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A Tour of the Hovse
- Dining room
- Upper P
- Hovse O' da Munth Club
- Hovse Banzai
- Slasher Hovse
View 2, &
View 3 (2001)
Mr. Robert Roe Blacker and
Mrs. Nellie Canfield Blacker.
The portrait of Mr. Blacker was painted by Seymour Thomas
shortly before his death. The date and artist for the portrait of
Mrs. Blacker are currently unknown.
Currently located high on the east wall.
- Holes: The holes at about 10 feet off the floor that make a
complete perimeter of the lounge are from the Carnival party held in
Spring 1991 (which was a 7 house party that replaced Interhovse that year--Interhouse was banned by the Caltech Administration following the
1989 event). These holes are for lag bolts. Wire was strung across
the lounge from the lag bolts so that the ceiling could be lowered.
They were covered over the summer of 1999. Eyebolts were added near
ceiling during the 2006 renovations.
- Beer bottles above the
These are from the senior tradition of 200, 100 and 50 days. The
last batch were from the class of 1997. Every few years someone
in the Hovse decides to throw them out. The last batch were removed
3rd term 1998. In theory they are supposed to remain there until
there is no room for the next set, then the most current bottles are
to be kept. As of 2007 there are none.
Above the fireplace on the west wall. White "Gamma
Delta Beta Gamma" on a black field.
Created by Benjamin Smith when president and sewed by Adele Shakal
during rotation 1993.
It was hung above the fire for the end of
rotation "see the frosh ask if they are in Blacker" fray. Since
the Hovse wanted to keep it, it was never reclaimed by Ben. A few
years later the Fleming frosh stole the flag in an apparent RF attempt.
Blacker was apethetic and the Flems returned the flag. Since this time
the flag has been stolen and replaced with a new flag at least 3 times.
- Three heads of Cerebus,
mounted This is left over from the
Cerebus build for Inferno Interhovse in 1999. The kegs were inside
Cerebus (aka Cerbeerus), with a tap coming out of two of the heads
and the third holding cups. The severed had was mounted on a plaque
and hung on the North wall of the lounge in January 2000.
South West corner.
All mail used to be delivered and picked up here twice day. The
first person in the lounge after delivery would sort the mail into
pigeon holes. This was well liked. And the fireplace was convenient
for burning junk mail. This was also good for noticing which frosh
has received food from home. During finals, the mail was sorted by
first name instead of last name.
Apparently there were problems in the North houses with missing mail.
So during spring 1990 the administration (primarily the MOSH) kept
asking the IHC "Do you want locked mailboxes?" The answer was always
"No." This went on for a number of weeks. Eventually the question
turned into "Where shall we put the mail boxes?" They were installed
between Page and Lloyd during the summer of 1990.
There was a resistance movement to bring back mail to the lounge, but
that died when midterms hit 1st term 1990 and people ran out of time.
The mailboxes sit, mostly unused, filling with junk.
- Lounge Clock
On or near the stroke of midnight at the beginning of the 80's (0000h
1 Jan 1980, and unknown member of the Hovse put a clock in the lounge
above the mailboxes
that ran counter-clockwise. The face of the clock was renumbered so
that you could read the time. Hence the term "Blackerwise" arose.
The clock in the lounge was considered to be the official Blacker time
and adjusted accordingly. This clock worked for years. In summer of
1996 the clock was stolen. The clock was replaced during 1997-1998,
but tragically it did not run Blackerwise. A
new clock runnig Blackerwise appeared Nov 1999.
- Wooden Floor Patch in front of fireplace: For decades
Blacker had an indestructible set of furniture (that was replaced
in 1996 or so). 3 or so chairs, 2 couches, an Ottoman and a footrest.
Many of these items are still in the lounge, are are the sacrificial
items of furnature left near the fire in an attempt to keep the new
ones in good shape.
Sometime in the mid 80s, someone in the Hovse had moved the couch next
to the fire for a nap in front of the warm fire. At some point this
person wandered off. Later one of the frosh in Hell smelled smoke. He
found one of the couches on fire. The room was filled with smoke
and the floor was on fire. The fire was put out, the couch thrown out
and the floor patched. The disturbing bit was that the heat detector in
the lounge never went off.
- Dragon -- Griffen:
Used to be hanging in the middle of the
lounge. For the fall 1989 Interhovse Max Baumart (fr: 1987, grad 1991)
built a plywood dragon. It was about 5 feet long. The wings
were bungeed so that their equilibrium position was perpendicular to
the body. If you perturbed the wings from equilibrium, they would
flap until the perturbation energy had dissipated. The dragon was
painted black. The tail looped around and exited under the dragon--
ironically making the dragon seemingly anatomically correct. The
dragon lived in the lounge until Max graduated. Max took the dragon
For Ditch Day 1994, Sarah Yoder made a slightly smaller, black painted
Griffin (though with fixed wings). As of Summer 1997, the Griffin
was hanging from the Olive Tree in the courtyard. The Griffin was
later removed. It was definitely gone by 2005.
- HyperSpace entrance: There exists an entrance to hyperspace
above the lounge. Go to the South-West corner of the lounge. The
2nd panel from the corner pushes in. Crawl in and start climbing.
- TV in the lounge: Notice that there isn't one. This is a good
thing. All other Houses, except Blacker have on campus House TVs.
Traditionally Blacker has been proud of not having a Hovse TV.
With the exception of Movie weekend, the only time that people have
watched TV in the lounge was in January 1991 when Iraq started
bombing Israel with Scuds. That night waited dinner was canceled
and we watched TV. Many people discussed the possibility of getting
drafted. Out of this came the Blacker DefCon system concerning
TV in the lounge:
Defcon 5: There are no threats of TVs anywhere near the Lounge
Defcon 4: People are discussing bringing a TV to the Lounge
Defcon 3: An unplugged TV is in the Lounge
Defcon 2: There is a TV plugged in the Lounge, but not turned on
Defcon 1: There is a TV in the Lounge and people are watching it
- Pool/Sweat table:
Sometime before fall 1984 Blacker aquired a pool table
from the Y. Nathan Inada (fr: 1982) was one of the ones who helped
carry it back to Blacker. Pool was played, but the
table was located on the North side of the lounge. Too many balls
would break the windows, so it was relocated to the south side of
the Lounge. For a term in 1988-89 (I think) Mark Huie
lived under the pool/sweat table. At some point, before 1988 the cues
were burned and most of the balls lost. Enter the game of
Sweat. This was played a lot. There was even a tournament at
one point in 1990-1991. As with everything, the pool table started
to show it's age. The felt was torn and duct taped down. The slate
was cracked and chipped. And the pockets were in sad shape. Then
at the 1991 Christmas Party a card was found in the tree addressed
to the Hovse. As President, Andrea Mejia had the honors of sitting
on Santa's lap and reading the card. "It from Ken Andrews. And a
check for one thousand dollars!" Ken (frosh: 1986, grad: 1990)
stipulated that the money was to get a new pool & sweat table. He
asked the sweat be played on the new table. So off Blacker went
to find a new pool table. Bill Greene (frosh: 1989) found one and
for about $1700 Blacker had nice, black felt, pool table.
- Fireplace: The eternal flame of Blacker. If it can be burned,
it probably has been burned in the fireplace. And sometimes things
that can't be burned are attempted.
- Chimney rumble: The art of stuffing the chimney full of paper
and lighting it from the bottom. The heated air from the flames
quickly rises creating a small firestorm. If done correctly, the
rising air will resonate the chimney.
- Viking Canvas mural: painted by Mike Stage for the 1996
- Dining Advisory Sign: Many times the board food just, plain
sucks. Since the waiters get to sample the food first, if the food
is bad a "Dining Advisory", "Severe Dining Advisory" or "Extreme
Dining Advisory" may be placed in effect.
2. Dining room
view 1 &
view 2 (2001)
(view 1 &
On North wall (one with Ricketts). The tapestry was made circa 1750
by the Dernier Workshop in Aubussen, France. It is made of silk
It is not known when the tapestry first came to Blacker.
By the mid 1980s it had hung in the dining room beyond current student
memory. A similar style tapestry is seen in a 1950s
Big T photograph hanging in Dabney Hall. When the Tapestry was
taken down for the Renovaitions of the Summer of 1993, it was
discovered that it was in very sorry shape. Lots of tears were found
in the fabric. The tapestry spent the 1993-1994 academic year in
storage. The Housing office looked into restoring the tapestry and
found such a restoration would cost about $10,000. Such
funds were not available. The Tapestry was rehung sometime
during 1994-1995. It might be dying, but it was felt that it was better
to let it hang around in Blacker than rot in storage.
During 3rd term 1999 Moles looked at fixing the tapestry again.
Clifford Hicks (fr: 1996, grad: 2000), the current Hovse treasurer,
led the effort to find a shop to do the restoration and to raise the
needed funds. Funding was obtained from various Caltech groups and
Blacker Alumni. A total of $8000 was raised. Norbert's Rug Gallery
and Antiques was selected to make the needed repairs. The tapestry was
returned to Blacker in April 2000.
- Round tables: Blacker traditionally had round tables (or
at least it was traditional by the summer of 1986). The Hovse was
asked which kind of tables that it wanted. It was decided that
round tables were a good idea--that way there was not a head of the
table and everyone was equal. With everyone facing each other,
you didn't tend to exclude people like you would with long tables.
- Disc O' Death: South wall, hanging (Currently MIA). The Disc
is left over from the Jungle Interhovse
of fall 1987. The disc was suspended from a rope the
stretched across the courtyard from above the lounge to above Pub.
The Disc rope was 1/3 of the distance between the end points and
located somewhere over the badminton court. A second rope was at the
1/3 point on the lounge side. The rope was used to make standing
waves in the main line which drove the Disc O' Death. The Disc
itself was a wonderful success. People reportedly swung so high that
they touched the 5A balcony and the Library windows. The next
morning someone went out to play with the Disc O' Death. As soon as
sat on it, the main line broke. A second version of the story has
some Moles inspecting the rope the next morning and found that 2 of 3
climbing straps securing it had failed due to wear, so they cut the rope to prevent anyone
else from using it. All in all Blacker was lucky that there were
no injuries from it. The disk was kept and hung. It was later
used as a wagon wheel in Blacker's Spring 1994 "Wild West" Interhovse.
Sometime during 2nd term 1998, some students from Harvey Mudd stole
the Disc O' Death along with the Beer Cow head in an attempt to get
Techers to go to a party of theirs. At the time the Mudders said that
they would return the stolen items, but by summer 1998 they had not
- Cow Head: Hanging near the Disc O' Death on the South Wall.
This is from the Beer Cow in the spring 1996 "Viking" Interhovse.
The cow was slightly larger than life. The kegs were hauled into the
cow and beer dispensed via the tubes that hung down near the udder.
The head was saved as a trophy.
Stolen by Harvey Mudd students 2nd term 1998. (See Disc O' Death).
- Butter pats on Ceiling: As is consistent with the current
dinner rules, you can only throw waiter approved, closed sugar bags.
But if something that you throw sticks to the ceiling, you are ok.
The punishment for failure is a pitcher of water poured over your head. But people try
anyway. One significant butter pat needs to be mentioned. In the
winter of 1993, someone pissed of the waiters. (Most likely
James Honiker (fr: 1992, grad: 1997), but I don't recall). The
waiters came and put a 5 lb block of butter under his plate. It
is a dinner violation (punishable by water of course) to knowingly
or unknowingly hide a butter pat under one's plate. When it
came time for announcements, this person asked, "So if I throw this
towards the ceiling and it sticks, you won't dump me, right?" The
waiters agreed that was consistant with the rules. He hurled the 5 lb
block of butter toward the ceiling. Much
to everyone's surprise it hit a beam and stuck. Hence he stayed dry.
The next night as everyone was about to come in for dinner,
about 1/3 of the block fell and hit a chair. The Hovse made the Food
Rep at the time, Tatsuya "Tots" Murase (fr: 1992), sit under the
butter that night and every night for the rest of the year. The
remaining slab of butter remained up there for a term
or two before housing came by and removed it.
- Vibrating the wall with Ricketts: Despite what it seems, the
wall has never given any indication that it will fall. Amazingly
the wall will sustain a standing wave with amplitude near 6 inches.
This is more impressive on the Ricketts side as their pentagram
seems to breathe. Many times, their Cow skull will fall and break
when Blacker vibrates the wall.
- "Danger Contains Benzene Cancer Hazard": This sign has been
hanging over the entrance to the South House kitchen since before
fall 1989. Board food tends to suck.
- Piano: A number of pianos have graced he dining room. The
Baby grand is of unknown origin. Tech
arranges for the piano to be tuned every term.
- Sphere (mk1 and mk2): The theme for the 1988 Interhovse ended
up being Space Opera. 2 spheres were made, one larger than the
other. (by sphere, I mean a wood frame constructing entirely of
triangles in the shape as a ball. ) These sat out in the courtyard
until the Santa Ana winds blew
them down. From the destroyed spheres, RAs John and Lynn Salmon, along
with Wes Boudeville built a 3rd sphere during winter break. It was
hung in the dining room before Moles returned from break.
The original one was stolen by some
Page Boys in 2nd or 3rd term 1990. The clues to find the sphere
were very lame and didn't work, so apathy set in. The Page Boys
later returned the sphere, but it was broken. So Fred Mallon (fr:
1986, grad 1990) had the people on his Ditch Day stack make a new,
slightly smaller sphere. This survived in the Dining Room for about
2 years. The problem with the second sphere was that the rods were
attached via holes in some PVC pipe. Under the load of hanging,
they would slowly fall out and need to be pushed back in. We tried
gluing them in, but that didn't work for much longer. Eventually,
sometime in the 1992-3 school year it collapsed and was not put
In general, having a sphere in the middle of the room made throwing
sugar bags or ice cream bars slightly unpredicable as you had a finite
chance that the thrown object would hit wood and have it's flight
view 2, &
view 3 (2001)
- The bottom 5 to 6 feet of the courtyard used to be painted a dark blue.
By fall 1967 the paint was in really bad shape, so
Blacker organized a team to repaint the courtyard walls over winter
the Administration found out and naturally they got upset with the
liability of students on ladders and stopped the plan. So Blacker
invited some of the trustees to dinner and showed them the problem.
Over winter break, without warning, Caltech sandblasted and stuccoed
the courtyard walls. The courtyard looked better, but those with
stereos had to clean out all of the grit.
- The courtyard walls were repainted 30 August 1997.
- "Blacker House Court" sign:
Northwest corner of courtyard over
entrance to Ricketts. In the 1989-1990 school year (probably
first term), Marty O'Brien (fr: 1986, grad 1990) and others
were in the lounge with a Thomas Guide. For whatever reason they were
looking in the index and found "Blacker House Court" which is located
in the north west corner of LA county. An expedition was sent out
that very night to investigate. Sure enough, there was a street named
Blacker House Court. The sign was liberated and has hung over the
archway to Ricketts ever since. This is the main entrance that most
Moles to enter the Blacker courtyard).
- "Big Brother is watching you" (and drawing of Gary Lordon):
west wall below windows of Hell. The theme of the 1992-3 Interhouse
was 1984 (George Orwell's book) and Brazil (the movie). Moles were
feeling a little oppressed at the time. The perfect choice to be
Caltech's "Big Brother" would be the Vice President for Student
Affairs, Gary Lordon. A photo of him was projected against the
wall. Miyabi Ota (fr: 1992, grad 1996) repelled out of a Hell
window and charcoaled Gary's image on the wall from this projection.
Right under the image,
the phrase "Big Brother is watching you" was charcoaled. This image
had faded with time and by the summer of 1997 was only barely visible.
It was painted over on 30 August 1997 when the courtyard was repainted.
- Olive Tree: North East corner of the courtyard. This is just
like "kite eating tree" found in the Peanuts comic strip; just about
anything that you throw near the tree will be caught. Examples include
birdies, floppy disks, blacker balls, and even a couch. In the 1988-89
school year, someone decided that they wanted to test the catching
ability of the tree. So one of the metal couches of doom was carried up
to the 5A balcony. It was thrown in the general direction of the tree
and the tree caught it! Some climbing straps were used to secure the
couch in the tree and it remained there for a term or two.
The fall 1991 Interhouse theme was "Dead Children's Authors" Or that's
what the public title was. The theme was really a combination of the
works of A.A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh), Dr. Suess, Jim Henson
(Muppets) and Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland). In the tree
was built Owl's House,
aka, the "Wolery", as found in "Winnie the Pooh"--a small tree house.
After everything was taken down after the party, it was decided to keep
Owl's House. During Spring Break 1992, Michael Pejic (fr: 1990, grad
took it upon himself to remove the stored horse parts/debris from the
frosh project and put it on Blacker Beach. He also removed and destroyed
Owl's House. When the members of the Hovse returned there was a
confrontation between Mik and the Hovse in a long Hovse meeting. At
the end Mik decided to resign his membership in the Hovse.
An Interhovse in the early 2000s also built a tree house in the Olive
Tree. It remained after the party until The 2006 Renovations. At least
person regularly slept in the tree house.
Sarah Yoder (fr: 1990, grad: 1995) made a griffin for her Ditch Day
Stack in 1995. For awhile this hung in the Lounge. Now it hangs in
the Olive Tree.
Olives stain. They also make good ammunition to funnelate at Ricketts.
The olive tree was removed during the 2005 Renovations and replaced by
a much smaller olive tree.
- Big tree: In the northwest corner of the courtyard is a much
bigger tree. A garden was planted at it's base for a number of years
in the mid-1990s was
started by Renny Talianchich (fr: 1992, grad 1996) and Eric Hill (fr:
1992, grad 1996). (There may have been earlier gardens, but this had
been a dirt spot for many years previous.)
Tire swings in courtyard are bad. During 2nd term 1992,
Bill Greene (fr: 1989, left 1st 1991 or 2nd 1992) put up a tire swing
from the big tree. The nadir of the swing was at the base of the
stairs. For a day or two Moles played with this non-stop. Some would
swing high enough to touch the Hell wall. Until the rope broke while a
student was riding the swing. The student fell about a meter striking
the back of their head on the stone stairs. The student was transported
by ambulance to Huntington Memorial Hospital to the Intensive Care
Unit. The RAs and a few friends spent many long hours waiting outside
the ICU for news. The student spent most of a week at the hospital
before being released.
- Badminton Court: The current lines were put down by Cliff Kisor
(fr: 1986, grad 1990) in spring 1990. Badminton has been played in
Blacker from almost
the very beginning. Many an hour has been played there to make up
enough hours to pass PE Badminton.
The badmiton court lines were removed in the 2006 Renovations
- Construction/auto repair/flooding: Many things go on in the
courtyard. It is rairly fully devoid of projects. Most construction
projects are built here. "I love the sound of circular saws at 3 in
the morning. It sounds like..."
The courtyard is flooded annually to the depth of the first stair for
the end of Rotation and the annual water war with Fleming. Every once
in a while it is flooded deeper. In 1989 we had heard the legend of
the 1985 flooding for Viking Interhovse. In spring 1995, Blacker
again flooded the court yard to the depth of the second stair. Cinder
blocks (3 deep) had been cemented from the Blacker Beach archway out
to the lip into the main courtyard, then along the lip to the first
pillar. Similar walls were made between pillars. And in the South-
west corner a wall was constructed from the pillar along the brick
wall to the stairs. The area around the big tree was also re-enforced.
The courtyard was flooded. The first attempt flooded the SAC as the
seal around the big tree wasn't very good (as a note to future
generations, this must be sealed because the roots of that tree
penetrate below the concrete pan of the courtyard.) The courtyard
was successfully flooded to the depth of the top of the second
Since 1995 flooding the courtyard (or portions thereof) to a depth
of 18" has become an annual Interhovse events. Wooden forms are used
to constrain the location. A black plastic liner is used.
Some cars are narrow enough to get into the courtyard (until the new
gates were installed in 2006. One notable
hangar queen was Benjamin Smith's 1972 Series III 88" Land Rover. It
spent a number of weeks on axle stands when he was waiting for a new
axle case after he had bent the previous one.
- 5A climb: The climb up to the 5A balcony has been rated as
5.10A. The climb starts off as a 5.7 layback holding the lip of the
archway from under the archway. When you get to the top, you edge out
along the top of the archway, but using your feet as balance on the
North side. When your hands are in the middle, balance on one hand
and reach out under for the fruit on the shield under the balcony.
Now you can switch both hands to the fruit and hang from both hands.
Now pull your feet up and brace against the south wall. Move a hand up
to the scroll. Next put another hand up on the the top scroll work
and pull your feet onto the fruit. Reach up and touch the balcony
An alternate route out the edge of the archway was lead by Ian Agol
(fr: 1988, grad 1992), but only he, with his huge ape factor, has
been successful at this route.
- 5A sign: Hangs on or near the 5A Balcony. Walker Aumann
(fr: 1988, grad 1993) and Noam Bernstein (fr: 1988, grad 1992), then
the occupants of 5A were in Florida for a spring break (either 1991
or 1992). They spied a Florida route 5A sign and had to bring it
When Benjamin Smith lived in 5A (1st term 1993), he flew a US flag
during daylight hours from the balcony.
During the summer of 1997, a digital sign appeared flashing it's
messages. This was owned by Mike Fox (fr: 1993, grad 1997).
- Queensryche symbol in entry way: This was painted in spring
1992 by Noam Beyrnstein for a Ditch Day fake. Or more accurately he
was spray painting a sheet and the paint bled through onto the wall.
Painted over 30 August 1997 when the courtyard was repainted.
- Potato Famines in Ricketts/Dabney Originally (year unknown),
Blacker would use the baked potatoes from Thursday dinner, go out on
the Philipino courtyard porch and attempt to throw the potatoes
at Dabney. The reason being there was a potato "famine" in Dabney
and the food needed to be airlifted in. Well, that's a long toss and
only a few actually made it to Dabney's porch. And those that did,
tended to break windows. It was then determined that Ricketts was
closer. Hence the famine in Dabney was declared over and one in
Ricketts was discovered. By fall 1989 Potato Famines in Dabney were
a memory and ones with Ricketts in full swing. (Of course, the
Scurves felt that there were was a famine an Blacker and would throw
their potatoes into Blacker.
- Funnelating oranges at Ricketts: The Potato Famines led to
other excuses to hurl things at Ricketts (or any other house for that
matter, but Ricketts tends to be the most picked target as it is closest). Typically
in the Orange Season, oranges are funnelated at Ricketts (and vise
versa). When the oranges run out (or are out of season), hamburgers,
ice cream, other lunch items, olives or ice may be shot at Ricketts.
- Lunch on steps: Many people choose to take their lunch outside
and eat on the steps rather than use the dining room.
- Arnold Beckman Memorial Pillar: Eastern most pillar. In 1990-1
when construction finished at the Beckman Institute, the Arnold Beckman
shrine in that building was noticed by Moles. It was theorized that if
we promised to make an Arnold Beckman Shrine, then Blacker too would get
lots of money from the Beckman Family. Walker Aumann (Fr: 1988,
grad: 1993) or Noam Bernstein (Fr: 1988, Grad 1992), chalked the noted
phrase on the pillar. The money did not come, but it was a nice attempt.
- Other Pillar names Since that time, it has been customary to chalk
some of the names of those that have left without graduating. First was
"J. Lada" (Jason Lada (fr:1991, left summer 1994)). Later was
Bryan Carson (fr: 1993, left: Summer 1996). The people named are not
necessarily those on leave, but those that the Hovse would like to
Here is the pillar list as of Fall 1998. (Pillars are numbered east to
west, East & West for sides of each pillar)
The pillars were cleaned up and all chalk named removed in the Renovations of 2006.
Pillars of the Missing
||Andrew Grangaard (fr: 1991, current student).
||Removed 1997 when Andrew was re-instated
|Dan Leonard (fr: 1995 , left: before fall 1997)
||Added fall 1997
||Put up in 1990 Removed 3rd term 1998
|Steven Mueller (frosh 1996, left second term this year)
||Added 3rd term 1998
||Mike Rhodes (fr: 1994, left: 1995)
||Removed 3rd term 1998
|Ryan Cox (fr: 1996, left: beginning 2nd 1998)
||Added 3rd term 1998
|| Bryan Carson (fr: 1993, left 1995
||Added Summer 1995
||R[yan] Bacon (fr: 1994, left: 1996)
||Added Summer 1996
||Jason Lada (fr: 1991, left summer 1994)
||Added Summer 1994
||Meg Crocker (fr: 1994, left: summer 1996)
||Added Summer 1996
- "Dost thov love life? Then do not Scvander time
Chiseled above the door to Swamp (East Side).
- Couch swing Between the pillars, under the library.
This is a relatively recent addition. Sometime in the 1991-1993
time frame Dabney acquired such a swing. Blacker got one during the
1996-7 school year.
- Garden by big tree See the entry for the Big Tree
- Pink Flamingo/other garden South East corner of the
courtyard--near Maidenhead. This has only had 2 small trees in it
in fall 1989. Since then more and more plants have been added.
The pink flamingos are were Secret Santa gift to Jeanne Wilson (fr: 1994)
1st term 1996 from Juna Kollmeier (fr: 1996).
- Water fountain
that no one uses: South East Corner of
the courtyard. At one point Moles argued for it (possibly the 1986
Renovations), but now it is rarely, if ever, used.
- Library climb Climb up the pillar to the west of the middle
light. Mantle up onto the ledge. And grab the window ledge. You are
not supposed to use the light or it's piping, but many do anyway.
- Pillars--poetry,sapience,chemistry If you look at the tops of
the pillars, they each have one of the listed words and have a picture.
As to why, that is lost to time.
- sed nvlla nisi ardva mirtvs
Over the door to Kremlin--south east
corner of the courtyard. "Nothing is worthwhile unless it is
- Shield with B
Above the stairs up to Hell. Fancy B on a shield with
other random fancy flourish above it.
- Shield with Star
Above and between entry to the Dining room. A horizonal stripe about 1/3
from the top with an eight pointed star in the middle of the field above
- Shield with cross
On the west wall below window from stairway up to Hell. Shield with a
simple cross. Flanked by two people. The shield rests on books and a
compass is below. At the bottom is a head.
- "hell" on west wall Somebody in 2nd term 1996 burned
this into the wall. Painted over 30 August 1997 when the courtyard
- Old Purgatory Couch. The ugly green and metal, indestructible couch.
This couch lived for many years up in Purgatory. Many frosh (myself
included) spent many a night sleeping on it, sucked in gravity wells,
or just doing homework. The infamous Dabney FIPPI (Fucking in a Public
Place Incident) took place in two of these type couches pushed together in their
courtyard in 1989. Once one of these type couches was thrown off of
the 5A balcony in 1987 or 1988 at the Olive Tree--and the tree caught
it. In the early
1990s, this couch was used as a barricade for a Hell ride. People
attacked it with an axe to its underside with minimal damage.
Most of the other couches like this are gone from Caltech. This one
soldiered on in Purgatory despite many complaints during safety
inspections. The usual complaint was that it was a "fire hazard".
Moles learned to hide it during the inspections. Many times the Hovse
was offered a new couch so long as it was put somewhere else; the Hovse
declined. In fall 1997, Tom Mannion (the director of
Housing) changed tactics and gave the Hovse a new couch for Purgatory to
replace the old green one. The Hovse said "thank you" and put the old
one in the courtyard. Tom pointed out that it was *still* really ugly
(which is why he claimed that wanted it out of Purgatory) and bought
the Hovse a little wooden bench. The Hovse said "thank you" again and
kept the couch. Finally Housing staff took it away over spring break
1998 ending a nice scam to get nice, new, free furnature.
I'll bet that couch is in service somewhere.
"Old metal couches never die..."
- 3 copper Dolphins
: These are from a RF pulled during the 1999-2000 school year.
I think it involved Milliken Pond, but more needs to be reported. in
the early 2000s the dolphins were moved to Holliston outside the
Student Affiars building.
- Air Cannon: Blacker
keeps on building things that shoot. In the 1980s it was the Moller
Cannon. Now Nathan Schera (Fr: 1996, grad: 2000) built this cannon for
his Ditch Day Stack. What is in interesting about it is that it is
a breach loading, compressed gas cannon. After graduating it remained
with the Hovse and is usually found in the courtyard. The cannon was
disassembled and stored in 2005 in preparation for the renovations.
- Gates to Blacker. The gates from Blacker Beach into the entry
way that leads to the courtyard were wrought iron and rairly locked.
Similar gates are on the Blacker Courtyard side of the Blacker/Ricketts
breezeway. The Renovations of 2006 replaced the gates with new
wroght iron gates that were narrower and backed by plexiglass. The
Sargent lock was replaced by a card swipe system that has a Medeco
bypass key. The default for the gate to Blacker Beach is now to be locked.
(originally Lower Docs, briefly Zoo)
- Painted dark blue summer 1999. The fool was saved.
- 2003(?) Swamp was connected to Kremlin via a closet at the end of the
alley (right turn).
- Painted white in the 2006 Renovations with a new dark blue carpet. The
pay phone was also removed in these Renovations. The connection to Kremlin
was also modified in the Renovations. The former room 15 was shortened
and its door moved to be perpendicular to the Alley. Thus when one
passes the former Room 4 and enteres Kremlin, one steps in what once was
15 (now the end of Kremin), then turns right and passed through were
15's door used to be.
- The Fool tarot card:
Just inside the door to the courtyard on
the south side. By Mike McDonald (fr: 1985, grad 1989). Painted sometime
while he was as student. Painted over in the Renovations of 2006.
- ZAR: Just to the right of the door to the courtyard (as you are
exiting to the courtyard) was a painted ZAR. The ZAR was printed such that
it also read ZAR when read upsidedown. Painted before fall 1989.www.playzar.com
The painting of the ZAR
lettering was painted over in the Summer 1993 renovations.
- Chemical structure: Left side of door to courtyard as you are
exiting. Painted before fall 1989. I think it was either Caffeine or LSD.
(If someone knows, tell
me). It was painted over in the Summer 1993 renovations.
- Max Baumart's TV art For 1989 to 1991 Max Baumart placed a black and
white TV above the pay phone and inverted the picture. This was on all
the time and was quite bizarre to watch as it was not on a regular station.
- Window to Kremlin: By 1966 there was a there was a window into
Kremlin from the end of Swamp. This was when 15 was smaller and had a
hallway outside it (and also a single). Before 1966, the occupant of 15
placed doorway partway down the hall, thus enlarging the room (to the
size that it is in 2007, but not what it was from before 1986 to 2005)
but the window was still in the alley.
- Herein dwell the Fascist Pig Dogs of the IHC: A sign between 2 and 3
during the 1993-4 School year. During Rotation in the fall of 1991, Kevin
Archie (fr: 1988, grad 1992) broke a Rotation rule every night at dinner.
To be fair he broke the letter of the Rotation rules. But he with each
rule breaking he denounced the "Fascist Pig Dogs of the IHC". It is not
which rule was broken which night (except the last one), but here's what
(In any of these House refers to the individuals too)
"Houses are specifically prohibited from he following during rotation:
a. Making a trophy or alley challenge."
- Kevin made a trophy from food during dinner and showed it off during
c. Organizing and sponsoring a social event.
- Kevin announced that he and the Anti-Social team were making an
anti-social event trip by taking the bus to Hollywood.
d. Attend a reception of a House of which you are not a member without
the permission of that Houses's president
- "I'm about to go to class and will walk through Ricketts to do so..."
e. Discussing picking strategy or past picks with a new student.
- Kevin brought his guitar to dinner and discussed with the frosh
how to play with a pick.
f. Spending money on a new student...
- Kevin walked around throwing pennies at frosh
- ...or getting a new student a date.
- Kevin walked around with a container of dried dates and gave the
g. Otherwise unfairly biasing a new student
- This was saved for the last rotation meal (lunch Saturday). Kevin
worked out the sequence in advance with Benjamin Smith (fr: 1989, grad
1994), who was then the IHC Sec'y. Kevin denounced the Fascist Pig Dogs
of the IHC and announced that he was going to unfairly bias a frosh.
He pulled out a battery charger and hooked it up to a frosh (Marcel
Bergman (fr: 1991, grad 1996). Just before he could plug the charger in
put a voltage bias on Marcel, Ben stood up (with waiter permission of
course), pulled a ZKE-235 "Dick" gun and "arrested" Kevin. Kevin was
hauled off saying "Help, help, I'm being repressed" along with some comments
about the Fascist Pig Dogs of the IHC. The IHC in a fit of humor briefly
considered doing it's most heinous penalty on Kevin, the loss of all of
his (guitar) picks.
The next year (1992-3), Karen Ross (fr: 1989, grad 1993) was the
Sec'y of the IHC lived in room 4. Benjamin Smith was Chairman of
the IHC and lived in room 3. They though the Fascist Pig Dogs of the
IHC was a funny thing. When 1st term started they put up a sign
between 2 and 3 proclaiming that end of Swamp to be the lair of the
Fascist Pig Dogs of the IHC.
- 0, 00 and Infinity: Originally 0 and 00 were not regular rooms.
0 is the room in swamp just to the left of the courtyard door as you enter
Swamp from the courtyard.
Logically 0 and 00 stem from the fact that rooms started with 1. O was
next to 1, so it was named 0...
00 is the room with a door in the entry way from Blacker Courtyard to
The original blueprints (as printed in the Bulletin of the California
Institute of Technology, The Student Houses, Volume XLI, Number 135, dated
June 1932, on page 11, list what is now 0 as "Matron's Room" and 00 as an
There is a reference in one of the early Secretary's Log or an
early Big T to making one of these rooms into a House Library (17 and
19 being student rooms then).
I've seen a record listing them as the MOSH's office after WWII (as far
as I can tell the MOSH did not exist before WWII)
Bill Drake (fr: 1966, grad: 1970) writes that 0 and 00 were traditionally
the president's suite, but when he was president (1969-70) he broke from
tradition and lived in 21 instead since he had too much stuff there.
0 was first used as room during the 1969-70 school year. During fall 1971 to
2nd term 1974, 0 was a single and 00 was as single but were listed as 48.
(48 used to
be a room in Heaven (upstairs near Dabney), but that room had been converted
to a bathroom for the women which were living in Heaven (1st women admitted
to Tech)). Of course to add confusion, Housing treated the 00 as part of 0
as a double. The first reference to 00 in Blacker House lists was third term
1974. Housing started referring to 00 as 00 for 2nd term 1974.
After the renovations of summer 1993, Miika Kangas (fr: 1990, grad 1994)
lived in 00. He decided to modify the number to be "Infinity" (and 8 on
- Computer Room: Just to the left of the stairs up to Pub was one
of Blacker's computer rooms. In 1989 this was a Mac Lab (with the IBM
PC lab being in Tunnel). By the mid 1990s the Swamp Computer Lab was for
Windows machines with Macs in Tunnel. This was one of the few air
conditioned rooms in the Hovse. The Renovations of 2006 saw the Blacker
computer labs moved to the SAC, freeing this room up for other uses.
2nd term 2007 saw it storing the Hovse tools. It may become the new Damage
(Originally Upper Docs)
- Pub did not originally connect to Upper P. They were connected during
the 1970-71 school year.
- The Renovations of 2006 painted the Alley white with dark blue carpets.
Flourescent lights were installed over the stairs to Swamp. The Damage
Shopped was radically reduced in size and converted to a janitorial closet.
The 5A mural was painted over.
- 5A and kitchen: Originally these two rooms were the RA's suite.
RA's used the apartment from the opening of the Hovse through 3rd term
With the introduction of women into Tech, Womb (rooms 33 to 36) was converted
into an RA apartment and labeled as room 36 over the summer of 1970. It
is not known if the old RA's apartment was left as is, or split into a
room and a public kitchen. However, in the fall of 1970, it was
used as a double by Jim and Marcy Beck. There was no room number listed
for that room in the 3 Blacker Hovse lists of 1970-71. Starting 1st
term 1971, the room is referred to as 5A in Blacker Hovse lists.
On the Housing side, 5A was listed in the 1st term Housing list as
"B nr 5" for Blacker, near room 5. It is listed the same in the second
term Housing list and not listed at all in the 3rd term list. Starting
1st term 1971, Housing refers to the room as 5A.
- 5a Loft: 5A was a poor double that had it's own bathroom and walk in
1988-89 Mike Ricci got some scrap lumber and built a loft making it a
much nicer room. This remained unpainted wood until Spring Break 1991.
Housing was getting upset by the fire hazard of untreated wood. So while
the owners of the room (Walker Aumann (fr: 1988, grad 1993) and Noam
Bernstein (fr: 1988, grad 1992) were away, their friends (led by
Andrea Mejia (fr: 1988, grad 1992) and Bonnie Wallace (fr: 1988, grad 1992)
painted the loft a pale yellow. They hung lace doilies and painted flowers
on the loft. Walker & Noam returned, uttered their disgust, removed the
lace, and painted over the flowers. In the Summer 1993 Renovations, the loft was
removed by Housing. The next occupant, Benjamin Smith (fr: 1989, grad 1994)
used the original lumber and reconstructed it. He painted much of it
green. An ugly green (it had been supposed to be a much darker green).
summer of 1994 that loft was removed and a completely new loft was designed
and built by Bevan Bennett (fr: 1990, grad 1995) for next occupant of 5A,
Alison Slemp (fr: 1992, grad 1996)
The 5A loft was removed in the Renovations of 2006.
- "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here": Around door to 5A. This
mural was painted by Katy Quinn (fr: 1989, grad 1993) for her 1993 Ditch
Day stack. The mural consists of grey bricks on the wall around the door.
The phrase is panted above the door. This mural was painted over in the
Renovations of 2006.
- Babylon 5 mural: Around 5A door. This mural is layered above the
previously mentioned mural. This one was made by Mike Fox (fr: 1993, grad
1994) for his 1997 Ditch Day stack. The mural is a plastic covering with
some tubes and the "Babylon 5" letters. This was designed to look like
a wall of a space ship. Babylon 5 is a popular, current Science
Fiction TV show. This mural was removed sometime in the 1997-1998 school
year, probably during 2nd term.
- "Last Pub for 897 km" sign: Traditionally hung in Pub between the
shower and the damage shoppe. I don't know the origins of the sign, but
it was there in fall 1989 and is was still hanging as of 3rd term 2005
just before the Renovations.
- Damage Shoppe:
Created in Spring 1990 by Bill Greene (fr: 1989,
left spring 1992) to house the Hovse Tools. Prior to that it had been
a storage closet. Max Baumart (fr: 1987, grad 1991) built the work bench
in 1990 with the remains of the 1989 Interhovse catapult. The window to
Upper P was added in May 1989, but that is listed in the Upper P section.
The Damage Shoppe was removed in the Renvations of 2006 to make way
for ventilation ducts. About 20% of it remains as a janitorial closet.
The window to Upper P was removed and replaced with an opaque wall.
6. Upper P
(originally Upper Presidential, briefly Olympus)
- Upper P did not originally connect to Pub. They were connected during
the 1970-71 school year.
- Upper P and Cannes did not originally connect. This connection was made
during the renovations during the summer 1986. Before 1986 there was
a bathroom in Upper P and some room (possibly a kitchenette) in Cannes.
The renovation destroyed both and replaced them with the current Cannes
kitchen. The wall between Upper P and Cannes remained as it Moles of the
time were told that it was a load bearing wall. One had to enter the
kitchen from one alley and then exit to the other to dodge around the
- Renovations of 2006: The wall between Cannes and Upper P was removed.
Thus the Winnie the Pooh mural was destroyed. The Freedom from Vodka
mural was painted over. The fake door to room 19 (by the Damage Shoppe)
was removed. The Dragon and Fjord murals remained. Upper P was painted
white with dark blue carpets.
- Firehose: In the kichenette at the end of Upper P (now a kitchen
between Cannes and Upper P), there used to be a firehose and pump hidden
in a false cabinet under the sink. The pump was powerful enough to shoot
a stream of water into Ricketts courtyard. According to Bill Drake (fr:
1966, grad: 1970), "It was a legend that the electrical connection for the
pump was hot wired to Pasadena Power and Light with no meter in the circuit.
While wiring the BT&E circuits, I verified that the cables transitted the
hyperspace above Upper P and disappeared down the wall toward the basement."
The pump and firehose existed before 1966 and were removed in the 1986
- Freedom of Vodka
Mural: Outside room 21. Painted by Stacy Kerkela
(fr: 1992, grad 1996) and Paul Upchurch (fr: 1993, grad: 1997) in 1996.
The Mural consists of a person, a bottle of Vodka and some Russian
writing which translated means "After Work, Stolichnaya Vodka". The
mural was used in Stacy's and Paul's Ditch Day Stack. The mural was painted
over in the 2006 renovations.
- Fake Room 19:
Near 20 and 21. This is a fake door to Damage Shoppe.
It was created by Ken Andrews (fr: 1986, grad 1990) for his 1990 Ditch
Day stack. He spent weeks hammering the hole in the wall and adding the
door and transom. After Ditch Day Housing was convinced to do plaster work
to make it look nice for free. This door was removed in the 2006
Renovations and the wall restored to its original form.
- Sleeping porch:
Entry from upper p near 18 and 20 as well as from
18, 16, 27, 29 and 31. People have slept out here. For example 3rd
term 1990, all three residents of 18 (Dan Ruzek (fr: 1989, left summer
1990), G. Richard Benzinger (fr: 1989, grad 1993) and Benjamin Smith
(fr: 1989, grad 1994)) and the resident of 16 (Matt Kidd (fr: 1986, grad:
1990)) all slept on the sleeping porch for the entire term. [Note: 16 was
18 that year and vise versa--see below]
The Sleeping porch is the traditional location of Cannes Party (1st
term) which is a dance.
Many years there is a climbing rope hanging down from the sleeping
porch to the yard below. From time to time people climb up this.
- The occupant of 21 from 1967 to 1970, Bill Drake (Fr: 1966, Grad: 1970),
removed the door and placed a new door just outside room 20 (this was
before Upper P connected to Pub) giving him an extra foyer.
- 16 vs 18 debacle: During the roompick for 2nd term 1990,
Dan Ruzek, G. Richard Benzinger and Alex Rosser (fr: 1989, left 1st 1991)
picked 16 (the triple). Matt Kidd picked room 18 (the single). But
Matt was moving from room 9 and wanted to live in perfect square again,
so when Walker Aumann and Noam Bernstein moved out of 16, Matt took the
door to 16, put it on his door and put 18 on the triple. This remained
this way until the summer when things were put back the correct way.
- Viking Fjord mural:
view 1 and
Near Kremlin stairs. This was painted by
Bengt Magnussen (fr: 1983, grad: 1987) in 1984 (I think). The mural
is of a Viking ship in a Fjord (Bengt was Swedish). According to
story, what you see is the Bengt's second painting. The first one being
destroyed when he attempted to put a clear upper coat on. According to
the story the first one was better and had more detail and that Bengt
was rushed on his second attempt.
- Winnie the Pooh: Wall near Cannes/Upper P Kitchen. Painted by
Jeanne Wilson (fr: 1994) in summer 1995(?). This mural was painted over
in the 2006 Renovations
- Library: (view 1
Originally there were rooms 17 and 19.
- Fate of room 17
Somewhere between 9 March 1962 and 2 April 1962 (inclusive) at 9:30
in the evening, the Blacker Excomm met to discuss a new Blacker Library
(Blacker Secretary Logs, Volume III, pp 205-206). [Note: the log
is undated, hence the variable in date--Ivar Ambats (fr: 1961, grad 1970)
was Secretary and he only dated a few of his entries]
The proposal was to
convert room 17 into a library. Arguments for included central and
more secure location (when compared to the then current library--which
I think was 00). Opposing views included the loss of a frosh single.
The Excomm decided (with 2 opposing votes) for converting 17 to a
library pending a House referendum at the end of 3rd term 1962.
Somewhere between 16 May 1962 and 23 May 1962 (inclusive) Blacker had a
House meeting. (Blacker Secretary Logs, Volume III, pp.218-219)
The first topic was on the question of a house library. A motion "to
continue a library" was unanimously passed. A motion against the use
of 17 was made and defeated with 10 votes for and an unknown amount
Looking for corroborating evidence in the Blacker Hovse list, we find the
the last time 17 (a double) was occupied was 1st term 1961. We do not
have a Hovse list from 2nd term 1962, but 17 was not listed in
the 3rd term 1962 and subsequent House lists.
- Fate of room 19
In a meeting of the Blacker ExComm on 19 February 1964 between 11:05pm
and 12:05 am, the subject of room 19 and the library arose. " [President
Art] Johnson asked the Librarians to complete the construction of the
magazine rack before the end of the term. He added that [MOSH] Huttenback
might provide funds for the expansion of the library into room 19."
--Blacker Secretary Logs, Volume III, p280
In a meeting of the Blacker ExComm on 8 May 1964 between 10:05pm and
11:57pm, the Library came up at the end of the meeting as the last
reported item. This was in a closed part of the ExComm meeting.
"It was also disclosed that out library would be remodeled to be
paid for by [MOSH] Huttenback. General approval was expressed and it was
hoped that the library would be finished in time for Rotation."
--Blacker Secretary Logs, Volume III, p292
Again looking at the Blacker Hovse Lists for corroboration, the last time
19 was listed was 3rd term 1964. 19 was is not listed 1st term 1964
subsequent Hovse lists.
- If you look at the library, you can see the evidence of the wall that
used to separate room 17 and room 19.
- The Library is the traditional site of Senior 200 days and 100 days
- The Blackerwise Clock
was a gift of Brian Kurkoski (fr: 1989, grad 1993) from when he was
- Print of couple running: This print originally hung in entryway to
Kremlin on the east wall. It was removed for summer of 1993
renovations. In unpacking that fall, the print ended up being hung
in the Library
- Print of "Mr Rogers": (Fred Rogers is a character in the PBS
children's show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood) Marc Abel (fr: 1987,
grad 1991 was the librarian in 1988. During the 1988 elections Marc
nominated Cliff Kisor (Fr: 1986, grad: 1990), the current secretary,
for an office that Cliff did not approve of. In response Cliff
nominated Marc for "Hovse Mr. Rogers". The Hovse elected Marc to that
office. As Librarian, Marc procured the poster and put it up. The
1988 Big T has a photo of Marc dressed like Mr. Rogers next to the
- Blacker Shield Rug:
This was made around 1988 by the mother of Sarah
Yoder (fr: 1990, grad 1995) for Blacker long before Sarah came to Tech.
Somehow I think Sarah's mother knew Mike Ricci's (fr 1997, grad 1991)
mother and Mike was a student at the time.
- Snake Trophy: Or at least
this might be the orginal snake trophy. It is a painted, ceramic cobra
raised from a coil ready to strike. Just like found on the back of
- CD player: Originally Rich Benzinger (fr: 1989, grad 1993) was
living in the triple (16/18--see above). He and the others in that
room spent a lot of time in the Library. So he put a CD player there
so that he and others could enjoy the music. When he graduated,
Rich gave the CD player to the house. Later an
8 track tape player was dredged up and added to the music equipment.
I think the current CD player is past the 3rd generation of CD player
for the library since the Yorx unit that Rich gave. (The other 3 (or
more) having died or been stolen).
- Last know location of the Infinite Sink Brick. This 2 foot cube of
lead from the Syncotron was somehow hauled up into the library.
(Reportedly it weighed in at 800 lbs). The Infinite Sink Brick
disappeared during the summer 1986 Renovations.
- Everything else in the library is random and comes and goes with
- Cannes/Upper P warsDuring 1990-1 Cannes and Upper P tried to
annex each other. Various (humorous) verbal wars ensued.
- Mural in 18: Matt Kidd painted an Esher mural in 18 (the single)
in spring 1990. It was painted over by the occupant of the room in 1991-2.
- Dragon Mural Outside Room 16: Stretches from 16 towards the kitchen.
Started by Kacie Shelton (fr: 1996) during the summer of 1997.
(originally Lower Presidential)
- Painted cream by Wren Montgomery (Fr: 1996) in the summer of 1998.
- Kremlin was connected to swamp via a janatorial closet in 2003 and also to Vatican via where the payphone used to be at the same time
- Renovations 2006 painted the walls white and added blue carpets. Room
12 was converted to a kitchen. The set of 3 small rooms that were a
shower, toilet and fridge room have been converted to an ADA bathroom.
The Lenin mural was painted over.
- Murals of Lenin and Stalin painted by Kjerstin Easton (Fr: 1996) shortly
after the walls were painted cream. The Lenin mural was painted over
in the Renovations of 2006.
Lenin Mural: Across from shower.
- Ape Factor Index: Foot of Stairs Between Kremlin and UpperP.
During the 1991-92 school year oeople started measuring their Ape factor
on the wall. The Ape factor is the difference between your height and
armspan (fingertip to fingertip). If armspan was less than height this
measurement was labeled as "human". If armspan was larger than height, it
was labeled as "ape". Ape factors were marked with the person's name. The
procedure was to measure your height against the wall and mark it. Then
touch the floor with one finger and reach as high as you could with the
other hand. This was marked. A line was drawn between the two. Either
Ape or Human was written. About 20 people measured their Ape Factor and
marked it on the wall. The Blacker Ape Factor Index was painted over in
summer 1993 Renovations. Before this, an Ape Factor index once was in
Vatican, but was painted over in the 1986 renovations.
- Room 15: This room used to be quite smaller. The alley extended
past room 14, turned right and extended to a window on the south side of
the Hovse. The door to 15 was on the east side of the alley. At some
point before 1966 the 15 was enlarged by placing the door in line with
the door to 14. This gave 15 an entry foyer and a second window.
Sometime in the 1970s or 1980s, but before 1987, the door to 15 was moved
to enlarge the room again. This time the door was next to 14,
perpendicular to 14 (essentially turning the corner from where it was
before). Also sometime before 1987 the interior walls in 15 from the old
part of the Alley were removed so that the full room was larger.
Some direct evidence is that the type of doorframe for 15 (as of 1989-2005)
is different than any other in the house and looks temporary is that it
does not have a transom.
- Mural in Room 14: The room has a partially completed mural of a Florida
thunderstorm by Walt Ogburn (Fr: 1995, grad: 1999). Walt planed to finish
it in the 1998-99 school year, however instead of finishing it, it was
painted over the night before graduation 1999.
- Ath Hole: Under the stairs from Kremlin to UpperP. The entry is
an approximately 2 foot by 2 foot hatch about 4 feet off the floor near the
Kremlin door to the courtyard. This is the location of Blacker Athletic
equipment. Ram Basu (fr: 1979, grad 1984) lived in the Ath
Hole for a term in the early 80s. Once you crawl in it is quite large.
One can even completely stand up inside. The lights for the Ath Hole
were fixed (again!) 1st term 1997. The lights were removed in the 2006
- Rooms 10 and 13: In the late 80s during a spring break a prank was
done to switch the two rooms completely. (The people in Blacker during Spring
Break determined that the rooms were almost identical in layout and size)
Even the doors were swapped. When the occupants returned, they didn't
bother to switch the rooms back. So 10 became 13 and vise versa in Blacker.
Moles didn't care which room had which number or what the blueprints said,
they just went of the number on the door.
Problems arose in the summer 1993 Renovations. Moles could pick to have
their rooms painted one of three colors and they could choose to have their
ceiling dark blue or white. As luck would have it, the occupants of 10 and
13 chose differently. The workers went off of the official blue prints
and renumbered the doors. There was some confusion when the occupants of
10 and 13 returned for 1st term and found things amiss.
As of now the numbers of the doors match that found in the blueprints.
- Room 12 Door: 1st or 2nd term 1996-97, the main door to this
room was plastered over. A hole for a half height/half width door was left
and such a door fitted. 1st term 1997 the door was removed by Nathan
Schara (fr: 1996), the new occupant of the room. "A minute with a
screwdriver and a claw hammer, and one swift kick, and the entire thing
collapsed rather nicely." -Nick Breen (Fr: 1996). Room 12 was removed
in the 2006 Renovations and replaced by a kitchen.
- Sometime near the beginning of fall term 1997, several of the
then-residents of Kremlin (Walt Ogburn (fr: 1995), Elisa Chiang
(fr: 1997), Regina "Wedge" Cheung (fr: 1997), and Kyle Alvine (fr: 1995))
painted hand-prints in many different colors in the Kremlin stairs
entryway. Their names are signed to the work. If this was still existing
in 2006 it was painted over in the Renovations.
(originally Whispering Cannes)
The 2006 Renovations painted all walls white and replaced the carpet with
dark blue. The Community Chest and Laughing Hitchhikers Face murals were
painted over, but the Wall mural was saved. The hyperspace bypass was
destroyed and BTE was thrown out.
- Laughing Hitchiker's Face: On the wall outside 27 and near the
Cannes--UpperP kitchen. Painted by Mike Stage (fr: 1993, grad 1997) in the
Spring 1997. The design is from The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams. Clifford Hicks (fr: 1996) completed the mural in the
spring of 1997. The mural was removed in the 2006 Renvovations when the
wall that it was painted on was removed.
- "The Wall" mural.
On the wall of the stairway from below up to
Cannes. Painted by Bengt Magnussen (fr: 1983, grad 1987) sometime in
1984-85. Originally the mural continued on at the head of the stairs
with bricks and lyrics. These were painted over in the 1986 Renovations.
The lettering in the lower left corner of the mural was painted by Bengt
is in his own blood. Parts of the mural had started to flake off but were
repaired during Winter and Spring of 1997 by Kristine Nielson (fr: 1996)
- Coke Vending Machine: By 1989 there was a red Coke Vending
machine sitting outside vatican below the stiars up to Cannes. At this
time the machine was stocked by someone in the Hovse. This job was
passed from person to person. In 1989 it was Ken Andrews (Fr: 1986, Gr:
1990). It was handed off to Walker Aumann (Fr: 1988, Gr: 1993) and Noam
Bernstein (Fr: 1988, Gr: 1992). When they graduated it was handed off
again. In the late 1990s or early 2000s, the Coke vending
machine was replaced by a Diet Coke vending machine. The Diet Coke machine
was removed by the 2006 Renovations.
- Coke machines & Stairs This are a pain in the ass to move up (or
down the stairs). The machine is extremely heavy. And why does Blacker know
this? G. Richard Benzinger (fr: 1989, grad 1993) was on a Geology 105
field trip to Baja Mexico 2nd term 199
- He returned to find the door to
his room, 29, occupied by the Coke machine. It was plugged in and
fully functional. A few days later the coke machine migrated back
downstairs. Needless to say, the upperclassmen had ropes and pulled
from the upstairs side. Frosh were convinced to push from the downstairs
side. Silly Frosh.
- BTE Closet: Between the Cannes storage closet and the door the
hyperspacial bypass. BTE stands for Blacker Telephone &
Electric. The main components were stored here. The door is marked
with a sign that reads.
"Keep Clear--Emergency Exit from Core". This
sign originally marked the Core in Noyes before being liberated for Blacker.
The BTE closet was empties of all equipment before or during the 2006
Renovations. All components of BTE were thus lost.
- Community Chest Mural
"Community Chest--Go to Hell. Go directly to Hell, Do not pass
lounge. Do not collect Mail": Mural near room 30 and the door to the
closet containing the hyperspacial bypass. It was started in 1988. It was
finished in 1993 by Myabi Ota (fr: 1992, grad 1996). The mural
refers to the Hyperspacial bypass that enables passage directly from
Cannes to Hell. Before the bypass, one had to walk down the stairs,
into the courtyard and up a flight of stairs to get to Hell. The last line
references to when US Mail for all students was delivered to their's House's
lounge (this was discontinued in 1990). The mural was painted over in the
- Hyperspacial Bypass: This connected the top of the closet near room
30 to a cabinet in the Hell kitchen via hyperspace. It was started in
Spring 1988 by Ken Andrews (fr: 1986, grad 1990) and others to be a back
door into Hell for the next year's Hell Ride. They cut through the concrete,
but not the cabinet wall. All that would be need to do is cut through the
cabinet and suprise the Frosh.
The bypass was widened by Benjamin Smith (fr: 1989, grad 1994) in spring
1990. It was later modified (with a nice ladder, carpet between the ladder
and the cabinet, a door added to the cabinet, as well as being widened
further) by Bevan Bennett (fr: 1990, grad 1995) and Benjamin Smith in 1993.
The bypass was removed in the 2006 Renovations. The closet of the
bypass now has a air duct running through the bypass. The Hell Kitchen
was re-configured to place a refridgerator in the corner that was the
- Hyperspacial Bypass 2: The Cannes-Lounge hyperspace bypass was
created by Nathan Schara (fr: 1996) during the 1996-97 school year. It is
now possible for a thin person to get from it to the hyperspace above the
Lounge. The entrance is a few feet from the Cannes-Hell bypass.
- 31/32 suite: In fall 1984 four Moles picked rooms 31 and 32.
They were Bengt Magnussuen (fr: 1983, grad: 1987), Dave Whitman (fr: 1983,
grad: 1987), Jim Bell (fr: 1983, grad 1987) and John Erickson (fr: 1984,
left jr year). They blocked off the end of the alley with a sheet and
treated the rooms as a suite. All 4 slept in one room and used the other
as a day room.
- Black wall with red hand: Between room 31 and the shower. The
Black Hand came and painted a black and outside a frosh's door. The
frosh removed the hand. This went back and forth for a while. Eventually,
one night, the Black Hand filled the wall with black hands. The frosh
awoke and found the paint still to be wet. The frosh then smeared the black
paint all over and placed a red hand in the middle.
Silly frosh, resistance is useless.
The mural was painted over in 1993
Renovations. The mural existed in fall 1989 and had been painted at least
a few years earlier.
In spring 1997, Kristine Nielson (fr: 1996) painted this wall bright yellow.
It was repainted the following year by Cherly Forest (fr: 1997) and Amy
Peterson (fr: 1997)
- Room 32 Loft. Built by Mike Nygaard (fr: 1989, grad 1994) in
the 1990-91 school year with help from Bill Greene (fr: 1989, left 2nd term
1992) and others. The loft was painted with a cloud motif spring of 1997 by
Amy Barr (fr: 1996) and Adrianne Hyldahl (fr: 1996). By fall 1997, the loft
had seriously begun to creak and one of the missing supports was pointed out
by Mike Nygaard who was visiting. The loft was removed in the 2006
- The 2006 Renovations painted the walls white and the carpet changed to
dark blue. Rooms 22 and 24 were combined to make an ADA suite.
Maidenhead was removed and is to be replaced by an ADA lift. The Vatican
Whiteboards were removed. The City of New York sign was dismounted, but
still exists. The Bar was replaced by a bathroom. The former bathroom
became partly a janitor's closet and the rest was ductwork. Murals in
22 and 24 were painted over in the 2006 Renovations and the loft in
Maidenhead was removed.
- City of New York sign:
Above the entryway to Vatican. Art Fortini
(fr: 1979 grad: 1983) was from the Bronx in New York City. He staged an
abortive attempt to rename the alley "New York" during the 1980 to 1983
time frame. According to Art shipping the sign to Pasadena from NY was
difficult because the sign was large enough to make shipping very expensive.
- Vatican White board: Between the alley entrance and Room 24.
In 1989-90 the residents of Vatican (Rob Padula (fr: 1887, grad 1991),
Deepi??, and others) glued 3 contiguous 4x8 sheets of white board material to
the wall. This quickly became a repository of random sayings and art
work (as well as drunken rambling). The whiteboards started to fall off
around 1993 and were taken down. Two of the white boards still exist and
move from place to place. They are generally used for room picks,
presenting budgets, etc.
During 2nd term 1998?, Nathan Schara (Fr: 1996, Grad: 2001), the Hovse Damage Control Officer,
and the current residents of Vatican installed the new and improved
Vatican Whiteboard. This time the 3 sheets of whiteboard are held in by
molding. The Vatican whiteboard was removed in the 2006 Renovations.
- Painted Deep Green just after the 2nd set of whiteboards was installed
Vatican was painted white in the 2006 Renovations.
- Floor in hallway near coke machine: Used to have non-skid bathtub
stickies to minimize the danger of showering people (wet floors
and all). This was installed around 1987 +/-1. By 1997 most of the
non-scid material had been warn away. The floor was carpeted with the
dark blue carpet in the 2006 Renovations.
- Bar: Across from Vatican near bathroom and shower. By 1984 this
was one of the small kichenetes that existed around the house. It
had a microwave and a hotplate, yet still it was heavily used. During
the renovation of 1986, it was taken out of service and turned over to
Social team for storage. At this time it also housed the Hovse alcohol.
For years the lock combination used to be
"bar" (2-1-4+5 (R is the 9th letter from the end of the alphabet)). The
combo has since changed. Lately the patch panel for the 10baseT network
and some Social Team food stuffs have been stored/placed here. In the mid
2000s the a Mountain Dew fountain was installed in the Bar. The Renovations
of 2006 converted the Bar to a bathroom.
- Landscape mural, room 23: of of somewhat moody and romantic
persuasion covering one wall. Painted by Ellen Martin (fr: 1995) during
the 1997-98 school year. Painted over in the 2006 Renovations.
- Penrose Tiling, room 24: Added across one wall by Andrew Childs
(fr: 1996) and several helpers during the summer of 1998. Painted over
in the renovations of 2006.
- Loft in Maidenhead:
Nathan Schara (fr: 1996) built a new, bigger
loft for this room during the summer of 1998 to replace the one that Jason
Heiss (fr: 1993, grad: 1997) had built a few years previously. Removed
in the renovations of 2006.
- Ape Factor Index: existed before the renovations in 1986 and was was
painted over during those renovations. (See Kremlin for more details).
Originally this was an alley containing rooms 33 through 36. In 1970 when
women were admitted to Tech it was decided to house them in Blacker and
Dabney. A requirement was also that the women needed to be able to lock
the boys out. It was also determined that an RA couple was needed and
that the RAs should be within this locked area. Womb was remodeled and
walls were ripped out. The entry to Womb turned into a door to the RA's
apartment. The old RA apartment was turned into a student room and
eventually into 5A and the Pub kitchen. The Ricketts RAs, Peter and Lois
Smith, were made the Blacker RAs. 1st term the women were put in Tunnel,
Heaven, and Dabney's Lower Seven.
- Door frame outside Womb in alley: between the door to 36 and the
Coke Machine entryway is left over from the ability to lock the women away
from the men.
- RA fenced back yard: Between Blacker and California Blvd. Housing
has a "no dogs" rule for on campus people. All rules are made to be
broken. Doug Flamming and Judith Crothers were RAs from 3rd term 1991 to
summer 1992. When they were selected there was one problem--they had two
black labradors. Solution: a fenced yard was built for the dogs. One further
problem was that one of the dogs could jump the fence and escape. Solution:
an 18 inch lip facing in was installed. This kept the dogs in. The
fenced yard was removed in the 2006 Renovations.
view 1 and
view 2 (2001)
- 2006 Renovations: The Alley was painted white with new blue carpet. The
Calvin and Hobbs mural was painted over while the Space and Dr. Seuss murals
were saved. The computer room at the end of Tunnel was converted back into a
student room, but the dog leg that was formerly part of Dabney was switched
back to Dabney. The mural in room 37 was painted over and the skyfloor in
40 was removed.
- Star Wars mural:
Rebel Alliance Ship
Field of X and Y wing fighters
Green & Blue Planet (bad photo)
Tie Fighters near Red planet
Frisbees in Space
Black Hand in red cloud
From room 37 out towards the entry to lounge
porch. Painted by Clifford Hicks (fr: 1996) completed summer
1997 with help from various people, including Kristine Nielson (Fr: 1996).
The mural painted the alley black and includes a Star Destroyer, X-wing
fighters, Tie fighters, star fields, galaxies, nebulae, etc. Look closely,
it has some humorous messages.
- Calvin and Hobbes
: Between room 37 and showers. Painted by Jared
Smith (fr: 1987, grad 1993) before he went on his (Mormon) mission--circa
spring 1988. Painted over in the Renovations of 2006.
- Room 40 skyfloor: Room 40 used to have a loft built by John
Hart (fr: 1985, grad 1989) in about 1986 to 1987. The loft was very
rickety. In fact, oscillations by people getting into, out of and in the
loft caused holes to be worn in the wall by the loft. In 1991 the people
who lived in 40 hated the loft. So during Spring Break 1991 it was
removed and immediately replaced with a skyfloor. Alex Rosser (fr: 1989,
left 1st 1991) and Jennifer Messenger (fr: 1989, grad: 1993), the then
occupants bought the new lumber. The new Skyfloor was designed by Bill
Greene (fr: 1989, left 2nd 1992). To build the skyfloor they the lumber
flexed the walls of the room by about an inch. Afterwards the skyfloor
didn't need legs to hold it up, but people felt better then they were
added. The skyfloor was
built by Alex,
Bill, Benjamin Smith (fr: 1989, grad 1994), Bevan Bennett (fr: 1990, grad:
1995), and Pete McCann (fr: 1989, grad 1993). Under the carpet they painted
the wood in a fairly random pattern. The carpet used was scrounged and
fairly ratty. The Summer 1993 Renovations replaced the sky floor carpet
with new carpet. The skyfloor was removed in the 2006 Renovations.
- Tunnel Road Sign: Hanging from the ceiling near the phone nook
about halfway down the alley. It has been hanging there since before fall
1988 and was still hanging in 2005. After the 2006 Renovations the sign was
around, but not re-hung yet.
- Gopher attacks in Tunnel: Gophers have not attacked since the
mid 1980s. Once upon a time, all of the phone books were replaced at
the same time. Moles would gather as many phone books as possible. Then
they would go into Tunnel and start drinking. They would drink until they
saw the gophers. To defend against said gophers, the Moles would have these
convienent phonebooks to throw at the gophers. By the time everyone fell
into a drunken stupor, the paper from phone books would be scattered all
over Tunnel. The pages would form into drifts sometimes a few feet deep.
The gophers have always been successfully fought off.
- Dr. Seuss mural:
Near stairway up to Heaven. Painted by Jared Smith in 1990-1991.
- 46--Computer room. End of Dabney side of Tunnel. On the original
blue prints this was room 46. The room was square. In these blueprints,
the odd dog leg that points into Dabney was a closet for Dabney. As time
went on, the walls to room 46 were removed and it was turned into a public
lounge. The wall between Blacker and Dabney closet was removed. There
is a persistent rumor that at one point there was a second connection to
Dabney though this area. This probably refers to the original closet door
to Dabney. At a later date the Dabney door was walled off. The original
walls were re-added and the room was converted into a computer room. The
2006 Renovations converted this room back into a student room, but without
the dog leg which was given back to Dabney.
- Power Meridians: At the end of Tunnel near computer room. The
wall at the end of the hall is not entirely rigid. From time to time metal
rebar in the wall pokes out the plaster. This is due to the fact that
Moles and Darbs tend to run down the alley and rebound off the
wall to turn the corner into Dabney. When the holes returned in 1990-1, it
was theorized that the 4 holes in the wall were due to a nexus of power
meridians that was in the wall. An old Sec log entry ( ~1950) mentioned the
holes at the end of Tunnel were back...again. The wall was fixed in the
Summer 1993 Renovations and have not returned.
- Social Closet: At the end of Tunnel by the door to out to Dabney
Lounge. By 1984 this was a small kitchenette with an oven. During the
Renovation of 1986, it was gutted since a bigger kitchen was put in the
middle of Tunnel near room 40. It sat unused for at least 1st term 1986,
then Blacker asked housing if they could use it as a storage closet and if
housing could put a door on it. This was done. By 1989 this was mostly
forgotten. In Spring 1989 it was cleaned
up and turned over to Judith Crothers, one of the RAs, to use as an office.
When Judith (and Doug Flamming) resigned as RAs in summer 1991, the closet
reverted to undergrad use. Social team grabbed it and used it for storage.
Many of Blacker's Historical Documents have been kept here.
- Tunnel has never been part of Dabney: Despite the rumors, Tunnel
has never been part of Dabney. This has been verified via Blacker Hovse
Lists back to 1946. Dabney's Lower 7, however, was part of Blacker for
two years in the late 1960s.
- Tunnel House: Around 1979, the members living in Tunnel were not
happy with Blacker. So show their unhappyness they resigned from Blacker
and formed Tunnel House. In the spring they fielded a candidate for Blacker
President, who lost. Then they all moved off campus.
Area to the side of stairs up to Heaven. Starting around
1993 or 1994, people started using this as a mini lounge. First a small
table was installed for eating. Later a couch was installed. Eventually
Nook got a 286 and network
connection. 1997-98 Nook had a Mac instead of the old 286.
- Mural in Room 37: The Star Wars Death Star rising above Beckman
Auditorium. Painted by Clifford Hicks (fr: 1996) during 2nd term 1997.
The landscape was taken from a photo and correctly represents all of the
buildings seen from that point of view. Painted over in the 2006 Renovations.
(originally lower Frosh)
- Renovations of 2006 painted the walls white and installed dark blue carpet. The
Gates of Heaven mural and the clouds murals were painted over. The
Skyfloor was removed.
- Stairway to Heaven Up from Tunnel Below, the stair case split as
you go up--left into Heaven and right into Dabney's Lower 7. The walls used
to be painted like the cover to a Led Zepplin album that had the song
"Stairway to Heaven" (or so legend has it). The walls were painted black
before fall 1989 and remained so until renovations in the summer of 1993.
- Smoking Porch: Accessible via Heaven or Dabney's Lower 7. This
was the only place in the Hovse were smoking was allowed in 1989. The porch
is mostly unused.
- Sailing Ship Mural
: Wall at top of stairs up from Tunnel and near
entrance to sleeping porch. Painted by Matt Johnson (fr: 1990, grad 1994)
in memory of his grandfather, Irving McClure Johnson, a renowned sailer.
Matt finished the mural in 1995.
- Door at foot of stairs from Purgatory: This is a remnant of the
the first days of women in Blacker. It was part of the plan to lock them
away from the men.
- Gates to Heaven: Slowly being painted by Elisa Chiang (fr: 1997),
but interest has waned. This was painted over in the Renovations of 2006.
- 47 Skyfloor: Modeled after the one in Room 40. Built over winter
break 1998 by Stona Jackson (fr: 1997) and Robin Friedman (fr: 1997). The
skyfloor was removed in the Renovations of 2006.
- Stop: Caution Darbs:
This sign has been attached to the ceiling above the stairs that decend
down to Tunnel and also Y off to Dabney's Lower 7. The sign has been there
since at least the mid-1990s. I don't recall if it was there in 1989.
The sign was taken down for the 2006 Renovation, but still exists.
- Clouds were painted on the walls in 2002. On the south wall was glued a
series of "Raccoon Mario" sprites (from SMB3) on the wall (i.e. coin heaven).
On the north wall, there are sprites of Ness and his party from another game,
"Earthbound". These were painted by Candace Seu (Fr: 2001) and Andrea King
(Fr: 2001). Candace glued on the additions. This was all removed in the
(originally Upper Frosh)
- Renovations of 2006: The alley was painted white and blue carpet
installed. The control panel at the end of the alley was removed.
Purgatory was made into a much larger room with the wall between
Puragtory and the kitchen removed. The ventilation room was removed
and the space added to Purgatory. The mural in room 60 was painted over.
The Chance mural in the Puratory Kitchen was painted
over. The hyperspace bypass was removed.
- Limbo Closet: Across from showers. This is a storage closet.
From time to time it has been cleaned out enough to put in a bed for
guests. Why Limbo? Well it's not in Heaven and not in Hell...
Open area between Hell and he Kitchen. This is the
social area located between Heaven and Hell. Usually a couch is located
here and numerous people passing the time (and/or avoiding homework sets)
- Highway 666 sign.
In Purgatory to the left of the entrance to
Hell. Obtained about 1985
It disappeared during the 1986 renovations and reappears (and was
rehung) in the 1989-1990 school year. U.S. highway 666 existed and was
along the Arizona--New Mexico border and up into Colorado. In the
late 1990s or early 2000s it was renumbered.
- Full alley mural of flames: Orange/red/yellow flames with a
black ceiling. Painted by frosh class of 199
- Some of the flames are
dedicated to those that did flame and have left Caltech. This was painted
over in the 2006 Renovations.
- Flickering red lights: Above and on wall sockets. Programmed with
and oscillator these flicker like candles. Updated during the summer of
1997. The are computer controlled with a "indestructible" control panel at
the north and of the alley. The panel once was a rheostat-ish device from
long ago. (10 knife switches for binary addition of resistances and a
variable control. Old, heavy, and no disk will even scratch it.).
A new set of flickering
lights in 1997 are courtesy Oliver Dial (fr: 1995) and John Chodera (fr: 1995).
This was removed in the 2006 Renovations.
- Location of Alley Dodge Frisbee
- Space Man Spiff
mural: In room 60. Painted by Tim Hochberg (fr: 1985, grad 1989)
circa 1985. Painted over in the 2006 Renovations.
- Hell Ride: Annual event were the frosh barricade themselves in
Hell and play Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyrie" until the upperclassmen
from Blacker and other Houses break in, turn the music off and shower
the frosh. Some years is lasts longer than others. Some years there is
more physical damage than others. So far, no one has died. And that is
a minor miracle. For more detail click here
- Winged man mural:
In Purgatory behind the couch. Painted circa
Spring Break 1996 by Joeseph Carroll (fr: 1995, left 3rd 1998).
The painting is based on a Led Zeppelin album cover.
- Punching Bag: In 1993-4 Bryan Carson hung a punching bag in
Purgatory. The mount point can still be seen. This was removed in the
- Hyperspacial Bypass
Lower right cabinet as you enter the Kitchen.
Direct connection down to Cannes. The bypass was
removed in the 2006 Renovations and a duct now blocks it. See Cannes for
- Chance Card: Painted in Hell
Kitchen right next to the Hyperspatial Bypass. It states "Get out of Hell
Free" and shows the Monopoly guy in a striped prison suit being kicked down
the bypass. This was painted over in the 2006 Renovations.
- Hell Hopscotch: This duct tape
hopscotch board was put down in the 1998-9 academic year. This was
removed by the 2006 Renovations.
14. Hovse O' da Munth Club
255 South Hill, on the south west corner of Hill and Del Mar
Time in Blacker: 1985 on
Current Status: Still part of Blacker
- Munth is architecturally a house of money. It is my guess that Munth is
the original farm/plantation house for the Orange Grove on which Throop
was built. Munth itself reflects that the owner had money. The room
above the kitchen, one that has its own sink and toilet, is
accessed via a back stair that can be closed off from the main staircase
via a door and opens at the bottom into the pantry. This implies
that it was a servant's quarters, most likely a cook/maid. The pantry is
located between the kitchen and the dining room--keeping the two apart.
If you look behind the garage, you will find the remains of a one bedroom
apartment that had it's own bathroom/shower. This most probably was a
cheuffer's apartment. And if you look into the neighboring property, you
will see the barn that once was associated with Munth.
- Blacker acquired Munth in 1985 due to the efforts of Steve "Gumby" Gomez
(fr: 1982, grad 1987) when he was IHC chairman in 1986. Gumby lived
in Munth over the summer. Using funding from Housing he converted the
attic into a nice double.
- The name "Hovse of the Munth Club" comes from the indecision of what
to name the newly acquired House. There were many suggestions, but none
stuck. Those living in Munth then decided to call it "House of the
Munth" and change the name every month. But apathy set in, and it
- Traditionally rooms at Munth were not picked in the normal fashion.
By 1989 the rules were that when opening appeared, the House Manager
(he/she who had lived at Munth the longest) decided with the help from
the other people in Munth who to let into Munth. They would settle
room assignments among themselves. In Spring 1991, with the Housing
crunch in full swing, this practice was questioned. What gave one
group of 10 people more of a claim to Munth than another group of 10?
Thus rooms at Munth became pickable. Supior Seniors picked higher than
Seniors only at Munth at that time. By the end of the 1990s Super
Seniors picked like Seniors.
- Munth is the location of the Blacker Beer can/bottle collection
- The only TV bought with Hovse funds resides at Munth.
- Traditionally, there is party at Munth every Friday the 13th. This
practice started before 1989.
- The sign out front declaring Munth to be a Combat Support Command
was procured in the mid-1980s from the filming of the movie Project
X that was filmed on Campus. The movie starred Matthew Broderick and
a chimp. In the late 1990s, the frame supporting the sign rotted and
fell over. During the summer of 1999, Nathan Scherra (fr: 1996) made
a new frame, cut the sign down some (due to rot) and remouted it.
- Munth was renovated in the 1990s. It is scheduled for a renovation
in 2007 or 2008. At this time the garage and apartment will be
torn down and replaced.
15. Hovse Banzai
270 South Holliston, The South East Corner of South Holliston and Del
Current Status: Unknown -- it was either moved or destroyed in the
mid to late 1990s.
Time in Blacker: 1st term 1984 through 3rd term 1989, and 1990-91
- Called Hovse Banzai the first years, then after a year in the
hands of another House, it returned to Blacker as Rome for a year.
(A faction in the Hovse that called themselves Rome lived there).
16. Slasher Hovse
312 South Holliston
Current Status: Sold and removed from Caltech campus to build a parking
structure in the mid 1990s
Time in Blacker: 1st term 1984 through 3rd term 1990.
- Slasher was the Hovse in Blacker for those that wanted to quietly
Troll away. "Slasher" comes from "Cut Throats" (those whose GPAs are so
good they cut every else's throats). Slasher was one of the first
Houses to be evacuated of undergrads for the upcoming construction.
- The furniture from Slasher made it's way back to Blacker. There was
a large, glass top table that was briefly in the lounge around
Rotation of 1990. There were also 2 "comfy" couches that were arranged
as an L in front of the fireplace. To sit down in them in front of the
fire invited a nap. They lasted about 2 terms before dying. At least
one was burned in the Rickett's pot.
Current Status: Unknown
Time in Blacker: 3rd Term 1984 through at least 3rd term 1985. It was
removed by 3rd term 1988.
222 S. Chester
Current Status: Not part of Blacker
Time in Blacker: 1st term 1992 through 3rd term 1994
- In all of the shuffling of off campus alleys Blacker had this 3
room quad for 2 years.