Tower is epitomized by the dining room table. Sit down for a meal, and the first thing you’ll notice is the number of people eating dinner. At Tower, an eight-person table can always hold a few more. As the conversation gets started, you’ll notice that it touches on all sorts of topics. Tower consistently attracts members from a broad array of interests. During your meal, you could be next to singers, dancers, writers, EMTs, actors, athletes, and more. The openness and friendly atmosphere at Tower draws members from every facet of Princeton life.
But of course, what you will without a doubt notice is the quality of the food. Every club will tell you that they have excellent food, but there is no question that Tower’s is the best on the Street. And no need to take our word for it: many of our friends from other clubs have a meal in Tower only to praise the “restaurant style” food we have. In addition to prepared food, all meals can be made to order, whether it’s a breakfast omelet, the famous Buddha sandwich for lunch (ham, fried egg, and cheese) and perhaps salmon or osso buco for dinner. The credit goes to our amazing staff led by Jim Forkel and Jim Hayes.
Despite the virtual past year, Tower continues to promote community with weekly Members’ Nights and virtual “Nights Out.” While we miss our food and Clubhouse, our members continue to be the centerpiece of Tower Club life.
More About Tower Club
- On the ground floor of Tower, there are many spaces to hang out with friends or to study. First, there is the much loved Coat Room with a fireplace and plenty of couches where you can chill between classes or do some homework by the roaring fire in the winter. On the side, there is the Pogue Room: a cozy space with a pull down screen where you can project TV, movies, or video games. Next to the Pogue Room is the billiards room, with two tables and a handful of chairs lit by numerous windows facing the street. On the south side of the club is our newest addition, the Great Room, filled with couches, chairs, tables, and a bar to boot, along with small patios with french doors overlooking the backyard. It has wall to wall windows and a projector as well; perfect for late night football games or the Kentucky Derby during Houseparties. Downstairs, you find the kitchen, the dining room, the taproom, and the game room. The latter has a restored mural depicting the very first football game in history (between Rutgers and Princeton), while the dining room doubles as an eating area during meal times but also as a study spot during the off hours. Head upstairs and you can find several great spots to study: the library, (which has its own fireplace for the winter months), the thesis room for those seniors (fretfully) finishing their theses, and the Precept Room where classes are sometimes held throughout the week. The last room on the 2nd floor is the Green Room, containing an additional TV that you can watch movies or shows on. The third floor is where the officer corps lives. Finally, Tower naturally has a large tower facing the street, used for events like Lawnparties and formals to give the membership a beautiful view of the musical acts or just the University as a whole.
- In the spring of 1902, based on the idea of four sophomores, John Lee ’04, Henry Pogue ’04, Otto Wolff ’04, Conway Shearer ’04, and junior Frank “Pop” Little ’03, a group of intrepid young men lead the formation of a new upper-classman eating club. In April, a stake of $400 was placed to ensure the secure formation of the club the following year.
In September of the same year, in the old Monastery Club on University Place, the Princeton Tower Club was formed. It was comprised of 13 members of the senior class, and 13 juniors. During that year, the club hoped to move to a much coveted plot on Prospect Avenue, but settled for the Gulick House on Olden Street. Gulick was also known as the Incubator because it had served as a first home for a number of the infant eating clubs. After one term in the “Incubator,” Tower purchased a plot of land from the Cottage Club and, in September of 1904, moved to a new home at 89 Prospect Avenue. This “modern” facility, which boasted hot-air heating, was improved with a laid sidewalk, a tennis court, and the additional purchase of adjacent land.
After seven years at that location, Tower bought the old Quadrangle Club building, which by then had moved to Nassau Street. While using this facility for four years, the Club secured the purchase of a plot of land from Quad at 13 Prospect Ave. for $25,000. Although a structure existed on the new grounds, there was great demand to build a new clubhouse for Tower. Using money from the sale of the 89 Prospect property several years earlier, the Tower Club set about designing and building the new house. Roderic E. Barnes ’03 was selected to design an “ample, attractive and practical clubhouse, without making it ostentatious.” And, in 1917, the clubhouse that is still used to this day was completed. Included in its design was the Tower, which symbolized the club and bears its seal.
In 1921, the clubhouse, which by then had become synonymous with Tower, had a disastrous fire, which started and was mainly contained within the tower. The day after the fire, every member of the Board was at the site, and immediate plans were made for the repairs, which were rapidly completed. Throughout the war era, the club remained open even though its membership dropped at one point to a mere fifteen men, all of whom were ROTC officers.
Throughout the years, Tower had been maintained through the leadership of a number of particularly devoted individuals, including James W. Newman ’26, and Dudley Woodbridge ’44. The club has added a sunroom, a billiards room, an upstairs taproom, and the new kitchen and dining facilities. Under the leadership of Tower, an Interclub Council was formed to address issues involving all of the Princeton eating clubs. Tower also led the formation of the Prospect Foundation which enables educational opportunities on the “Street.” Tower was one of the first clubs to decide to accept women in 1971. Recent improvements to the club include the purchase of a new entertainment center, the restoration of our famous football mural, and the renovation of the basketball and volleyball court in the backyard.
Today, Tower is a vibrant club of approximately 210 upper-class members whose interests encompass nearly all aspects of Princeton life. Members enjoy what has been consistently rated the best food on the street as well as wide array of resources at their disposal including entertainment facilities, pool tables, DVD collections, computer facilities, and much more.
Always True Blue, always the best!
“Tower Club is listed in the University catalogue as one of the Prospect Street eating clubs, but it is much more than that. To us who now use it daily, it is a second home here in Princeton, a place where we belong and which somehow seems to belong to us. There, besides eating, we meet our friends, entertain our guests, and relax in peace and quiet – a sanctuary from the daily routine of classes and work. Tower Club is the center of our social life and is so intimately fused with our upper-class years that is it is impossible to conceive of Princeton without the club as a focal point.”
-William Haerther ’42.