The Goodrich Club was formed in 1932 to provide inexpensive lodging during the Depression. The club also provided an alternative to the fraternities, according to Keith Fennimore, former professor of English and member from 1935-1939, when he paid $25.00/year for room charges and $1.65/week for food. The club was named in honor of Dr. Frederic S. Goodrich, a member of the Albion College faculty for 55 years until his death in 1948, and primarily founded through the efforts of Professor N.J. Weiss.
The Club had parties, an off-campus semi-formal, a club song, an initiation ritual, and a pin. The Club also had a traditional mustache party in March, where they would “raise some type of growth…then we have judges and award prizes at the party.” (Weddon, Willah. “Goodrich House Saving Cash for Albion Students,” unknown publication, ca.1966)
The introduction to the original constitution of the Goodrich Club stated, “Goodrich Club is a cooperative organization designed to provide inexpensive living facilities for men attending Albion College. The central aim of the Club is to foster fellowship, promote scholarship, instill cooperation and uphold reverence for Christian ideals.” (“Weekend Marks Anniversaries for Two Campus Brotherhoods,” Pleiad, October 1957)
The first location of the Club was on Porter Street, where the Club had no central heating but a wood fired space heater and kitchen stove were installed. The furnishings were Spartan at best – each member brought his own mattress and bed. The members built their own long picnic-like table and benches for dining, and the table was covered with oil cloth.
A year later the Club moved to the Huron House annex, owned by the College and just east of the Roman Catholic Church. The Club acquired four or five dining room tables at this time and proper chairs and tablecloths. There was a bed sitting room and bathroom apartment that was occupied by a housemother. Member Rex Marting started a weekly newsletter which appeared on the upstairs bulletin board, entitled The Flush Bottom News. In 1942, the Club officially abolished its informal initiations and the use of paddles in an amendment passed to its constitution. The paddling was to be replaced by an educational program for the initiates in which they would learn the aims and ideals of the club, and current members would aid the initiate in his studying and generally assist in his adjustment to college life. (“Goodrich Club Ends Initiation Paddling,” Pleiad, March 1942) The Club stayed at the Huron House annex until the outbreak of World War II, when the Club was disbanded due to the drop in male enrollment.
In 1948, the Club reorganized, combined funds with that of the Fisk lodge (organized in 1936), and the location was moved to 606 E. Porter Street, the “house by the tracks”. (“Goodrich Club Men Obtain New House, Pleiad, May 1953) In 1953, the house moved to 402 E. Porter Street and became incorporated as a non-profit organization with a charter from the State of Michigan. In the early 1960s the Club was closed again when male enrollment dropped. The Club was closed once more in 1972, following a raid by drug enforcement officials that yielded marijuana plants that were being grown within the house. Twelve of the members were arrested, charged with “occupying a place where an illegal occupation was permitted, a misdemeanor; one was charged with “possession of marijuana with intent to deliver”, a felony. By 1983 the Club had lost many of its traditions, including the pin, song and ritual.
a. To promote social, physical, and intellectual development for members of this organization.
b. To provide well maintained, low cost living and boarding facilities for selected Albion College students.
“The Club compliments Albion College. As such the members of this organization shall conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the spirit and regulations of the College.”
In the 1980s, the Club sponsored The Art Cafe, a “loosely organized, open mike, entertainments and a good time to be had by all.” $1.00 admission was charged at the door. The money raised at these events was donated to charity. (Goodrich Club Inc. Annual Report 1984-85) It was also in the 1980s that the 50 year old electrical system and leaking roof began to take its toll on the members.
All photographs are from the Albion College Archives Photograph Files, unless otherwise noted.
Source: Albion College Archives, 2003 [Downloaded July 3, 2003]
Source: Isaac Kremer, January 2004.