After a brief decently-long hiatus, Ra Ra Brunonia is back and poised to drop some serious info about a quaint little spot known as FAVNCE HOVSE. While I may not take Latin, for me, Faunce House is associated with coffee chats, confusion over implied silence in the Leung Gallery, and overall great times. In winter, Faunce additionally serves as an oasis nestled within the frozen tundra that is the Main Green. Honestly, thank you Blue Room, thank you—you have saved more than a few fingers from the perils of frostbite.
Though most students at Brown are familiar with the ins and outs of the current Stephen Roberts (wait for it…) ’62 Campus Center, few recognize the long-standing history of the building and its progression over the 20th Century. Faunce House was originally erected in 1904 and named Rockefeller Hall after the $75,000 benefactor John D. Rockefeller, Sr. The building included a large reading area, a smoking room and trophy gallery on the first floor, and a 400-seat auditorium on the second floor. Additionally, there existed numerous administrative offices, a barbershop, and rooms filled with f’real products (one day, one day…).
In 1930, at the request of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. of both Rock Center and Rock City fame, Rockefeller Hall was renamed Faunce House after the late President William H.P. Faunce and was expanded to include a 350-seat theater, a cafeteria for 280 people, and several private dining rooms. Yes, the barbershop was still there. In the summer of 1939, the Blue Room was established on the first floor of the building. President Wriston called the installation of the Blue Room, “the boldest experiment I have ever seen.” Wriston’s exclamation was apparently a response to the addition of Shanghai to the Blue Room menu.
While the Blue Room maintained its traditional ambiance for around thirty years, in 1969, the central area was renovated to keep up with the chill vibes of the era. In classic ’60s fashion, the new Blue Room was affectionately known as the ‘Airport Lounge.’ There were some people who enjoyed it more than others. Over time, administrative offices were moved out of the building and the Blue Room itself shifted into the center of the building, only to be shifted back around 2010.
For Brunonians young and old, Faunce House is a reminder of many great memories of the college years. Whether it was getting a good ole’ haircut in the barbershop, spilling iced coffee on the entire stack of copies of the BDH, or again just trying to figure out if you can talk in the Leung Family Gallery, Faunce will always be the rock (not this Rock) of the Brown campus. Simply put: Faunce is the best #killingit #FAVNCE. Until next week, Ra Ra Brunonia!