The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

The Brande and Entropy house show off their age-old characters, Part I

The Brande knows its ABCs. Located at 1001 4th Ave, the building is home this year to eleven current and past Grinnell students. Not wasting space on much of a lobby, the Brande has a musky smell and a thick dark cherry wood handrail lead visitors up the stairs to six apartments labeled “A” through “F.” Like the letter on each door, every apartment is unique, but still belongs to a larger entity.

Brand Cribs
Brita Higgins ’12, left, and Marianne Olney-Hammel ’11 enjoy the plant life that resides in the Brande - Daniel Penny

“Joey [Galina ’11] and I looked at [apartment] F last and we chose it because it was the most colorful,” said Andrea Leiser ’11. “That’s pretty much the exclusive reason why we picked it.”

For some, the opportunity to live in what, according its current inhabitants, is one of the oldest buildings in Grinnell has been a long time coming.

“I actually decided I wanted to live here first year because they were such nice apartments and I liked the hardwood floors and the fireplaces,” said Marianne Olney-Hamel ’11, who lives in Apartment C.

Each apartment features high ceilings, plenty of windows, screened-in-porches and bulky bungalow style molding matching the dark tone of the main staircase’s railing.

Carolyn Wright ’11 lives in the “porch,” essentially a sunroom, of apartment F and this past Tuesday’s stormy weather revealed something new about her room.

“I discovered that the windows aren’t completely sealed, so [the rain] didn’t seep onto me, but it was just kind of seeping onto the ledge,” Wright said. “It was fine—it is waterproof, for the most part. It was really nice to wake up and just watch the wind.”

Now that the residents have settled into their respective living spaces, they have begun to branch out.

“We had a really fun potluck where we drank a lot of wine and other spirits,” Olney-Hamel said.

The reaching out goes beyond just the walls of the Brande.

“I kind of wanted to throw a Halloween something,” Olney-Hamel. “Either do a pre-Harris or a post-Harris … we should get a keg or something.”

The planning was clearly a collaborative effort.

“We were thinking of a Haunted House,” Wright said. “Let’s do both and then we can avoid Harris.”

The group knows that the Brande holds its own special place in the Grinnell party scene and they hope to continue to keep the tradition.

“It’s always sort of been its own thing, not necessarily rager party place but a good wine and dine place,” said Libby Masback ’11, who lives in apartment D.

They are still in the planning process of what could soon become a new tradition at the Brande. As of now details are fairly secretive, though Wright did offer a bit of a teaser.

“We are in the process of planning an epic decade-progressive party that will take place in the future,” Wright said.
All the rooms come fully furnished and decorated, so after many years of college students living in the building, some interesting trinkets have accumulated.

“I think one of the coolest things about these apartments, at least the one we inherited, is [that] it is such a product of Grinnell communalism,” Masback said. “There are just so many things that we’ve inherited from so many generations of Grinnellians, especially artwork. We have this huge painting from ’72 that I found stuffed behind a bookcase … in the bathroom in the hallway, we have a mural that people who live here have been adding on to for a long time.

Even though we are only one-fourth of the way into the academic year, the Brande has already had an effect on the post-college student.

“When Hugh [Redford ‘10] and I have been talking about where we want to live when I graduate. … I’ve been like we need to get an old place, it needs to be old and be somewhat run down because that means it’s not sterile; it has character,” Leiser said.

Regardless of the leaky windows or the loud trains that pass by, the tenants still consider their home pretty exceptional.

“My parents joke that I should enjoy this because I won’t have another apartment like this for 20 years,” Masback said. “They’re such special apartments in a way and it’s such a treat to be able to live here at our age.”

Read Part II

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *