Grace Dodge Hall: The Household Arts Building

| August 2, 2010

The opening of the Household Arts Building in 1909 marked the professionalization of the field of what was to become Home Economics. The departments of Domestic Arts, Sciences and Administration were combined to form the School of Household Arts and Sciences intended primarily to train teachers of these subjects but also administrators of large domestic and institutional households as well as related fields of hospital management, dietetics, interior decoration and laundry management.  According to the Teachers College Record, it was hoped that the new field would open opportunities for women as much as the engineering college had opened opportunities for men. Novel facilities included a laundry laboratory; cooking laboratories; work rooms for the study of textiles and clothing; and a model six-room city apartment.

The Household Arts building was the gift of Teachers College founder and then treasurer, Grace Hoadley Dodge, and came to be known as Dodge Hall. The building was designed to blend with the collegiate Gothic style of the rest of the college’s buildings and located on 121st Street adjacent to Macy Hall.  But the clock tower main entrance faced south with a view of The Grove of Columbia University across 120th Street.