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The construction of Powell-Norton Hall (formerly Douglas Hall) began in early 1951 and the hall opened for students on September 8, 1952. Powell-Norton Hall was the first residence hall at Eastern Illinois University to house men, as the student population grew and the need to provide housing for all students arose. The original occupancy for Powell-Norton was 194 beds.
Much like Lincoln Hall, Powell-Norton had amenities including a separate dining room, recreational rooms, kitchenettes, common floor lounges, and laundry facilities. In order to live in Powell-Norton, students were required to meet with the Dean of Men and put down a $10.00 deposit.
In its first year, and each year since Powell-Norton has housed men interested in athletics. In 1952-53 Powell-Norton had three intramural sports teams including football, tennis, and basketball. The residents of Powell-Norton also enjoyed spending time with the ladies of Lincoln and joined them for events such as building the Homecoming floats, making house decorations, Wednesday visitation nights, and a Christmas social.
In the summer of 2009, the traditional community bathrooms were replaced with semi-private “pod” style bathrooms. The bathroom style lets students enjoy a semi-private restroom and shower facility with a community sink area. The cost of this project was approximately $3.5 million.
Powell-Norton was renamed in April 2022 to honor Zella Powell and Ona Norton. Zella Powell is believed to be EIU's first Black graduate, earning a degree from Eastern State Normal School in 1910. Ona Norton was the matriarch of a cherished Black family in Charleston, IL. in the 1950' s, in a time when it was difficult for students of color to find off-campus housing in Charleston.
MLK Jr., University Union,
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920