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From 1923 to 1953 Drexel Lodge offered a place for Marquette's female students to meet, relax, eat, and study during the school day. Though not as fancy or as big as the Marquette Union, which opened in 1924 and served women only during certain times, Drexel Lodge offered a place for the women of Marquette to relax, study, and eat.

  • Drexel Lodge exterior
  • Drexel Lodge exterior circa 1936
In April 1920, Marquette Fr. President Herbert Noonan, S.J., bought two residences south of Johnston Hall; the house of General Frederic C. Winkler and the house of Dr. Harry Hitz, located on 1120 W. Sycamore, now Michigan, Avenue and 11th Street. While General Winkler’s house served multiple academic and adminstrative roles after its purchase, the Harry Hitz home served a very special purpose during its time on campus.

            The house was renamed the Drexel Lodge after Katherine Drexel, the only living saint to visit Marquette University, and from 1923 until 1953 served as the women’s student union. Although the Drexel Lodge was small in comparison to Marquette Hall, the male only student union built in 1924, it offered a unique place for the women of Marquette to unwind or study before, during, or after school.

            On the first floor were two large rooms filled with easy chairs, work tables, and other furniture. One of the main rooms was known as the Atlas Room due to the dozens of flags on the walls. The Atlas Room was also the only room where male students were allowed. The second floor hosted the office of the Dean of Women, which included a reception room staffed by students. The third floor was home to nuns who were studying at Marquette Universtiy.

            In 1953, the opening of the Brooks Memorial Union at 1355 W. Wisconsin Avenue, now the location of Raynor Library, ushered in the end of Drexel Lodge because it was coed and offered more amenities than Drexel. The building was used less and less and was eventually demolished in 1969.

Marquette University Special Collections and University Archives Jablonsky, Thomas J. Milwaukee's Jesuit University: Marquette, 1881-1981. Milwaukee, WI: Marquette UP, 2007. Print. Marquette Tribune. “For Women Only, Drexel Lodge is Coed Sanctuary.” 2 October 1941