First-Year Gets Scoop on Taylor Hall Bell System and Fallout Shelter

By Purnell T. Cropper | March 4, 2011

By Jordyn Austin ’14


Arcadia University is in a perpetual state of progress and growth—no doubt you’ve noticed that little construction project taking place in the center of campus. Yet, even with newness springing up everywhere, it’s important not to forget about the past, especially a history as rich and unique as Arcadia’s.

There are some fascinating artifacts detailing Arcadia’s past that can still be found on and around campus. The castle is an obvious example, but there are also more hidden stories and relics.

Take, for instance, Taylor Hall. Originally the Classroom Building, it opened in 1962. Back then classes were organized around a universal bell system. The bell was called the Time Clock and is still located in the Registrar’s Office on the first floor of Taylor, though it’s hidden now.

Also, you’ll recall that the Cold War was taking place during the 60s and American fears of nuclear warfare with Russia were at a fever pitch. “When you put up a building in the sixties, it had to be compliant with bomb drills,” says Bill Elnick, Registrar.

The basement of Taylor housed a fallout shelter, complete with a ventilation system, tins of crackers, barrels of water, water filters and other survival instruments. It could hold about a hundred people. Other buildings with basement shelters included Boyer Hall, Heinz Hall, Kistler Hall, Dilworth Hall, Grey Towers Castle and the original library.

Fortunately, no nuclear disaster befell the United States, and the basement of Taylor Hall has been converted into storage space. The shelter supplies were cleaned out  recently.