If the walls of the Log could talk, one can only imagine the tales they would tell. Within its friendly confines, generations of Williams students and alumni mingled over frosty beverages and snacks, blew off steam at the foosball table, celebrated homecoming victories or settled in for Monday Night Football. Friends were made and future spouses were met.
And many more memories will be made when the Log opens its doors in late fall following an eight-month, $4.5 million renovation and restoration project.
Among the updates are vastly improved energy efficiency, a new bar, and an upgraded kitchen, with food service to be provided by Hops & Vines.
Contractors replaced the classic New England clapboard on the Log’s exterior to insulate and weatherize the building. A solar array, installed on the new metal roof, will meet approximately 25 percent of the facility’s electric needs. And in warmer weather, students and visitors can enjoy seating on the rebuilt deck on the building’s south side.
Inside, wood-burning fireplaces were upgraded to natural gas. The bar in the West College room now faces the fireplace and has a rough-hewn West College beam as its foot rail. The Dodge Room will feature space for small musical or spoken-word performances. The Black Room and Club Room, near the Spring Street entrance, will offer gathering spaces for studying or meetings away from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and bar. The Black Room also contains some original wood panels have been restored.
The character of the Log remains. Tabletops with the carved names and initials of past students were salvaged and will be used in the West College and Dodge Rooms. Murals throughout the building were preserved. The original wood floors, some featuring planks salvaged after a 1952 fire gutted West College, are all refinished. And the expansive collection of college memorabilia and the old drum light fixtures remain.
There are even salvaged ceiling boards from the old bathrooms, where students wrote their names, mounted on the wall near the coat check, with the hope that students will continue to add their names for years to come.
Built in 1941 by Kenneth Reynolds, Class of 1916, The Log was donated to the college as an alumni house. Through the years, it’s served as a gathering place for students and alumni, featuring a bar, snack bar, performance space and meeting area.
The renovation, too, is funded completely by alumni gifts—almost exclusively from those who graduated in the 1980s. Overseeing the project has been general contractor Albert Cummings of Williamstown.
Photos by Derek Galvin ’18