20 June 2024 • Alums From the Archives: Twin Oaks

HWS Archives revisits the iconic campus restaurant with a digital exhibit.

A campus institution for 40 years, the Twin Oaks Restaurant was a home away from home for generations of Hobart and William Smith students.

In a digital exhibit featuring vintage photos and advertisements, HWS Archives tells the history of the Oaks, from its start in the 1940s under Arthur and Pauline Mearns, to the Dutch and Rocky Venuti era, to its final chapter with owner Frank Michael '62.

According to a Herald article after the Oaks opened, the restaurant was "the epitome of modern college relaxation; the roar of the juke box, the knock of the pin ball machines, the shadows of television, the chugerlug of beer and the gentle reverberation and echo of songs, of the long American tradition. Occasionally a student who has homework to do, is seen drinking a cup of coffee with just a little cream."

As the Archives exhibit notes, the Twin Oaks remains beloved "by generations of Hobart and William Smith students. It is honored by the Oaks Tent at Reunion each year, where the restaurant’s iconic sign frequently makes an appearance."

View the exhibit.

In the photo above, students watch the GE Quizbowl in 1961.