The Christiana Towers in September 2006Built in 1972, and hey, the tallest buildings in Newark, DE! I think. If you want to research it, be my guest. I don’t really care. Anyway, you know all too well how they sell the Towers; you can stay there over breaks, no required meal plan, and all of that. Oh, and back when I started UD, the HUGE draw: the Towers had cable TV! (By Fall '93 though, all of the traditional dorms had cable as well.) Coincidentally, that '93 - '94 school year was a legendary one for Towers antics…
“The War of the Windows” Somehow, a feud broke out between the East and West Towers, between rooms that faced each other. Signs were placed in windows, for the opposite Tower residents to see; “CET SUCKS!” for example, was placed in a West Tower room window. The obligatory, “CWT SUCKS BIGGER!” response came soon thereafter from an East room. This went on all year. And yep, the signs got increasingly creative and…well, you know. A little rude. And though UD’s Housing Office wasn’t thrilled with the display, they couldn’t demand the signs be removed; only if the signs were directed at an individual. Congrats clever Towers residents of '93 - '94, for keeping ‘em non-name specific!
Fire Alarms. Some things never change. But the Fall of 1993 broke new ground: ten fire alarms in one semester in CET! The breakdown: three system malfunctions, one scheduled drill, one pull of the alarm, two apartment smoke detectors, and three actual fires. One of which I believe was…
The CS Gas Incident. Yep, the same stuff that Saddam supposedly had. Amazing pre-9/11 world. Early in the morning, on November 19th, 1993, the West Tower had to be evacuated -- some kid on the fifth floor had a CS canister (it was in powder form), and placed it in the middle of the hallway…then another kid accidentally kicked it over; unleashing the powder, which then spread as teargas.
The Christina Commons became a refugee camp. Makeshift beds, the whole deal. The clean-up of the West Tower took about five days, but a bit longer on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors…this shit permeated into anything and everything that was fabric. Clothes, carpets, sheets, towels, etc. It all had to be replaced. Oh, and how did the kid get his hands on this stuff in the first place? Apparently he interned at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, where they test warfare weapons. Hey, you think he got tossed out of school?
“I lived in 1613 Tower East at the time. I was working at Peddler’s Liquors. Came home at about 1:20 AM, it was during the week. I parked my car and went to head towards the Towers. As I came around the corner, people were running out, freaking out, crying, puking, etc. Before you knew it, I think the whole US Army was there.”
- Ron S, UD '96
Rumor: The Christiana Towers were once used as hotels.
Dude, this is: Partially true! Over the Summer of '95, the top three floors of the West Tower were converted into the “University Guest Apartments.” Mind you, this was nine years before the opening of the Courtyard by Marriott, next to Clayton Hall.
So, they cleaned up those Tower rooms a bit; the intended “hotel” usage was for professional conference attendees, parents, etc. Oh, and for Homecoming! One year for Homecoming I crashed with like ten of my friends in a UD Towers two-bedroom. Though, I don't think the room had Porn-Per-View. What a letdown.
By Fall of '99, though, the floors were converted back to student housing…which were needed for 108 freshmen. And I’ve even heard that the door keys that year were still the hotel style keycards, because there wasn’t time to switch the locks back yet.
“I lived in the East Tower '93 - '94. The thing I remember the most clearly, was when a bat flew into the hallway as I was walking into the Tower (the front doors were propped open because it was nice out). I was heading to the elevator praying that the bat didn't fly into it as I got on. I heard someone screaming as the bat flew into their room just as the elevator doors closed.”
- Julie L, UD '95
“One of my favorite UD memories took place Winter '04. I was living in 514 Christiana West Tower with three friends. It had snowed a fair bit, and we quickly came to realize that we had a perrrrrrrfect view of the trail leading down to the West Tower's side entrance from the parking lot. So, we were up fairly early on a Sunday morning (don't ask me why), and with popcorn and other assorted snacks, watched the girls attempting to walk down the ice shoot / walkway in their heels and other assorted crazy footwear. Most of ‘em at least slipped, and a few took some crazy spills. One girl was wearing some serious ‘Come fuck me,’ heels and a crazy short skirt. Funniest thing ever. The best part was, every single one of them tried to play it off. Kept my roomie and me entertained all damn day. We literally watched from morning ‘til night, everyone falling on their asses.”
- Kristen K, UD '05
“Anyone who lived in the Towers MUST remember the fire alarm. It was like a combination of six different car alarms, along with the voice of Guy Smiley telling you to get your ass out of the building…and use the stairs! Sophomore year I was on the 13th floor, junior year I was on the 9th...it was like a vertical cattle drive.”
- Melissa, UD '94
“A friend of mine lived in the Towers during the 1999 - 2000 school year. In general, I think he was displeased with the fact that he was stuck in the Towers for his first year at UD. However, the location came in handy on one occasion. In Spring 2000, he broke up with his significant other, whose Furby happened to be under his care at the time. On that fateful Friday night, poor Mr. Furby took a ‘jump’ out of my friend's 10th floor window. Furbies make the funniest noise while falling, ‘Wooooo-ohhhhhhhhhh!’ We found various Furby body parts scattered around the West Tower.”
- Noel, UD '02
“We lived on the side that faced the mini-parking lot with the meters. And we knew which way the meter maids started checking for expired meters, so we parked at the far side. We caught them about 90% of the time, and had enough time to run down and put one quarter in the meter. A few of us did this and one of us always caught it, and put quarters in all of our meters. You could just see the looks of hate when we arrived just in time.”
- Kris V, UD '02
Masks and Memories
“I lived in the West Tower '99 - '00 and the East Tower '00 - '01 and '01 - '02. If anybody remembers a kid walking around the Commons at Halloween dressed in a Scream mask and holding a frying pan....yeah, that was me.
I think one of the more interesting things I'll always remember was after 9/11 when they got red and blue colored lights in the windows of one entire face of the West Tower, so it looked like an American flag.”
- James KRC, UD '03
“In the laundry room of the West Tower, there is a little closet that holds the back of the FLEX machine. It was just me and one other kid down there one night and I noticed him going into the little closet each time he put a load in the washer. I just stared at him until he finally asked me if I wanted some free laundry, too. Turns out if you open that door and unplug the machine, then swipe your card and plug the machine back in, you get free laundry. You are actually swiping your card but never get charged! Trick is that the closet had to be unlocked (which it usually was) and there couldn't be a lot of people down there when you were doing your laundry, because then everyone would want in. I never paid for laundry my junior or senior years, nor did any of the people that I was friends with.”
- Anonymous, UD '05
“I lived in the dungeon of the West Tower '04 - '05. I used to go over to the East Tower using the Chunnel (Christiana Tunnel) that the work crews use to go between them. I figured out the door that led to the Commons, and an easy way to go see folks in the East Tower, without the hassle of piggybacking. Sucked when they started locking the doors though!”
- Meredith S, UD '05
“There was this futon that my four male friends had in the living area of their Christiana West Tower apartment. They would often use it to get some, ahem, ‘alone time’ with their girlfriends or ladies of the moment, whenever the other roommates were asleep in their rooms. The next year, the futon was given to four of our female friends who were sharing a Christiana East Tower apartment...and often used it for similar purposes. After we graduated, my friend took it to his apartment, and after that...I don't know what happened to it. Needless to say, it saw quite a bit of action...and survived several relationships. Ah, if that futon could speak!”
- Brenda, UD '02
“Here’s the cause of one of the CET fire alarms in the Fall of 1993: I lived in 1714 East Tower my sophomore year (1993). We decided to throw a ‘small’ party one evening that got a little out of hand. After the consumption of many beverages, our guests decided that it would be fun to break stuff. Pretty much everything thing in the room was smashed against the wall, including the entire contents of the refrigerator!
After everything sort of settled down, a dude from down the hall picked up the plastic cover from the A/C unit. I think his exact words were, ‘I think that this is the only thing in the room that isn't broken!’ He then flung it across the room and we all watched in disbelief as it struck the sprinkler head.
As you can imagine, the water had been in those pipes for a long time. We had about 1 to 2 feet of black water in our room within minutes. Apparently, the water found every crack in the building and seeped into every room below ours...all the way down to the 3rd or 4th floor.
Needless to say, there were a lot of angry people sleeping on cots in the Commons for a few days, and I think we had a full voicemail box for a couple of weeks.”
- Dan, UD '96
“My boyfriend broke up with me fall of my senior year, and we were standing outside next to the fire escape in the West Tower, when someone who was in the fire escape started peeing out of it, onto my ex's head, as he was breaking up with me. He deserved what he got.”
- Rachel, UD '05
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