In 1919, the college initiated its mandatory laundry service “for hygienic and other reasons.” In 1972, Davidson first admitted women and discovered the laundry was ill-equipped to properly care for women’s clothing. The college then added washers and dryers to some residence halls for those students wishing to take care of their own laundry. Since then, the laundry has been constantly upgrading the equipment to better handle today’s garments. In addition, the college recently added a large self-service laundry facility adjacent to the Lula Bell Houston Laundry.
In 2004, the laundry was officially named “The Lula Bell Houston Laundry” in honor of Ms. Lula Bell Houston. Lula Bell worked at the Laundry for 57 years before retiring in 2004. Lula Bell always had a kind word and a smile for the thousands of students she greeted at the laundry. It was her dedication and spirit that moved the Trustees of Davidson College to name the facility in honor of a staff member, an honor normally reserved for large donors and great leaders in Davidson's history.
Find information about the Lula Bell Houston Laundry and more in the authoritative text on the history of Davidson College, The History of Davidson College, by Mary Beaty or consult the College Archives.