The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, September 28, 1998, Image 3

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Page 3 • Monday, September 28, 1998
mfhancellor's home
stands use in entertaining
S c fn iversity guests
n 1982, before anyone had thought of The Zone, a parking
garage on West Campus or the new Library Annex, the Uni
versity was expanding in other ways. The chancellor’s
home, which was approved for construction that year, is an
example of A&M adapting to fit the needs of its staff,
^^ihe chancellor at the time, Arthur Hansen, was the first to live
i tie only new staff home constructed on campus since early this
PK'Mury, when the University stopped providing staff housing.
J PP orlt ®n July 31, 1984, the one-story ranch house located at Num-
Hitdoot , ei p ne Reed Drive was given a name, and plans were made for
|| Mrlansens to move into the Chester J. & Billie Jean Reed House
1 i al matter of days.
|_he home was named after the Reeds following a $1 million
ation providing for the construction costs of the home. Con-
:tion had begun in August 1983, and less than a year later
ahead of schedule, the new residence was ready to be in-
ted. The official announcement came on July 31 when the
sens had made plans “to move in on Monday,” according to
hide in The Battalion from that year.
he home, which some may know only as “that building off
eorge Bush” is very large and features numerous rooms for
ntirtaining, as well as a catering kitchen to provide food for
■He events. Most of the space, however, is not considered a
ed, tri lonhe but part of the administrative realm of the University.
1996, Nancy Hansen, wife of the former chancellor, said
first i»thirds of the house was not their personal space. She also
nghe iad things to say about the furnishings of the new home.
rebtior.HMy feeling is that both presidents’ and chancellors’ homes
he has Aonld be bare-boned. The people after us may not like the fur-
ordeahBre that’s here now, and after all, people our age generally
nee to |vb their own furniture,” she said in a Battalion article.
■rom the outside, the home is different from other buildings
meap ifltampus constructed during that time.
searing?■he ranch-style home is built around a scenic courtyard and
come ountain that were donated by August and Lottie Bering. Bering
jenuint |as a member of the Class of ’35 and wanted to contribute to
ake th helnew home in some way.
i imme: Bitting on a drive off Jersey Street between Wellborn and FM
e,” the 818, the building sports other unique features. The copper roof,
you si: tooden shutters, gypsum board walls and wooden floors help
liter, he home stand out in little ways that some may not notice,
s remarl. Bvhen the house was being constructed it was suggested that
riter Th: pond be built to provide easy access for angling because Chan-
shed i iellpr Hansen was a great fan of bass fishing,
tot asC Bat Olsen, Class of ’23, provided $200,000 for the fishing pond,
? end oi B oversaw the construction himself. It was stocked by the
;ing touiiildlife& Fisheries Department with the understanding that test-
andleuMwould be performed occasionally by the students. Olsen is
Clintoi aid to have worked on the pond himself with his own bulldoz-
jlifornl nnorder to avoid the red tape involved in an “official” project.
hen fev if
:rat Gai
I to tins#
Jov. G
e separ.
;onio a®!
nd him
the intea
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ut Resif
v was ath
see Chancellor on Page 4.
Story by
Gray Whitten
Story by
Stephen Wells
‘ Traditional’
Eric Newnam/Thk Battalion
The living area of the Texas A&M President’s home features much of the same furniture
featured in the first president’s home. The first home was destroyed in a fire in 1963.
Presidential residence
houses pieces
of A&M s past
F rom the outside, it is an ordinary looking home. It could
be the residence of any successful professional. How
ever, for a house with pieces of furniture dating from
over a century ago, it is easy to overlook the history of
the understated University president’s home.
There have, in fact, been two president’s homes on the Texas
A&M campus. The first, built by Lawrence Sullivan Ross in 1893,
was described as “an ordinary house for the well-to-do Texan to
build for his family.” This first presidential home stood until
1963. At 70 years old, it was the oldest building on campus and
home to 14 University presidents.
In January 1963, a fire started in the vicinity of a fireplace
and soon consumed the entire building. The Rudder family, who
lived in the house at the time, enlisted the help of hundreds of
students staying on campus over the Christmas break to save
their belongings and help contain the blaze. By morning, the
fire had been extinguished.
The next day, Margaret Rudder, wife of Earl Rudder, thanked
those involved.
“I would like to give my sincere gratitude to the students,
neighbors and firemen who braved the fire and the smoke to
save our belongings,” she said. “If it had not been for the kind
help of so many persons, we would have lost everything. ”
The results of those volunteers can still be seen today. Visi
tors can see almost all of the furniture saved from the fire on the
first floor of the president’s current home, Sally Bowen, wife of
University President Ray Bowen, said.
“Actually, I would say almost 90 percent of the furniture in
the downstairs area of the house is from the old home that
burned down,” Bowen said. “The students who carried out the
furniture saved the tables, the chairs and even the piano in the
living room.”
Shortly after the fire, the remains of the old home were de
molished and the Rudders were forced to move into the Board
of Directors’ quarters, with five children and no kitchen to
cook in.
The Rudders were forced to live under these conditions for
some time because a property dispute kept R.L. Hunter, assis
tant state 4-H club leader, from buying the home he was going
to rent to the Rudder family for temporary housing.
The dispute was settled when the Board of Directors stepped
in to purchase the house until a replacement could be built on
the Texas A&M campus ; The site they picked for the building
was a 2.3-acre spread just behind Kyle Field where the presi
dent’s current home is.
In the tradition of Aggies helping Aggies, the new 7,000-
square-foot, five-bedroom and four-bathroom home would be
built for only $60,000. A great deal of the building materials were
donated by friends and former students.
see President on Page 4.
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Pizza will be served.
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