Best Residence Hall


Building Name
Best Residence Hall
Eastern's enrollment grew rapidly in the post-World War II years, resulting in high demand for on campus housing. After Goddard Residence Hall opened in 1955 construction began almost immediately on a new housing complex. This time, plans called for four buildings surrounding a central dining facility. When completed, the new complex would contain space for approximately 1,200 students in the geographical heart of campus. The new residence halls were originally intended for women. Builders hoped to complete the complex by 1958. Downing Hall opened first in 1957, and Buell Hall followed in 1958. Best Hall and Wise Hall did not open until the early to mid-1960s. Buell and Downing could each house approximately 300 students. Wise, when completed, included recreation and laundry rooms, and meeting rooms, and housed 322 students. Each of the buildings was named for an influential professor at Eastern. Estelle Downing taught English, 1898-1937, Bertha G. Buell taught History, English Literature, and Political Science, 1899-1937; Margaret E. Wise, a first grade teacher-trainer during her tenure from 1893-1939 and also served as Director of Placement, 1927-1939; and Martha Best who was a professor of Biology and Bacteriology, 1924-1952.
Namesake Biography
Born in Lapeer County, on September 26, 1892, Martha Best was the sixth daughter born to Margaret and Edward Best. She spent seven years in the elementary schools of Corinth, Ontario, Canada, and then resumed her education at the Lapeer County Schools, upon returning to Lapeer County from Ontario, at the age of twelve. At the age of sixteen, Best began a seven year teaching stretch in the Lapeer County Schools, and enrolled at Michigan State Normal College in the summer of 1916. As a student, Best was a laboratory assistant to Professors Mary Goddard and Milton Hover. She also served, for one year, as assistant in the Natural Science Department at the University of Michigan, where she graduated with Bachelor of Science degree in 1921. Following graduation, Best took the position of principal at Redford High School, and remained there for two years. In the fall of 1924, Best began teaching botany and bacteriology in the Natural Science Department at Michigan State Normal College, where she rose steadily through the ranks, from instructor to associate professor. Martha Best retired from Eastern Michigan University in the summer of 1952, leaving behind a legacy of meticulous scientific standards, and her gentle but determined prodding. Martha Best died, December 30, 1961.
Building Namesake
Martha Best, Professor of Biology and Bacteriology, 1924-1952
Year Constructed
Building Functions
Student Dormitory
Swanson & Associates, Bloomfield Hills
Palmer Smith Company, Detroit
Original Cost
Architectural Style
Square Footage
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Item sets
Campus Buildings