A Clarkson Mosaic - page 329

lower than those charged downtown: 20 cents for a 12-ounce glass and 15 cents for an eight-
ounce glass.
Divided into a game room with one billiard and three pool tables, the main floor also
had a lounge with comfortable furniture where a student could find solace to think, dream, read,
or talk to a date. The second floor was divided into meeting rooms of various sizes; the top
floor housed a museum containing articles relevant to Clarkson: the Clarkson family, the
College, and the area.
On October 12, President Graham and Student Council Vice President Guy Jamesson
'70 jointly dedicated the building when they cut the ribbon during Parent's Weekend. Prof.
Robert John McGill led the Clarkson Singers in several selections, and after a few speeches of
appreciation for this much needed addition for student use on the hill campus, visitors, guests,
and students adjourned to the rathskeller for free beer.
Built by Augustus Clarkson (1802-55), the uncle of Thomas S. Clarkson, after whom
the University was named, it was used as a residence for him and his family. Even though both
his wife, Selina, and his two young children had died in less than two years, he continued to
live there with his second wife, Emily McVicar. She bore him a daughter, Frances, in 1853, and
she and her daughter continued to reside there after the death of Augustus in 1855. Late in the
century, after the death of Emily, Lavinia Clarkson refurbished the building as a playhouse for
neighborhood children who were invited to enjoy the toys and children's library she provided.
After the Homestead burned and the Clarkson sisters moved to New York City in 1909,
Woodstock stood vacant until 1935 when it was reopened as the Cooperative Boarding House.
Known as the Woodstock Club, this old building housed 25 men, 20 freshmen, three
sophomores, one junior, and one senior. Mrs. Rhoades, mother-in-law of Prof. Bill Farrisee,
was the house mother, and received help from a house committee. This committee was
composed of one member from each class: Fayette Van Zile '36, senior, was chairman, with
Robert Smith '37, Paul Slate '38, and John Plunkett '39 composing the rest of the committee.
Each resident had his assigned chores according to the following schedule set up by this
committee. .b2
Those whose earliest class was 9:00 did the breakfast work, those having classes at 2:00
or later did the lunch chores, and those not having done work that day made and cleaned up the
dinner. Each resident had approximately five duties to perform during the week. In addition to
the housework, the men cut their own firewood from the Clarkson estate with permission. This
same spirit of cooperation carried over into the academic work. Those in trouble in a course
would receive the help of others in the club, resulting in the overall average of Woodstock
being higher that the average for the school. This club remained in existence until 1943, when
the building was closed to residents. It was used for storage for another 10 years.
In 1954, John O'Brien, director of Purchasing for Clarkson, received permission from
Don McIntyre, treasurer of the College, to move his family into the building to stop the
vandalism which was beginning to destroy it. The O'Briens lived there for 18 months and were
followed by Bill Cole, custodian of the gym, and his family.
John O'Brien's son, Tim, describes the house he remembered living in as a small child.
It had a large kitchen with baking ovens in the basement, and a rope-driven dumbwaiter leading
up to the dining room on the first floor. Off the kitchen was a storeroom, behind which was a
root cellar. Behind Woodstock itself were three barns, each of which had huge interconnecting
cavernous cellars made of finely crafted interlocking and arching stonework. These resembled
tunnels, leading to the mistaken myth that they were part of the nationwide "underground
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