Martha Cook Building

Change at MCB Part III: Afternoon Tea

If there has been one constant over MCB’s first 100 years, it is probably afternoon tea.  But even this iconic element has undergone changes in practice almost from day one.  It began as a daily routine when the Building opened and was meant to be a mechanism for teaching social skills to the young women of the Building.  While it may have done that too, the young women of the Building chose to make the affair their own and determined it would be a respite from the cares of the academic world and would have “a cozy atmosphere that promotes closer understanding and fellowship,” as it was put in the 1924 Annual.

Pouring tea

Our First Day at Martha Cook Building: From the 1919 Martha Cook Annual


Our First Day At Martha Cook Building

In the fall of 1915, something came to pass to make history at the University of Michigan, and no one realized it more than the Ann Arbor taxi drivers. All traffic seemed directed toward Martha Cook Building, the magnificent new residence hall for women. It was quite overwhelming to have the driver ring the bell and leave us scared Freshmen bag and baggage, facing the great edifice with its unknown promises.

Change at MCB Part II: Replacements and Upgrades

With the 100th anniversary approaching, the Martha Cook Building continues to look like the same dormitory York and Sawyer and the Hayden Company originally created and the one we all remember from our college days. The early 20th century era ambiance is intact, even as it meshes with 21st century student life. However, the beauty and functionality of MCB have continued to the present in part through careful and necessary changes which are a facet of good stewardship.

Drawing from MCB Annual:  The Cook Book, June 1916

Change at MCB Part I: Traditions

Those of us who lived at Martha Cook often think of the Building in terms of traditions and sometimes wince at the thought that the Building or, more precisely, the  life style  at MCB might differ from the halcyon days we remember.  But, as we have discovered, change itself is a Martha Cook tradition

Quidditch in the garden at MCB

Architect's Corner: Venus Down the Hall

All of us Cookies, past and present, take Venus Down the Hall for granted.  Standing ever vigilant, watching our mischievous activities in silence, she endures all the decorations and attires that over 90 years of students have imposed on her.

Venus down the hall at MCB