The Wallace Residence Center cafeteria, known as Bob's Place, is named after longtime cafeteria staff member Bob Krueger.
It was Krueger's job to swipe student meal cards as they entered the cafeteria, but he went well above and beyond his duties.
According to a 1996 issue of The Argonaut, Krueger would make it a point to remember the names of students - even after an entire summer break:
"Bob was a friend to the friendless, an ear for those who needed to talk, and the stern grandpa when someone got a little too mischievous.
One special time he showed everyone how deeply he loved his family. This was on his anniversary. Of course, Bob had to work, and he was at his station, faithful as ever. But that day Bob had set up his shrine to his wife.
Their picture was centered on his station, and he had a huge sign saying this was his anniversary. He was beaming, and it was obvious that he was still madly in love with her."
- Story by Johanna Smith
The Argonaut, Friday, January 19, 1996
University of Idaho Alumni Office - Moscow
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Wallace Residence Center: 1963-present
Wallace Residence Center home to about 1,000 Vandals each year
By Alexiss Turner
With two large study rooms and a central bunk-bed sleeping area, there was a lot of space in the University of Idaho Wallace Residence Center’s original layout for students to exercise their inner interior decorator.
Sure, students could sleep in the center room – or they could do what Eric Eldenburg ’75 did in 1973 and drag the mattresses out, cover the room in black-light posters and crank the stereo.
With music from the Rolling Stones and Steely Dan setting the mood, the civil engineering major said the newly deemed public space was a good place to chill out. At the same time, he now had a private study area after he and his roommate each claimed one of the outer rooms.
“Our room was a pretty popular place,” he said.
For privacy's sake, Eldenburg said, he and his roommate paid 1.5 times the going rate - about $900 a semester - to stay in the four-man dormitories in Wallace's Gray Loess Hall. The co-ed hall on the third floor of the building housed women on the west and men on the east. A large common area had a TV in it, but Eldenburg said it wasn’t used much – unless “Star Trek” was on.
Like Gray Loess, named after a prevalent type of Palouse soil, several halls have come and gone at the Wallace Residence Center. There are currently 11 halls in the building. And Eldenburg must have started a trend, because the dorm rooms are now used as suites adjoining shared bathrooms.
The center is made up of a central structure and four wings constructed in four units from 1963-1967. At the time of construction, the four-story south wings could house 212 students each, and the six-floor wings to the north could each house 312. The facility’s water source was a 15,000-gallon tank under 10 inches of concrete in the center’s courtyard.
Built during the Cold War and the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building was listed in Latah County's civil defense program as one of 28 facilities with viable shelter space should a nuclear threat occur. The reference plans for the center show decontamination shower rooms in the basement.
The basement now houses a mail room, computer lounge, study areas, community kitchen and game room.
The Early Years
Janet Lange ’65 lived in Wallace’s Campbell Hall her junior year, when the building opened in 1963. Even though Wallace was the first building on campus to have men and women living under the same roof, genders were still separated by halls within the building when Lange was on campus. Much like other residences on campus at the time, women’s halls in Wallace also had live-in house mothers to enforce hall rules.
Lange said 1963 was the first year strict curfews were lifted and students were allowed to check out keys to gain entry after-hours. As long as the key was returned to the house mother’s mailbox before she awoke the next morning, there were no repercussions. Of course, Lange said, it wasn’t hard to get a friend who was calling it an early night to return the key in your absence.
“There were ways that people were getting around that,” she said.
Lange said she spent a lot of her time in Troy, Idaho, at what was then called the Troy Club. It was a popular place for students to dance, she said, and many made the drive. Although Lange didn’t have a car, many students did. Parking on campus was easy, she said, and there were little to no restrictions.
“We could drive anywhere on campus,” she said.
For Lange, it was especially hard to miss one fellow Campbell Hall resident, former Miss Idaho Judith Steubbe, who won a non-finalist talent award for her piano solo during the 1964 Miss America Pageant. She returned to school that year driving a bright-pink convertible around campus.
Lange’s mode of transportation came from her then future husband, Richard. Lange met Richard on a blind date in a downtown Moscow bar. During holiday breaks, Richard, a Coeur d’Alene native, would chauffeur Lange to her hometown in Rathdrum, Idaho. The two recently celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary.
Dorms in the Wallace Residence Center were renovated last year with a fresh coat of paint, and new carpeting and counter tops (above). The last update the rooms received was in the 1980s (below).
With more than 1,000 students living in such close vicinity, many relationships blossomed in the Wallace Residence Center.
In 1966, anthropology major Janet Meranda ’70 lived in Pine Hall when it was centrally located near the Student Union Building. Because the hall was surrounded by fraternities, water fights with the guys were a regular occurrence – one that caused the hall’s house mother to threaten disciplinary action.
That all changed when the building was tagged to be condemned, and the hall was moved to Wallace.
“Even considering the times,” Meranda said, “we voted to restrict male visitors to the lounge at the front of the hall so we could have privacy in our new home away from home.”
Meranda was pinned that winter, a tradition within the Greek system likened to a pre-engagement. Her fiancé was in the Navy in Virginia.
Meranda said she and friends were having lunch one Sunday in the crowded Wallace cafeteria when a shy young man, John Meranda ’70, asked if he could join them.
“We were OK with that,” she said.
John was also engaged to his high-school sweetheart back in Ohio.
“We figured we could hang out together,” Meranda said. “Go to the hall dances, football games, etc., because we were ‘safe.’ ”
Meranda never knew how John’s fiancée felt about the agreement -- but back in Virginia, her Navy man was very unhappy about the situation.
“Turned out he was right,” she said.
Both broke off their engagements, and the Merandas were married in September 1969. After 43 years of marriage, Meranda is an Oregon State University retiree who spends her time traveling and playing with her grandson.
Her husband John, a forest management major, also is retired from the Bureau of Land Management and Oregon Department of Transportation. And although Meranda said she can’t understand it, he likes to cut firewood for fun.
John is no longer the shy guy, Meranda said. On their first trip to England, she once found him quizzing one of the Queen’s gardeners about proper pruning practices.
Next year marks the 125th anniversary of the University of Idaho. Members of the university community present and past are invited to help tell our story. Have a favorite memory to share? Email us with your discoveries!