The Oberlin Review
<< Front page News March 18, 2005

A look inside the Love Hole
The whole story of the hole
Baby, let’s get it on: Noah’s infamous Love Hole, designed and decorated by several alumni with a vision.

Since ResEd issued forms about housing preferences for next year, students have been thinking about where and with whom they might live for the upcoming fall semester. While poring over the options, consider this: 167 Woodland Street, known as Noah Hall, houses the ever-popular Love Hole.

The Love Hole saga began six years ago, when a rather curious prospective student by the name of Rich Braithwaite (OC ’04) stayed overnight in Noah during his campus visit and took note of a decently large niche in a wall of the room. With this tidbit in mind, he applied for housing his sophomore year and was fortunate enough to be placed according to his preferences. What ResLife did not know, however, was that Braithwaite had wondrous renovations planned for that dusty little niche.

Upon a stroke of luck during Winter Term 2002, Braithwaite and his roommates, Will Singer (OC ’04) and Jason Goss (OC ’04), stumbled upon one of Oberlin’s marvelously comfortable blue Firegard mattresses in the Noah hallway. After approximately three hours and tons of energy expenditure, the trio successfully shoved the mattress into the niche. Ground was broken; Love Hole construction had officially started.

Of course, now that the main attraction had been crammed in by sheer manpower, the problem at hand was interior design. Originally the walls had a number of holes, so a decision was made to repair them with caulk in order to keep the chills out and the warmth in. Previous tenants Sam Hopkins (OC ’02) and Caleb Stokes (OC ’00), who hosted Braithwaite when he originally discovered the niche, unleashed their artistic creativity and painted the niche with Oberlin College symbols in maroon and yellow.

Braithwaite, Singer and Goss then outfitted their extravagant invention with supplementary furnishings to establish a certain Love Hole mood of sensuality, including a compact disc player that constantly played Barry White and occasionally honored the vocal stylings of Marvin Gaye. A written record was even kept on the walls, with a few names of those who had graced the Love Hole. The finishing touch, however, was the book Sex for Dummies, a Valentine’s Day present from Singer’s mother. At last, the Noah Love Hole was complete.

To date the entire establishment has remained intact, along with its original accessories. However there is one notable addition: a glass of unidentifiable liquid currently sits on the floor. Nobody has been quite courageous enough to determine what it is.

As one of the current occupants of the room put it, “It could be whiskey, but it could be something else.”

Named after Board of Trustees member Andrew H. Noah, Noah Hall was built in 1932 by Crowell and Little, a construction company based in Cleveland. In the Georgian style, the dormitory was the first building to be erected for the Men’s Campus Project.

The plan included 11 residential halls and was designed to accommodate roughly 500 men. It included dining and social activities in order to stimulate scholarly ambition and to create an active masculine social atmosphere.” However, the onset of World War II halted construction of the other houses.

Ironically, the existence of the Love Hole clearly expanded on the original idea of an “active masculine social atmosphere.” There are no signs of a specific purpose, although in a room on the opposite side of the symmetrical building, another niche exists. Similar peculiar features can also be found in other residence halls on campus, such as in the first floor Dascomb lounge.

Anyone interested in inheriting the Love Hole room should note that founders of this attraction are adamant in their request that the proper pronunciation is used, for the Love Hole is really the “Luurve Hohle.” Strong emphasis should be placed on the word “hole,” and an abruptness when pronouncing the words is necessary.

Creators of the Love Hole have also set high standards for current students to aspire to. The existing record of people inside the Love Hole at the same time sits at 25. Any group successful in topping that should contact a Love Hole founder for a pat on the back.


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