Totem-Inn (1953-1992)- Student union

            In the spring of 1952, Russell Hill, a student, proposed the creation of a Student Center, to be located in the basement of the women’s gym at Juniata College.  The space would serve traditional student union functions offering a meeting place for students outside of class and offer a college bookstore, gaming area, jukebox, grill, and post office. The Student Center would also serve as one of the first co-ed spaces for students beside the two cafeterias where they could study, be outside of class unsupervised, and have music.  In light of the Indian mascot theme for the college, the punning name “Totem-Inn” was adopted and commonly was shortened to “Tote.” In 1953, the design was sketched by the architectural firm J. Walter Hamme located in York, PA.

            In 1952, a Student Planning Committee set to work and in 1953 it was broken down further into three committees. The Work Committee, under the supervision of John Dale organized student laborers.  The Women’s League Committee, under the direction of Allegra Forney and Jo Pentz, worked with JC’s softball team, the Women’s League, and used the group’s connection to communities to help raise money.  Lastly, the Alumni and Parents Committee, under Dottie Taylor, raised funds by sending out letters to alumni and parents asking for contributions.

            The Work Committee got started right away on March 02, 1953 and had over 300 students working on demolition for four weeks and then skilled laborers came in and completely remodeled it over the summer. A student fee imposed by the Student Senate covered part of the construction costs.

            Robert Fisher ran the Totem Inn full time. In 1954, the Senate approved a Social Committee so that non-Senate students could be on the Totem-Inn Committee. For a few years, nothing drastic changed in Totem-Inn and the only issue to arise was a concern over volume control on the jukebox and television set that required those who had access to such controls to diminish.

            However, the 1960s were troubled times for Totem-Inn.  In the fall of 1963, the snack bar that once resided in Totem-Inn was replaced with vending machines in an effort to cut costs and staff.  Because of this unexpected shift, for over a year and a half, students and Student Senate alike constantly requested for the return of the snack bar in Totem-Inn.  In April, it was restored.  The food items offered in the Totem-Inn snack bar consisted of familiar Pennsylvania comfort foods such as hoagies, pizza, sandwiches, soft pretzels, hamburgers, and French fries.

            In 1969 Juniata opened a new student union, Ellis Hall, which took up the activities previously associated with Totem-Inn.  However, it was not until 1992 that Juniata switched from a student-run café to Marriott Management Services and Totem-Inn became Muddy Run.  Today, the space is known as Eagles’ Landing and is run by Sodexo.


Elizabeth Faust ‘15



“Center to Keep Account of Own Finances; Decision on Profits to Rest with Senate,” The Juniatian. March 02, 1953.

“Center, System, Occupy Senate,” The Juniatian. December 05, 1952.

Kaylor, Earl C, Juniata College: Uncommon Vision, Uncommon Loyalty : The History of an Independent College in Pennsylvania Founded by the Brethren 1876-2001. Huntington: Published by Juniata College, 2001, 217 and 230. 

Navy Recruiters to Land in Tote,” The Juniatian. September 30, 1960.

“Senate Acts on Totem Problem,” The Juniatian. April 28, 1954.

“Student Center Nears,” The Juniatian. October 1952.

“Totem-Inn Evening Specials,” The Juniatian. April 05, 1984.

“Totem-Inn Member, Social Committee Approved By Senate,” The Juniatian. April 16, 1954.

“Three Committees to Coordinate Work on Center,” The Juniatian. March 02, 1953.