When the college went big time

Editor’s note: This is a series of columns by John Malcolm on his “50 years at Fredonia.” Retired, he is a professor emeritus at Fredonia State.

Connected to Reed by a long tunnel (with Racoon tracks laid during construction) is Maytum Hall. The late Robert Maytum Sr. commented on his surprise on hearing that his father would be so honored. (Arthur Maytum was the founder of the local phone company and served on the College Council.)

Maytum was dubbed “The Tower of Power” by some wit and there is some justification for that, even with the president’s office in Fenton.

Maytum is built on the site of the outdoor biology pond and winter skating rink. It is certainly photogenic and really identifies the college. My interest in Maytum was its use as a site for our cable and FM antennas. Previously, I pointed out that the ninth floor office now occupied by the academic vice president was supposed to be for the president. When J. Carter Rowland occupied the office, he was often amused by someone exiting though the wrong door and into a closet.

If you look at the original design of Maytum you will see that Maytum was to be raised up so one could walk under it. I suppose this was removed, along with the glass-covered entrances for economy.

While I spent many hours in the conference rooms of Maytum, I really had little association with it.

As to the remaining buildings on campus, I can lament the loss of community that we had when we were small and only in two buildings.

I do remember looking out of my office in Fenton when they were building Houghton Hall. It was a company from West Babylon, Long Island, and I don’t think they had ever done construction in the kind of weather Fredonia could have. It was the middle of winter when they poured the 20-foot columns that would support the building. When the forms were removed, they found that the concrete had not gone all the way to the bottom and the results were concrete “Popsicles” supported by the reinforcing bars. Apparently the company went bankrupt.

John Malcolm is a Fredonia resident.