Thursday Doors – WVU Surprise

Woodburn Hall
Woodburn Hall

When I was writing about my experience in English literature for last week’s SoCS challenge, I wanted to find a picture of Woodburn Hall, since that’s where I had several English classes. I haven’t been to West Virginia University since 2009, when I took our daughter on a whirlwind tour of some western Pennsylvania and West Virginia sights from my youth. Of course, I never expected to see much in the way of door photos, but I was pleasantly surprised by the photos I had.

In fairness to Norm, I have to warn you that some of the photos are more of entrances than doors. Norm, by the way, is the guy who runs the whole Thursday Doors enterprise. If you want to participate, or even if you just want to see a bunch of doors, scoot on up to Norm’s place. After checking out his doors, click on the blue froggy thing. That will lead you to the list of door aficionados and their collective catch of the week.

WVU is an urban university, spread across three campuses. To call it “urban” when I was a student was a bit of a stretch. Morgantown, WV had about 20,000-25,000 residents and WVU had about 20,000 students. Still, some pretty busy roads ran through the heart of the downtown campus where most of my classes were. The Evansdale Campus was home to Engineering, some dorms, the Coliseum and the Medical Center. That campus was about 2 miles away. You could drive, if you had a car and if you could find a parking space, (two pretty big ifs) or you could take the People Mover. Technically, that would be the Personal Rapid Transit system or PRT.

The PRT was built by Boeing and the US Government built the monorail style system in the 60’s when there were plans to have systems like this in every city in America. We had a test system like this near where I grew up, outside of Pittsburgh. Taxpayers killed the Pittsburgh plan. Boeing dropped out of the business but WVU has been maintaining the system on their own since it began moving people regularly in 1975. It was called “personal” because you summoned your own car, it showed up and you and any others who wanted to go, boarded the car and zipped along at about 30 mph (48.3 kph). Not exactly fast, but faster than afternoon traffic on University Avenue.

Map of the area where most of buildings in today's gallery are located.
Map of the area where most of buildings in today’s gallery are located.

The Downtown campus has several buildings that were important to me. Clark Hall, a.k.a. the chemistry building and Chemical Research library and labs was where I spent most of my time. Woodburn Hall is where they taught Language Arts, and, as you may remember, I took English, Scientific German and Poetry there. Woodburn Hall is the anchor building of Woodburn Circle which remains the historic center of WVU’s campus. The other buildings in Woodburn Circle are Martin Hall and Chitwood Hall. I took classes in Logic in Chitwood Hall because they were part of the School of Philosophy.

Across from Woodburn Circle is the Mountainlair – the student union. The Lair, as it was known had a large cafeteria, movie theater, bowling alley, pool tables and other places to gather and relax. There was also a student bar in the lower level, but that no longer seems to be listed. I learned to play Backgammon in the Lair. The person with the fewest points, bought the next pitcher when required (the score was reset with each pitcher).

You will notice in some of the photos in the gallery, that West Virginia is hill country. Walking was exercise and driving a “three-on-the-tree” standard transmission car was exciting, to say the least.

WVU has over 30,000 students now. The campus has been expanding in the Evansdale area and there’s even talk of expanding the PRT – if they can find the parts.

I’ve gone back to using a gallery. I like the fact that if I need to reuse the photos, I don’t have to rewrite the description. The buildings I didn’t describe here are described in the captions. You can click on any one of them to start a slide show that will include the captions. Note: there are extra photos today, for some other WVU Alumni .to enjoy

I’ll leave you with a funny story about the day we visited the Alumni Center. We had driven down on a Saturday, toured the campus and decided to check out the Alumni Center on our way back out of town. That building didn’t exist when I was a student.

We walked inside and proceeded to give ourselves a self-guided tour. In the center of a table near the entrance was a basket of river rocks and some silver Sharpies. The sign said something like “tell us about yourselves.” I took a rock and a Sharpie and told how I had come down from Connecticut and really enjoyed my visit. Next, we took the stairs up to the second level, but found most of the offices closed. A security guard met us, and informed us that the building was closed to the public for a wedding reception.

Later, as we were eating lunch, I realized that those river rocks were for the wedding party…oh well.

In some late-breaking news, per the arrangement between Norm and Cee, this post is also part of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week. You can head over to her page and find even more doors!


  1. Sometimes I am way back in the list of comments and sometimes I’m right ahead in the queue. Well, as always I loved Thursday Doors and I enjoyed the tour of the WVU. What are Sharpies? I searched it online and I found many permanent markers and pens. Is that right? So, if I guessed it right you thought it was from the university and wrote about your journey on a rock that was actually for a wedding party? :) I think and now I truly believe that the most amazing thing I love about America is the spaciousness. The vast university campuses, the distance between two houses, the wide and non-pothole roads. I have never seen a pothole on the road in any movies or documentaries. In India, it’s hard to find a road without potholes. In fact, here in Mumbai, we have a saying – The pothole is not on the road. The road is in the pothole.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I’ll start with a “thank you” and, you are correct, Sharpie is a popular brand of permanent marker. And, yes, I put a message to the Alumni Association on a rock for the wedding party. I sorta hope they didn’t figure it out :)

      But potholes? Oh my goodness we have tons of them, especially in the northeast where we endure the freeze-thaw cycles during the winter. I’ll make sure to get some pictures to prove that. Pittsburgh, where I grew up, is famous for potholes!

      WVU is a bit of a mix. The downtown campus, where I spent most of my time is a cramped city campus. The Evansdale campus has the spacious feel you describe.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful campus (and it must be glorious with the fall colors), Dan. I can see why you wanted to show it to your daughter. Since I’ve been repeatedly thwarted in the past 5 years, for getting back to the southwest, I’ve been trying to think of other places that might meet some of my preferences. This has surprisingly agreeable “City Data” — except for the snow. Good golly all that snow! Oh well… It was a lovely tour, so thank you. Mega hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Teagan. The snow is a “feature” that you have to cope with. The hills make that a bit more interesting. I found it a comfortable place to live as a student. It’s close enough to Pittsburgh (a little over an hour) to gain access to “city things” and it’s close enough to wilderness-like country to get lost.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, that’s a growing college! Nice doors and entrances, Dan. Isn’t it nice to go back to an old school and revisit memories? Just leave the rocks alone. I wonder if the wedding couple read your rock and…with a puzzled look…said, “Dan? Who’s Dan? Do we know a Dan?” Too funny!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did you see the caption for the coliseum? The best thing I saw in that building was when Gene Roddenberry talked about the story behind Star Trek and then they showed the 2-part episode where Spock wisked Captain Pike to the planet no one was allowed to go to. That episode had not yet aired on TV! It was so cool!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. County Monaghan, here in Ireland has some remarkable rolling hills with houses perched on top. Some blend nicely with the landscape, others not so well. We’ll be moving up that end of the country next year so I’ll get more opportunity to photograph and explore the landscape. :)

        Liked by 1 person

          1. They are quite similar to the name Monaghan, Dan. ‘The name Muineachán derives from a diminutive plural form of the Irish word muine meaning “brake” (a thickly overgrown area) or sometimes “hillock”‘ – where would we be without Wikipedia. ;)

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post. Nice campus. I wonder how many my school hosts now…It was also 20k when I went. I think I’ll look that up.
    So that Stewart Hall is spectacular, huh? Is that the bell tower? Cause that’s beautiful! A lot of the buildings are traditional still, and I like that.
    The cars DO look like animal cracker boxes, they do. We had shuttles. I think they still have shuttles. Sassy went a few years ago and they did.
    I had a little laugh about the “now Barnes & Noble” bit. IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue Universtity in Indianapolis) is the same, and who knows where else. It feels very .. impersonal and corporate when we join The Mister at the college bookstore. He told me something financial about Barnes & Noble the first time I brought it up, somethin about how profits were down and they invested in textbook sales and that has been good. I don’t remember all the words and numbers, but I got the gist of it.
    Okay, and that river rock story is hahaha, oh my, hahaha! :D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad you enjoyed this, Joey. I don’t know if that was a bell tower. It’s a good guess. I don’t recall ever hearing a bell. The building was beautiful on the inside as well, but it reminded me of having been sent to the principal. I was surprised to see how much the college has grown. I absolutely enjoyed going to school there, and it’s fun being an alumni – river rocks not withstanding.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I follow Ball State on FB, so I am never surprised at how it’s grown. I haven’t been there in about 12 years though. Sassy plans to go, so I’m assuming I’ll go with her on a tour at some point.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Some wonderful building on this campus. My faves: Stewart Hall because of the (bell?) tower, and Olgelbay because of those columns.
    Nicely done Dan, and thanks as always for the extra shout-outs each week :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Norm. Those two buildings were the outliers on that part of campus. You never know what people were thinking when they built things. I don’t think the young school had an official master plan, until they figured out the nature of growth in enrollment. Like most colleges, after WWII and the baby boom, they started building more plain-box buildings. The Evansdale campus is nice, but not nearly as pretty.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. WVU – BS Chemistry. Then I went to University of Pittsburgh for MBA. I was going to work in forensic chemistry, which was a fairly new field, so I took a lot of computer science, criminology and psychology. Thanks

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I knew more about the history, Deborah. Thanks Deborah. The downtown campus buildings are very pretty. Woodburn hall was built out over time. The photo today is close to what the original building would have been. Then they added east and west wings.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Some very nice buildings, entrances, windows, and doors. I’m laughing about your telling the bride and groom a little about yourself! Every wedding needs at least one crisis or oddity. You provided a nice one!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dan, loved the mixture of old stately brick buildings and new square box ones. A lot of good memories there! Forensic chemistry? I was interested in Forensics in Nursing, but did not go further. Funny about the wedding rock..”The Dan One,” a big mystery to the couple! Happy Thursday! 💛 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Christine. There are s lot of good memories there. I’m guessing the rock got tossed back into a river somewhere. Or maybe they’re still trying to figure out why Dan left before toasting the happy couple. Have s great weekend, Christine.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Scientific German and Poetry caught my attention and triggered a smile or two as I imagined all sorts of odd things about it. I also enjoyed seeing you in a shot. :-) BTW, entrances count and Norm’s quite liberal in how we interpret “doors.”


    Liked by 1 person

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed Woodburn Hall, especially the way the gray roof’s slope and the windows are tucked into this, Dan.
    I loved the diagrams of the area where the buildings displayed are located. The rapid transit system at 30 mph made me smile. My Mom said from her town of Middletown, Ohio down to Univ of Cincy she rode on a “trolley.” I wonder where this would be in the spectrum of transportation from town to town?
    When I was in middle school, we would take a bus to the Cleveland international airport, catch a rapid transit which would take us to the Terminal Tower downtown. $1 for the transit, 50 cents for the student rate on the bus.
    Sometime or other, I may have mentioned my last husband graduated from WVU, as well as joining the Air Force. Felicia and he took off to tour the campus and it overwhelmed her! I love the state of West Virginia and have been to New River gorge and the Hawk’s Nest overlook during the height of fall foliage season. He grew up in Greenbrier County and the town was Rainelle. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I commuted to Junior High via public transportation. $0.25 each way. My folks would give me the bus fare, and I could keep it if I walked. Maybe they were promoting exercise.

      If you mentioned the WVU connection, I forgot, sorry. I know/knew there were some folks in the community who had a WVU connection, which is why I went a little overboard on photos. It is a beautiful state. Thanks, as always for your support, Robin. I like learning about the ways we’re all connected, even if I forget :)


  10. That’s a nice looking campus! I could see what you meant about hilly from the photo of Olgeball Hall with the building behind it on another plateau.
    Your comment about ‘three on the tree’ brought me back to my youth and driving a standard. I lived in fear of underground parking lots and intersections at the top of a hill. What an inconsiderate place to put an intersection!! ;)


    1. Thanks Joanne. The intersections on hills were always a problem for me, especially when the guy behind would get too close. The hills also add interesting visual elements, though. Our apartment was street level in the front, but on the 3rd floor in the back. Between the hills and the streets running through it, going from building to building always took longer than it seemed it should.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi dan…
    I visited this campus in 91
    Absolutely gorgeous in the mountains like that (or hill country as u said)
    And bah!
    The wedding party is still looking for the folks from CT-
    And liked the doors and entrances – ☀️

    Liked by 1 person

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