Distler House

Distler House

Personnel, DSU

Specific Location

Center of the building (over TV room in DSU), but story involves entire building.


One of the oldest buildings on campus, the Gym (now Distler House) was constructed in 1891 as a gymnasium and physical fitness center for Franklin and Marshall College. The upper room (now Personel Offices and Distler Commons) was open and housed an indoor track along the perimeter, wrestling mats in the middle of the floor, and assorted weights, suspended rings, and other 1891 physical fitness equipment. According to the F&M Weekly of April 8th, 1891, the lower floor (now DSU) had a bowling alley, bathrooms, lockers, dressing rooms, and a boiler room. After Biesecker Gym was built in the 1920s, the Old Gym was dubbed Campus House and turned into a student center, with pool and pingpong tables on the top floor. It remained this way until 1943-1994, when the basement was used as a mess hall for the troops on campus, complete with new cooking and refrigeration facilities. In 1976, it was remodeled again and renamed "Distler House" after former F&M president Theodore "Prexy" Distler. The building housed only various adminstrative offices and academic deptartments unti l999-2001, when it was converted again into student use and the bottom floor was renamed "Distler Student Union."

Deaths/Morbid Stories

Actually, Distler has no morbid stories that would inspire ghost stories. It would appear to be a good place for ghost stories, considering its uses as student center, hangout, and gym over the years. The "spiritual residue", for those who are into that sort of thing, would be more noticable in Distler than in most other buildings. In addition, Distler's exterior form and appearance has remained virtually intact through the years, leading it to look obviously old and famliar to alumni who see it years later. Distler remains closely connected its past in this way very physical and visual way.

Ghostly Goings-On

Multiple students and even students in large groups have reported strange noises late in night on the upper floor while they sit in DSU. Students have reported what sounds like squirrels running in circles along the perimeter of the building. The gym had an indoor running track. Most of the most noticiable noises are concentrated over the TV room in DSU. Most people describe those noises as people "moving furniture", "horseing around", "rough-housing". According to pictures of Distler House in its gym days, the wrestling mats were placed squarely over what is now the television room in DSU. As well as wrestling mats for practices, it is proven that wrestling meets were held there until Biesecker Gym was constructed. These noises always occur late at night (11:30-1:30) and usually occur multiple times.

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