What’s in a Name?

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Marie Mount, c. 1940-1950

On this day in 1967, the Board of Regents voted to rename Margaret Brent Hall at the eastern end of McKeldin Mall for Marie Mount, who came to campus in 1919 as the head of the Department of Home and Institution Management and served as the dean of the College of Home Economics from 1925 until her death in 1957, with “quiet dedication and unswerving loyalty,” as the Board noted at the time of her passing.  The building was constructed in 1940, and it was originally named Margaret Brent Hall after the colonial Marylander who was the first American woman to request  the right to vote.

UMD President Wilson Elkins noted in a tribute to Dean Mount that he was

“impressed by her quiet efficiency, her ability to carry out the duties assigned to the office of the Dean and, above all, her ability to inspire confidence. She had an abundance of common sense which was apparent to all who sough her judgment on important questions.”

The re-naming came at the request of a group of alumni from the college who felt strongly that Miss Mount’s legacy should be honored in a very visible way.

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Request for re-naming, 1966

At one time, Miss Mount supposedly lived in the building in a special dean’s apartment there.  She was much loved by her students, and University President Wilson Elkins declared in a 1957 memorial to the dean that “The character of Marie Mount will live forever.”

Dean Marie Mount does just that.  Night watchmen and building inhabitants in the late 1970s reported sensing other-worldly presences, doors opening and shutting on their own, toilets flushing when no one was there, and matches blowing out when all the doors and windows were closed.  Could these activities be Dean Mount reminding us of her everlasting presence? It’s said that on dark and stormy nights, as the wind blows through the building, and the rain pounds on the window panes, she can be heard vigorously playing a piano. Next big thunderstorm, Marie Mount Hall is the place to be!

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Marie Mount Hall

 

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Spooky UMD!

Over the last couple of years, we have featured a number of ghostly tales passed down through the generations of UMD students here on Terrapin Tales, so this October we thought we’d finish out the list and share some old favorites with you too! Check back each Wednesday during October for a spooky story, and see what we save for our Halloween post! You can find previous years’ installments elsewhere on our blog, and you can even follow along on the university’s ghost tour. Be sure to use Google Chrome when you are out and about for the best results!

Our first installment for 2015 features three of the shorter ghost tales. First up, Easton Hall. This dormitory on North Hill was constructed in 1965 and named for the county seat of Talbot County, Maryland. It is allegedly haunted by the ghost of a student who committed suicide in the dorm during the early 1990s.

Easton Hall, c. 1965
Easton Hall, c. 1965

Closer to the center of campus, you will find two other haunted sites, Tawes Hall and The Stamp.

Postcard of the Tawes Fine Arts Building, 1960s
Postcard of the Tawes Fine Arts Building, 1960s

The Tawes Fine Arts Building, named for J. Millard Tawes, governor of Maryland from 1958 to 1966,  was completed in 1965 and  served as the home for all the performing arts on campus before the 2001 opening of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. It houses a number of specialized facilities, including a large theater, and is currently the home for the Department of English; the Comparative Literature, Professional Writing, and Creative Writing programs; UMTV; and the Writing Center. Over the years, within the walls of Tawes Theater, students have performed such creepy and disturbing plays as “Dracula,” “Frankenstein,” “The Crucible,” and of course the most notorious of haunted and ill-fated plays, “Macbeth.” Footsteps echo throughout the theater when no one else is there. This presence, as well as practical jokes and other unexplained occurrences, are all attributed to a mischievous ghost named Mortimer. Read more about Mortimer, in a March 1983 Diamondback article here and here.

Named in 1983 for the university’s first Dean of Women, Adele Hagner Stamp, the Stamp Student Union originally opened in 1955. The Union serves over 16,000 visitors per day and is home to many specialized facilities that serve the campus community—the bookstore, a bank branch, bowling alley, movie theater, food court, Mailboxes, Etc., large meeting rooms, and the offices for numerous student organizations. The Union has undergone numerous expansions and renovations, creating a vast maze of various floors, oddly connected hallways, strange stairways, and confusing floor plans that lead visitors to unexpected destinations. While navigating the building, visitors have encountered elevators that move suddenly on their own and abrupt, unexplained cold spots that can chill one to the bone. Many attribute these odd occurrences to spirits that haunt the building.

Adele H. Stamp Student Union. Photo by the Mavises.
Adele H. Stamp Student Union. Photo by the Mavises.

You can check out all 14 spooky sites on campus using the online Campus Ghost Tour, which you can access using Google Chrome.