“Upon the ashes of the old dormitory buildings of the Maryland Agricultural College at College Park, destroyed by fire last year, has arisen a new, modern structure, fireproof, and equipped with every modern appliance known to the science of architecture and sanitation.” – The Washington Post, Aug 2, 1914

This new, modern structure is Calvert Hall, the oldest standing dormitory on campus, built in response to The Great Fire of 1912. On November 29, fire broke out interrupting a Thanksgiving dance. The College lost an admin building and housing for more than 200 students.

According to Lee Pennington, a sophomore in 1912, displaced students were sent to live in private homes in Berwyn, Riverdale, and Hyattsville. Pennington said when he wasn’t studying; his host would hold séances. She would “put her hands on [the dining room table] and try to get the table to lift. It wouldn’t lift while I was there, so I was finally kicked out due to the fact that I was a nonbeliever.”

In 1913, the College began building Calvert Hall, which is named after Charles Benedict Calvert, president of the College from 1859-1860. The building cost $100,000 to build and housed 110 students in single rooms. The dorm also had an admin wing and a wing for a YMCA.

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