One of the most charming rooms in the Idle Hour mansion, back in the late 1960’s, was the student lounge. When the Vanderbilt’s lived in the mansion this room was known as the Billiard Room or Smoking Room and it was meant for gentlemen to use for their after dinner recreation. The room itself had two distinguishing features: a large limestone fireplace
and a carved oak screen that separated the room from the hallway.
This room was completely lost in the 1974 fire. Part of it became Room 110 in the restored mansion, now known as Fortunoff Hall. The other part of it is now the entrance to Fortunoff Hall that faces the Racanelli Center.
From the interviews we’ve been conducting, we know that the lounge was a home away from home where students studied, slept, watched Star Trek, and played a few hands in the never-ending bridge game run by Prof. Sprecher. In late 1969 it was also where a group of students displayed a Viet Cong flag in a test of the College’s “open campus” policy of allowing all points of view.
We would love to hear about your memories of this room while it was the student lounge! Please use the comment space below.
View a slideshow of the student lounge through the years.