Old Music Hall

Leslie Moore

Built in 1914 in the Collegiate Gothic style, the Music Hall stands above a section of Carleton’s now off-limits tunnel system. Connecting most campus buildings constructed before the 1980s, the heated tunnels were used as paths by students and staff during the cold Minnesota winters. Starting in the 1960s, students began painting the tunnels’ bare cement walls with colorful murals, inside jokes, signatures, and occasional off-color comments.

One summer in the 1970s, student workers for the music department, sick of walking past the offensive comments, decided to take matters into their own hands. They painted over all offensive marks with the names and dates of famous composers. They also painstakingly painted the first sixteen bars of the first violin part of Bach’s Brandenberg Concerto no. 1. Unfortunately, they chose the wrong death date for Bach. Soon after the next school year began, another student noticed their mistake, corrected it in red, and jokingly wrote, “C-, see me!”

Although the tunnels are now closed, the Music Hall continues as one of several hubs for musical activities on campus.