From the Archives with Byron Hanson: September-October 2015

Along with the many stimulating presentations of our 88th summer came the joy and surprise of greeting new visitors and countless alumni. All were impressed with our newer facilities mixed in and around the landmarks they remember; only once in awhile did they ask what happened to those that they cannot find. In truth, very few such buildings are gone entirely; most have been moved, refurbished, or transformed for another purpose.

The “Little Red Schoolhouse” probably holds the record for being the “most moved.” It was originally built east of the highway near the present pedestrian crossing in the 1880s, was relocated three decades later to near the present Scholarshop and has been moved northward at least three times. The Interlochen Bowl was erected early in 1928 and served as the only large performance site for the first twenty summers of Camp until Kresge arose in 1948. The Bowl was greatly enlarged for the summer of 1953, and Kresge likewise in 1964. In common with the Bonisteel Library, each building incorporated a large measure of its original form in the second version: the original Bowl remains to this day within the 1953 addition; the Kresge Auditorium stage house similarly remains almost intact, minus two staircases, one of which had provided a memorable entrance for Carolyn Klein in the title role of Princess Ida.

The 2006 Bonisteel Library has revealed itself to be a “diamond in the rough,” transforming the utilitarian 1963 Jessie V. Stone Recreation Building into one of most popular gathering places on campus. That distinction at one time might have belonged to the modest 1936 gift of The American Bandmasters Association—a building whose plaque read "Visitors' Headquarters, Donated by The American Bandmasters' Association." Before 1990, this building was located south of McWhorter Dormitory, where the gazebo is now. Seldom was it identified by the donor’s name, but since it housed at various times the ticket office, the program office, the concert manager and the Melody Freeze, everyone had a reason to go there for one thing or another.

The “ghosts” are many: Giddings Hall, the “Temple of Song” that Mr. Giddings donated in 1933 to be the center of summer choral activity. Like many structures of that era it was built of fieldstone and it shared their common fate of being impossible to pick up and move. It was broken up to provide the space for Mott Language Arts Rotunda, the Scholarshop, and the east extension of the Maddy Building.

When the Academy opened in 1962, the Camp continued to grow, as did audiences for the Arts Festival. The need for more space on our central campus led us to relocate most of our wooden scholarship lodges, staff housing, teaching studios and classrooms farther from the center of activity. The growth of the Arts Festival required better access for large semis and tour buses. The functions of the music library distribution center and the studios for harp, double bass and low brass behind the Bowl had largely been replaced by improved facilities so the entire cluster was removed and the semi drivers no longer needed to back up the entire length of Frederick Stock Avenue …

… and that brings to mind the summer of 1960 or thereabouts, when someone had the idea to name every path and byway on campus for some musician who had visited the Camp at some time in the past. Each was identified by a painted board with a picture at one end and a short biography at  the other. There were at least a dozen or more of these named walks.

Some of the names were logical choices, and recognizing Stock, Percy Grainger, and Howard Hanson for the multiple summers they appeared made sense, but to honor some whose names were only vaguely familiar to the most knowledgeable teachers provided humor at every opportunity! The last road in this campaign recognized Eugene Ormandy’s arrival with his Philadelphia Orchestra for the inaugural Interlochen Arts Festival in 1964, by which time all but the Grainger and Stock signs were long gone, though the humor remained. Does anybody miss Henri Verbrugghen Walk? I think it may have been the short sidewalk between Fine Arts and the Admissions Office!

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