The White House on Lansdowne campus

Story by Arnie Campbell, Retiree: Health &Human Services 1981-90, Continuing Education Services 1990-94

“Once upon a time on a street named Argyle on a campus called Lansdowne there was a house. It was old, and it was white. Which is why we called it the White House. It had seven rooms on the main floor, a dank basement that only Building Services went into and a creepy attic, where no one went. The house was our office space for over a decade. We were Human Services faculty and staff.

The White House, Lansdowne Campus

The college bought houses along Argyle in the 1970s to accommodate construction of the Fisher Building. Two were leftover. One became a temporary office for Neil Murphy, Director of Health & Human Services, and Cheryl Foord – H&HS Office Manager. The other was the White House. Wilna Thomas was the first Chair of Human Services, a collection of small programs: Social Services Worker; Mental Retardation Worker (later Handicapped Services Worker); Early Childhood Education and Care and Human Services Diploma. 

When I joined the college in 1981 the White House was “home” to Lily Maxwell and Christine McLean (HSW) Nora Lupton and Denise Jessop (ECEC), Larry Dettweiler and John Conklin (Psych) and myself as instructor (SSW & HSD) and department chair. Donna Baliz was the secretary. When Recreation Leadership was added to Human Services, Angela Henry and Ron Kirstein moved in. Both ECEC and HSW had many part-time instructors who used the White House. We never had enough space; sharing was the norm.

By 1990 the building was gone, replaced by the Lansdowne library.

Two postscripts:

When time came to demolish the White House an auction was held for anything worth salvaging. I end-up with the kitchen sink and the contents of the bathroom; items eventually incorporated into my house.

Rumour has it that rats, now homeless with the demolition, were responsible for the chewed vehicle wiring in the Dawson parking lot!”

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