The iron entry at the Tripp Hall gatehouse is original to the 1926 quadrangle of buildings. Originally called the Van Hise Dormitories, Tripp and Adams Halls were the first on-campus men's housing for students after North and South Halls were converted to classrooms. The grouping of several buildings around a courtyard was intended to create a sense of community, and attendants were stationed at the gatehouses to "furnish information, distribute mail and relay telephone calls."
According to a university report, the gates did not prevent dormitory residents from an inaugurating their new quarters with a ruckus: "On the first night in the new dorms a group from Adams Hall with saxophones, clarinets, and other noisemakers woke everyone within earshot until a group in Tripp Hall counter attacked with fire hoses. The following day the groups met to discuss house rules and quiet hours."
But a 1927 issue of the Triad, the dorm newsletter, notes that the gates may have indeed been a first line of defense: "[P]roposed new entrances to the quadrangles on the side toward the lake will not be constructed, largely due to the fact that one entrance to each quad lessens the danger of having strangers and sneak thieves enter the halls."