The Archivist’s Nook: Trashing the Trailers – A Short Genealogy of a Space

trailer being removed
Trailing into the sunset. Perhaps not as (un)dramatic as it looks, however: The trailers were gutted and many of the furnishings were donated to Community Forklift for discount resale and to other charitable organizations serving homeless veterans.

University archivists save university stuff.  Our mission entails preserving university-related historical materials that enable us to make observations about our school across time.  This includes the physical space of CUA.  The Archives holds files and blueprints detailing the history of most every building of the University, and even some that no longer exist.

Which brings me to the recent trashing of the trailers.  Back in the 1990s, twenty-six trailers were placed on Curley Court to house an overflow of students—this was before the grand Opus Hall was built to accommodate the incoming numbers.  This past March, however, it was time to remove those trailers, and especially for those of us here on the upper campus who pass by the units daily, it was something of an event.

postcard
Ye Olde Athletic Field, 1920ish. Not much to look at, maybe, but the University’s first undergrads used the heck out the field pictured on the left in this CUA postcard.

This got me thinking.  A story came to mind, one relayed in a wonderful little book by CUA’s first undergraduate, a gentleman named Frank Kuntz (’07, as in 1907), aptly titled “Undergraduate Days, 1904-1908”.  Frank and his buddies, like many young American boys, enjoyed baseball immensely.  They played just about every day (after studies were over, of course) out in in the quad area next to the Shrine, when it was an open field.  But the fellows wanted a real athletic field, so that they could set up a diamond, with bases, to make the whole thing more official, and well, more fun.  So they went to the Rector at the time, Father Denis O’Connell, who promptly told them, nope, you guys should be studying, not playing ball.  Well, Kuntz and his friends took their case to the faculty, who then took the case to the Archbishop of Baltimore and the Chancellor of the University, Cardinal James Gibbons, who decided that the boys should have their field.  Hence the University’s first athletic field was built.

Green2015
Home, home on the green, where the CUA athletes once played. Over in Aquinas Hall we eagerly await the removal of the fences and the return to greenspace!

So those trailers were set where the old athletic field resided, and were removed just shy of a century later.  And now…

 

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