Catering History

This week we took a trip into the basement of the Union to check out some of Purdue Dining & Catering’s more out-of-the-way, historical places.

One of these places was a room that employees call the Peacock Room. The room is currently holding a massive amount of glassware, because with changes in storage areas the catering branch has had to shuffle around some items temporarily. The room also holds old pewter dishes, silver sets, and antique punch cups with the university seal etched into them.

The most interesting part of the room, however, is the giant stuffed peacock sitting in a cabinet above the storage area. The peacock was ordered for a special event in the Union years ago, and the result was a massive, impressing centerpiece. After the event, the catering staff didn’t want to throw the peacock away, because it was such an incredible piece. In the end, the stored the peacock in a large metal cabinet in the room, looking over the storage, and named the room “The Peacock Room.”Peacock

Another cool location in the basement of the Union is an old dark room that is currently being used to house storage as well. When the basement of the Union stopped being a place for photography projects, the old equipment was moved out and catering took over the area. The room we went into still has the old light fixtures, where the red lights were used to preserve photos, and speech bubbles written on the wall, where students developed pictures of their professors, pinned them to the wall, and captioned them accordingly, like an old school meme.


Another historical piece of the catering community is the antique ice chests, located just off the main food center next to the South Ballroom. These pieces are the last of the old chestnut kitchen that original housed all of the food in the Memorial Union. The chests are now used as storage for the many different napkins used in Purdue Catering events, so they’ve been given the name “napkin coolers.”

Ice Chests

The Purdue Memorial Union is one of the buildings on campus, like University and Cary Quadrangle, that is old enough to be considered a legacy building, a building that has survived from another era of life at Purdue University.

Have you guys been to some of the historical locations on campus? Tell us about it!

See you next week!

Sarah & Amanda


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