Before the Enger House in North Avondale garnered inclusion in the architectural tome, Great Houses of the Queen City, it had another life: From 1958-1991, the home was known as Marion Hall and housed 35-40 students a year. While having that many college students living there for more than three decades would usually destroy a building, “The Enger House and its large property remain virtually intact in spite of its former use,” writes Walter Langsam, the book’s author.
The grandiosity of the house and its Beaux-Arts Classical style not only impressed Langsam but made quite an impression on its one-time residents as well.
“Marion Hall spoiled me in a certain way,” says Tom Kuhlman, a 1961 graduate who teaches English and American architecture at Creighton University. “I chose an Avondale-type neighborhood to live in, and for 21 years have been in a house built about the same vintage as Marion.”
Kuhlman admits, however, that his experience there was not completely academic. Aside from the Oxford-style lessons given by live-in priests, he says Marion residents participated in classic college-style pranks: dumping water onto Brockman Hall students walking below; a student wearing a green priest’s robe from the Marion sacristy to a bar on St. Patrick’s Day; a Jesuit demanding the removal of a bra from a snow woman.
Kuhlman and his fellow Marion Hallers are getting the chance to revisit their alma domus during Reunion Weekend in June. Following the sale of the building by the University, the house became a private residence again, and the present owners are opening the home to its former occupants for a tour and lunch.