The Evolution of Dining Services

Tobey-Kendel Dining Room History

Tobey-Kendel Hall was constructed in 1936 at a cost of $102,224. The original floor area was 19,260 square feet.

Originally built in the Dutch Colonial style of the other women’s campus buildings, Tobey-Kendel was named for Miss Elizabeth H. Kendel and Miss Frances Tobey. Miss Kendel was a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics from 1893-1938 and Miss Tobey was a Professor Emeritus of English and Drama from 1906-1937.

Two dining rooms were located on the second floor level along with the serving kitchens and a dishwashing room. On the first level were the dormitory rooms, 2 small lounges, and the foyer to the dining area. Food preparation rooms, storage spaces, main stoves, ovens, and refrigeration units were on the ground floor.

At this time, Central Campus was all female. Tobey-Kendel was an all-female dining room. Male guests were not even allowed to eat there. The women always dressed formally for dinner, as they did for classes, and they never came to dinner late. Dinners were served family style; everyone sat down for the meals, and student workers and cooks served each table. Lunch was cafeteria style, but there still was no self-serve. Also at this time, the dining room offered no selections – everyone ate the same thing. On Sundays, only breakfast and a noon dinner were served. Everyone went out for supper on Sundays.

The addition to the original hall was built in 1957, under the same construction contract as Wilson and Wiebking Halls. The cost of the addition alone was $773,215, more than seven times the cost of the original building.

What used to be the dining rooms and kitchens upstairs were converted to a conference room, called the Blue Room, and a fitness center operated by the HELM Program in the early 1990’s. Free aerobics classes for UNC students were offered throughout the week.

Tobey-Kendel Hall underwent a renovation in the late 1990’s and opened its doors to students in the fall of 2000. The new dining room, at a cost of approximately $6 million, provided a variety of menu selections in a display cookery style of service. All of the previous residential rooms at Tobey-Kendel were replaced by the administrative offices of Dining Services, Residence Life, Housing, and Purchasing Food Services.