel Rochester hall, but not the same NRH. The before image is of a dorm in the original NRH at the downtown campus. The after image is a recently taken photo in one of our current student dorms inside NRH. As you can see, through the years the one thing that stays consistent is the messy room of a college student.
The original NRH was located on 95 Main Street across from the main campus at the time and was originally a hotel, but was purchased by the Mechanics Institute as place for non-local students to live. NRH didn’t open until 1957, just 11 years before the campus’ move to Henrietta. The building was first called Hotel Rochester but was later renamed after one of the Mechanics Institute’s founding members, Nathaniel Rochester, for what would have been his 207th birthday. The building was eight stories tall and housed 483 students. There were no quads in the building, only singles and doubles. The original NRH only housed men as, at the time, the large majority of college students, especially those getting trained for industrial work by the Mechanics Institute, were male.
The move to new NRH and other dorms vastly improved the standard of living for RIT students. The new building was approximately the same size as the old one; both were eight stories tall, but the new building was slightly larger. Originally administrators decided to use some of this extra space in the new building to create the student lounges where students could interact and be social without invading others’ personal space. Being one of the campus’ first dorms, NRH is home to the dorm side post office. Later NRH became home to the Corner Store as it moved from its original spot in Sol Huemann Hall, where Sol’s Underground is today. As time passed and RIT’s programs diversified, they started adding specialty floors so that students of similar interest could live together, celebrating their passion. Currently NRH is home to Engineering House, Photo House and Computer Science House, which remain some of the most sought after housing options for freshman.