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Facts, Myths & Legends of TCNJ’s Campus

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.


Quimby’s Prairie: For those of you who have never even heard of Quimby’s Prairie, this is the clearing of land between Green Hall and Lake Ceva. As legend has it, this clearing used to be filled with trees until John S. Quimby, the former business manager of The College in the 1930s and 40s, ordered them to be cut down so that he could spy on his wife, who lived behind Lake Ceva, from his office in Green Hall. Whether or not the rumor about his wife is true, Quimby did in fact order the trees to be cut down.

Campus lakes: Many people don’t really think twice about the lakes on our campus other than when they want to sit near them when the weather gets nicer, but there’s actually a good deal of history behind with them. There used to be two islands in Lake Sylva, one of which was owned by Phi Alpha Delta fraternity. Large boulders marked the island with the organization’s Greek letters painted on them in maroon. Members used the island frequently for exercise, rituals and even parties until the 1980’s when the islands were removed to correct flooding issues.

Both of the lakes were also used for ice-skating in the wintertime when they would freeze. It is said that many students owned ice skates and would frequently use them. Students also used the lake for recreational boating.

Haunted Kendall Hall: I’m sure everyone has heard the ghost stories of Kendall Hall, but what’s the truth behind it? A female graduate of Trenton State College was, in fact, murdered in Kendall Hall on Sept. 4, 1977. Her name was Sigrid Stevenson, and she was 25-years-old at the time of her death, and she would be 62 if she were still alive today. Her body was discovered bludgeoned to death on the stage of Kendall Hall next to the piano and hidden by the piano cover. To this day, the murder still has not been solved.

Haunted Holman Hall: This academic building also had quite a scary reputation prior to its demolition. The rumors of this haunted building stem from the land’s origins of being a Native American burial ground from the Lenni Lenape tribe. So even though Holman is no longer here, the new STEM building will be soon built in its place and who knows what future ghost stories might stem from it!

Dorms & Dining Halls: TCNJ is always changing around housing, as most students know, but some of the older housing options might be surprising. For example, Bliss Hall was the first-ever dormitory building for females before being converted to an academic building and ABE was the all-male counterpart for Bliss at the time.

Decker Hall was also an all female dorm building, and the building’s basement was home to a dining hall prior to the erection of Eickhoff Hall, which was originally known as “Community Commons.” The first official dining hall on campus at TCNJ was in Phelps Hall, which was the name of the original student center; way before the Phelps Hall apartment building that current students are familiar with. Phelps Hall also contained an on-campus bar known as “The Pub” which was similar to The Rat that students frequent today.

Jessa Gianotti is a senior Journalism and Professional Writing major at The College of New Jersey with minors in Marketing and Pre-Law.