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“They’re Breaking Me Down, To Build Me Over Again….”

By on August 30th, 2016 in Memories, News 16 Comments »

Source: The Auburn Villager (file photo)

It’s almost time, folks—our questions will be answered yea or nay; our day of reckoning is at hand; in less than a week, toe meets leather on season 2016 on the Plains. We’ve read and speculated on what this year’s edition of our Men in Blue are going to look like, and we all have high hopes and expectations for them.

Obviously, we hope that our beloved Tigers look a little different than last year in terms of the final record. We have seen both coaching and personnel changes from last year and certainly from our near-championship year. And of course, each individual player, whether a veteran on the Plains or a freshman just coming in, must undergo a variety of changes in himself to grow into the player—and person—that he was meant to be.

Likewise, the campus of Auburn University itself is changing, growing, and developing. Usually, building up something new is preceded by tearing down something old. Of course, this isn’t a new phenomenon, as this was going on while I attended school there. I remember “the night they drove old Maggot down” as the Magnolia Hall dormitories made way for the new College of Business building. Also, old Broun Hall on Magnolia Avenue turned into new Broun Hall on the same site, and in a interesting case of mixing old and new, the historic columns from old Broun Hall became the portico for the new ROTC complex on Donahue Drive (which itself supplanted a small service building, I believe).

I just now heard the news that my first dorm at Auburn, the Caroline Draughon Village Extension, is being demolished. That got me reflecting on my own memories of that complex along with wanting to know more of the history behind the name.

The original Caroline Draughon Village, nestled near the foot of Magnolia Street, was a quaint group of buildings built in 1959 to provide housing for married students. In 1965, the complex was named after Caroline Marshall Draughon, the wife of retiring long-term university president Ralph Brown Draughon. The naming was altogether appropriate as Caroline Draughon recognized that more and more Auburn students following World War II were married and that many of those students were men whose wives worked to put them through school. Mrs. Draughon kept these students’ spouses involved in the university and presided at a ceremony before each graduation, conferring on these noble wives the “PHT” degree (which stood for “Pushing Hubby Through”). The wrecking ball met up with this historic complex in 2006, but Caroline Draughon’s name has lived on, now attached to the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities.

What became known as “New CDV” was built between Wire Road and (what was then) Roosevelt Drive and Thatch Avenue in 1979, only four years before I set foot on the Plains. This wasn’t really an extension of the older Village but a completely new apartment complex located about half a mile away from the married-student housing, still at (what was then) the extreme west end of campus. New CDV comprised six buildings arranged in a three-pointed star configuration surrounding a three-legged courtyard. The complex also featured a fully-stocked convenience store, snack bar, and laundromat in a separate service building at one end. Parking was plentiful, and, although the complex was at the edge of campus, just about all my classes and activities were easy walks.

Each apartment consisted of two bedrooms, housing two folks each, with a common kitchen/dining area and bathroom. The bedrooms were furnished with metal modular units for beds, desks, shelves, and drawers, which could be arranged and re-arranged into a nearly infinite number of combinations. In fact, one of our family’s neighbors told my mother that move-in day for her son, who preceded me to Auburn and New CDV, was completely absorbed by him and his roommate trying to figure out the best configuration of their furnishings. It didn’t take that long for my roommate and me to come up with an arrangement, and he only changed his side of the room once. I can say that no two rooms I saw there had the same arrangement.

After my first year of college, I decided I had enough of “independent living” for awhile and came home for the summer. When I returned in the fall, I secured an off-campus hole-in-the-wall studio apartment on North Donahue, just down from Momma Goldberg’s. I lived there by myself for my remaining time at AU. Of course, like almost everything else I had anything to do with, they knocked down those units along with the other crummy apartments in that area, in order to put up “Tailgate City” (I think it is called “Auburn’s Gameday Center” now).

I understand that New CDV hadn’t been occupied since 2010, right after they created the Auburn Village student housing area (which took up the old military parade grounds as well as a chunk of Wire Road). According to Auburn’s facilities department, “CDV Extension…does not meet the needs of today’s students.” It had four walls and indoor plumbing, so I can’t really see what today’s student’s needed there that we did not (I mean, wifi can’t be that hard to install). I am still surprised at the abandonment and demolition, especially since one of the proposed uses of the property is additional student housing. I guess that goes to show that bureaucratic inanity will probably never change!

Michael Val

(who remembers the aphorism, “The only constant in this world is change!)


P.S. Here is the source of the title of this article—maybe some of the older folks (or 3rd Division soldiers) will remember this.

P.P.S. I have to thank the leadership of TET for putting up with my long dry spell and allowing me to continue being a contributing part of this great enterprise!


  1. Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

    Enjoyed the read, Michael! Always good to have little “old” to go with the new. I kid I kid.

    War Eagle, brother!

  2. zotus zotus says:

    Long time no see, MVH … welcome back.

    I chuckled when I read your comments about the old “married students apartments” way, way out there on the west end of nowhere!

    Know it well. My wife and I were on the waiting list to live there … but, because of supply & demand we had to go elsewhere. We were really disappointed at the time … but, where we ended up was the greatest place in Auburn to live (no exaggeration) … and, we were lucky enough to find out about it and lucky enough to live there our last 5 quarters at Auburn. The best time (for a lot of reasons) of my 5 years at Auburn bar none.

    I attached a picture of the 2 places I lived at Auburn. The place on the left was my digs as an undergraduate … and the place on the right is where my wife and I lived while I was in graduate school.

    Both buildings were still standing the last time we were in Auburn.

    You have any idea where they are?

    Hint: both places are no more than 2 blocks from the east side of the Auburn campus.

    Thanks for the memories. WDE!

  3. zotus zotus says:

    I can’t seem to get the photo out there. Sorry about that.

    I’ll try one more time.

  4. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..There is a lot gone from my time at Auburn, starting with Super Foods over on Gay Street. I think that lot now houses a church youth center.

    …..I lived in Dorm 7 in the Quad at first (the first year it was open to boys.) No real amenities to speak of, but being surrounded by all the girl dorms, there was beauty out the window any time I cared to look!

    …..Next stop was a tenement called “Windsor Hall,” over on West Mag across from the Drill Field. The building is still there, but I’m not sure if the name is the same. It had a little laundromat and arcade in the center. It had a window unit air conditioner, which was reversible in the winter to put out a scant bit of heat that went right through the ceiling.

    …..I ended up at Eagles West, which was pricey. It even had central air-conditioning! (Which I could not afford to run…) Eagles West is still there, too. I was amazed I got my deposit back, after I accidentally set fire to the carpet, trying to flame-thrower a roach with a Bic lighter and a can of Lysol!

  5. uglyjoe says:

    Enjoyed that Michael. I spent a year in Alumni Hall, which is now an administrative building on College Street. Spent two years at Windsor Hall, Acid. Finished up at an efficiency on West Glenn right behind McDonalds. Could wake up and get to class in Ramsey hall in three minutes.

    Daughter one is in third year at Alabama – have to say her first year dorm was not too much better than mine, but she’s in a house with seven other girls now. Youngest daughter started at West Florida last week. Facilities there beat anything I have seen at Alabama.

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..Windsor was frigid in the winter, toasty in the summer. I went to summer school in 1980, in the middle of a big heat wave. The little window unit was useless against 106 degree temps.

      ….I didn’t think the walk was too bad to class from Windsor. Unless it was storming. I had two umbrellas ripped apart by winds on the drill field! And all sidewalks in Auburn seem to be lower than the surrounding turf, and fill with water when it rains. That certainly proved to be still true when I attended the infamous 2009 West Virginia game, and the town got 4 inches of rain in a half hour!

  6. wareagle3020 wareagle3020 says:

    Enjoyed the Read!

  7. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    Enjoyed the post Michael. It amazes me how America is a throw away society, often with no regard to nostalgia or economics.

    Stores 20 years old are often torn down just so the same store (though brand new) can be built on that spot. Sports stadiums are demolished for newer ones and 20 years later the second stadium is too old – ie. in 1997 the Atlanta Braves tore down Fulton County Stadium and replaced it with the new Turner Field. Now they are getting ready to ditch the place for the new Sun Trust Park. A friend of mine built a new house on his property and then dug a hole and buried his old house. Yet people in Europe live and shop in buildings hundreds of years old.

    I know schools have got to keep up with the competition but it seems like economics or nostalgia doesn't enter into the picture. Although I love the new basketball Arena that cost $100 million … couldn't Beard-Eaves have been made to look first class with a $50 mil upgrade and then used the other $ 50 Mil to brick up the south and west side of Jordan-Hare, or some other worth while project? But that's just the way we do things in this country.

  8. ToddH says:

    Nice read Mchael. I was at Auburn in the late 80s and your article had me remembering a lot about what was and what’s there now.

  9. WoodrowAU95 says:

    Well, I feel like I've lost part of my past. Very sad. CDV extension was my very first Auburn home in the summer of '88. A scared freshman being paired with 3 strangers. I was never lucky in gambling, but I hit the jackpot with the roommates. Three great friends that made my transition from scared, lost soul to Auburn student….less scary. LOL!

    Keeping the doors and windows open practically all the time that summer and having "neighbors" drop by at all hours. Playing basketball in the parking lot to throwing the pigskin around. Man, if I could go back in time! Great memories from E-107.

  10. AUjason says:

    I agree, “The only constant is change.” Enjoyed the read Michael

  11. […] haven’t been attending to my article this week, but I wanted to say thanks to all the readers and commenters that shared their memories of their […]

  12. […] fellow citizens of the Loveliest Village! In a previous article, I bemoaned the demolition of the Caroline Draughon Village Extension (also known as “New […]