Davenport College was named after the Rev. John Davenport who founded New Haven in 1638, but the spirit and activities of the college in no way reflect the Reverend’s Puritan beliefs. Rather, John Davenport Day, held during reading period in the spring, is a day of drinking, partying, tug-of-war, moon-bouncing, and jousting.
Yet the fun is not restricted to reading week or the end of the year. The Cottage, a small house in the front of Davenport occupied by six seniors, hosts parties throughout the year that draw Yalies from all the colleges. For less boisterous socializing, Davenport students look to the TV room or to the two courtyards, where one can often find students playing Frisbee, enjoying the sun, or tossing a ball to Shadow, Dean Quimby’s golden retriever.
Though Science Hill is a trek from Davenport, students enjoy their proximity to the bookstore and a plethora of restaurants. Chinese food at Ivy Noodle until 1:30 am; pizza, sandwiches and coffee at Cosi until 1:30 a.m.; pizza at the Brick Oven until 3:30 a.m.; Mexican cuisine at El Amigo Felix; Dunkin Donuts; and a great breakfast at Yankee Doodle are only a few of the options that Davenport students have on their back doorstep. Friday night drunken walks back from Beta late night are also much easier on members of Davenport than on, say, Sillimanders — beware intoxicated Timothy Dwight or Silliman residents who might try to crash in your room rather than stumble the countless blocks back to theirs.
If Beta late night isn’t your forte, you might enjoy exploring the basement of Davenport, referred to by many as the “tunnels.” Though at times the ceiling dips to about four feet from the ground, and you’ll likely get lost a few times and end up in Pierson, it’s worth it to try to figure out the system. Located in the basement are the Dive, a student-run late-night grill and snack shop complete with movies Sunday through Wednesday nights, as well as pool tables, a pottery room, a gym, a printing press, a dark room, and a new digital media center. A yoga and tai chi room, new in the spring of 2002 and equipped with modern tai chi mats, also draws students into the Davenport basement to take lessons from Davenport teaching fellows or just practice on their own.
Davenport also boasts the only residential college art gallery, Studio 56, which showcases student work, and two libraries. While Spitzer, the larger of the two, is often busy and somewhat social, Crosspiece library is more hidden and perhaps the wiser place to go if you need to cram late into the night. Also, be sure to take notice of the Waterford chandelier in the dining hall, the gift of one generous alumnus.
While on the outside Davenport’s architecture is Gothic, the interior is Georgian, complete with red brick and white columns. If you’re lucky, you might come across the Davenport gnome in one of the courtyards or outside the Cottage, unless it’s been stolen again by some lesser college or is being heavily guarded lest someone try to steal it. While the gnome is a fairly new Davenport spirit symbol, the mention of which might bring quizzical looks from ’05 students, Davenport’s enthusiasm in IM competition is familiar to all. If you’re in Davenport, whether by virtue of legacy or luck of the draw, be sure to play some IMs — I hear from the IM secretaries that we’re going for first place this fall. So hone your soccer, ping-pong, tennis, volleyball and football skills, wear your Davenport shirt, and we’ll see you in September.
Ellen Jacobson is a junior in Davenport College.