Friendly Hall

Friendly Hall

  • <p>Friendly Hall was the UO's first dorm</p>

Today Friendly Hall houses classrooms and faculty offices. However, when it was completed in 1893, it was the university’s first dormitory. Like other early Black UO students, Bobby Robinson and Charles Williams, the university’s first Black student athletes, initially were forbidden from living in campus dorms.

In 1974, Williams told The Register-Guard, “It was a Ku Klux town and they thought there might be trouble from the townspeople. We accepted that.”

After their football teammates petitioned for the pair to live on campus, Robinson and Williams moved into Friendly Hall as sophomores in 1927. (Learn more about Robinson and Williams in the Strides for Social Justice UO Athletics Route.)

Friendly Hall also was the workplace of Wiley Griffon (1867-1913), the UO’s first Black employee. In the late 1890s Griffon worked as a janitor at Friendly Hall. He arrived in Eugene in 1890 when Oregon’s exclusion laws barred anyone who wasn’t white from living in the state.

Griffon had been the driver of the town’s first streetcar service, a mule-powered car that ran from the Southern Pacific Railway station in downtown Eugene to the university. After the streetcar service shut down, he took the job at the UO. (Learn more about Griffon in the Strides for Social Justice South Eugene route.)

  • <p>Artwork at the Eugene downtown library </p>
  • <p>A group photo with Wiley Griffon outside Friendly Hall  (Lane County History Museum)</p>

Directions to next stop

Head west on E. 13th Avenue, turn right on Agate Street, then left on E. 15th Avenue, back to the UO Black Cultural Center.