A tribute to Baker Hall



Baker Hall, pictured above, was built in 1936 and was demolished on March 28, 2014.

JIM SANDERS, Guest Writer

UNI alum Jim Sanders pays tribute to Baker Hall

UNI alum Jim Sanders, class of 1971, contacted the Northern Iowan and asked us to publish one of his poems. A beautiful poem tributed to a building now lost to campus, he wrote this message in regards to his poem below:

“Don’t ask me why, but one morning I awoke and realized that I must put something down on paper about the place, as I lived there for two academic years–1967-69–and it made an indelible impression.  Buildings can exert this kind of force on people.  If you wish to run it in your paper, I’m sure there will be at least a few who will fondly remember the place, and there really ought to be a memorial to Baker Hall, written by a resident, as we knew it from the inside out.”

Baker Hall elegy

Art Deco flourishes

And institutional tile

Spiral staircases

And solid brick walls

Built-in desks, closets, too

Sinks in the corner, with mirrors above

Radiators clank, clanking

Scholars to sleep

In bunk beds positioned

On hardwood floors

Head Residents walking

The halls, eyes peeled

While columns of students

Snake toward the Commons

Eager for dinner

And coeds to woo.

At night after classes

And on into morning

Crowded sessions convene

In rooms full of questions

Is there a God?  Why is there evil?

Can humans survive

In a nuclear age?

Nothing resolves and with

Argument exhausted

The session winds down

As the sun comes up

Off to class red-eyed and groggy

To doze through lectures

And nap at noon.

Housing generations

Preparing their futures

The dormitory provided

Decades of service

Unsung and stately

Yet without advocates willing

To stay the force

Of a modernizing campus 

A wrecking ball’s arc

Reduced Baker to dust.