The Husky Lounge
and 75 years of

Socializing at Bloomsburg University


Robert Dunkelberger
Bloomsburg University Archivist

A chess tournament in the Husky Lounge, 1963.

        It has been over 30 years since the demolition of the Husky Lounge, the first true recreational and social area for students on the Bloomsburg University campus, and a very fond memory for the students who were here during the fourteen years the lounge was in its prime. It was located on the current site of the Kehr Union and attached to the Waller Hall dormitory, now the site of Lycoming Hall.

        Waller Hall was built in 1876, replacing the first campus dormitory destroyed by fire the year before. Waller would eventually contain the first social areas for Bloomsburg students when extensive remodeling in the mid-1920s placed a lobby at the main entrance and lounge areas on each of the upper floors. These contained comfortable chairs, sofas, and writing desks, as well as large wall tapestries in the lobby. It was intended as a place where students could relax, meet friends, and visit with their families. The lobby became the favorite meeting place on campus.

The new lobby in Waller Hall, 1928.

        The opening of Centennial Gymnasium in 1942 meant that the old gym, built in 1894 on the north side of an addition to Waller Hall, could now also be used for recreation and social activities. During World War II it served as a lounge area for the cadets that were here for naval training as well as the college's students.

        After the war the gym began to be renovated and became known as the Waller Lounge. In the summer of 1947 the ceiling was lowered, paneling placed on the walls, and the entire room repainted and decorated. The bleachers on the east side were removed and replaced with an elevated lounge. There was also a canteen that sold popsicles, candy bars, ice cream, soda, and potato chips. The lounge became a convenient spot for relaxation between classes and after class.

Decorated with banners for CGA President, 1949. 

The exterior of the Waller Lounge, 1955.

        The Waller Lounge included an area for table tennis and was used for dances, but still had the look of a gym with bleachers and a wooden floor. The second phase of its transformation in 1953 put in a cement floor covered with tile and added a fireplace at the north end with an adjacent lounge area.

        The final renovations completed by the end of 1955 replaced the west bleachers with an elevated mezzanine for the College Store, provided a new entrance to the lounge from Waller Hall, and added a snack bar to the left of the entrance. The center of the room was furnished with booths as well as tables while the elevated lounge on the east side boasted a 35-inch television.

        After the completion of all renovation work President Harvey A. Andruss declared the area the Husky Lounge when it opened in January of 1956. The students greeted it with great enthusiasm, especially the food made available by the new snack bar. One student was even quoted as saying, "Three cheers for the Husky Snack Bar!" The lounge was developed by the students for the use and convenience of members of the college community, and they came to it often for light lunches, refreshments, and just to take a break during the day and meet with friends. It also served as the site for events such as dances and chess tournaments.


        Ken Wilson, former faculty member in the Art Department, remembers being one of the faculty in the mid-1960s who came to dances to chaperone for an hour or so in the evening. He would sit in the elevated lounge drinking coffee and watching the students dance, who never seemed to mind him being there.

A line of students at the snack bar, 1967.

        The Husky Lounge became so popular that by 1964 it was decided to make the entire area suitable for socializing. That summer the College Store moved out, and by November a whole line-up of vending machines were in its place to satisfy the hungry clientele. It was hoped this would help to alleviate the traffic jams at the snack bar caused by an ever greater number of students. The machines were stocked with hot and cold beverages and sandwiches, soup, pastries, ice cream, and candy. A jukebox was also available to provide background music from the latest hits and bring in an extra few hundred dollars a year in income.

        One reason for the Husky Lounge's great appeal was that the food at the snack bar was not very expensive. Hamburgers, hotdogs, and sandwiches were priced at 20-40 cents, with soda, juice, coffee, and tea 10-20 cents and ice cream for 15 cents. A semi-nutritious meal could be had for only 50 cents. Sales at the lounge rose steadily as the years went on, from $65,000 in 1961-62 to a high of $95,000 in 1966-67. The profits funded a number of student expenses, including scholarships.

        The fall of 1967 saw no reduction in the popularity or crowded conditions of the Husky Lounge. One writer for the student newspaper the Maroon & Gold remarked that the lounge, liked as it was, had all the peace and tranquility of Times Square on New Years Eve. A second writer said that anyone who could make it through the crowd at the snack bar, get waited on, find a spot to eat somewhere, and still be in one piece deserved a medal for Bravery and Endurance. The lounge was noisy and jammed with people most of the time, but it was intended for the students' pleasure and was the central meeting place on campus for many social activities.

The always busy Husky Lounge, 1964.

        By 1970 though the enrollment at Bloomsburg had increased over 400% from the 1956 total to more than 4300 students, and it had long been recognized that more room was needed and the Husky Lounge was no longer adequate. The completion of the William W. Scranton Commons in March, 1970 allowed the old commons building to be remodeled to house the new lounge area, with twice the available space of the old one. This temporary student union was divided into a snack bar, multi-purpose area, television and games lounge, and an area for billiards and table tennis.

        The old gym, the former Husky Lounge, was torn down in July of 1971 and the Kehr Union built in its place. This 50,000 square foot facility included a snack bar and dining area, game room, formal lounge, and television and listening rooms. The Union became the new student center and social area for all members of the college community when it opened in October of 1973.

The end of the Husky Lounge, 1971.

        In 1993 the Union was rededicated after lengthy construction that greatly enlarged it to include among other things a ballroom, health center, more lounge space, and a new snack bar. The Kehr Union continues to serve in the same manner the Husky Lounge first did 45 years ago in providing a facility that serves as the focus of campus activity and as a place that gives students the opportunity to relax and enjoy their college life away from the classroom. The Husky Lounge may be gone but its spirit lives on.


Histories of Bloomsburg University

University Archives Home Page

Updated 9/27/02