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Crosby House stands for 100 years

Centennial anniversary of Bing Crosby’s childhood home celebrated this weekend

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Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013 8:49 am

This Fall Family Weekend Crosby House celebrates its 100th birthday. In honor of the house’s centennial, the Advocates for the Bing Crosby Theater are hosting an open house during which rooms will be accessible to the public. The event will be held on Saturday from 1-3 p.m. Cake will be served.

Currently the house is utilized as of- fice space for sponsored research under the office of the academic vice presi- dent. During the open house, however, visitors will have access to tour the home in which Bing spent his childhood and young adult life.

Crosby House is located on the north side of the College Hall parking lot. Bing’s family designed and built the house. Upon its completion in 1913, Bing’s family moved in. Some houses and buildings on Gonzaga’s campus have been relocated, but Crosby House remains where it was built a century ago.

Bing left for Hollywood in 1925. His family sold the house to their neighbors at the time, the Higginses, in 1936. The Higginses resided in the house until 1978, and eventually the Alumni Asso- ciation purchased it in 1980.

“The house is significant to the Gon- zaga community as this is the house where he grew up,” said Stephanie Plow- man, special collection librarian and member of the Advocates of the Bing Crosby Theater.

The house’s proximity to GU was essential to its construction at the time. Bing attended GU and served at St. Aloysius Church, two significant institutions of his adolescence. Through his career, Bing has alluded to his religious upbringing and education as defining characteristics. Even after developing his career, Bing’s presence would re- main on campus through visits, donations and memorabilia.

Bing’s contributions to the university are far too great to overlook. His donations and involvement in the library building campaign was integral to the construction of Crosby Library, currently the Crosby Student Center. Bing organized a television show, “The Bing Crosby Edsel Show,” and gave the rights to the university to ensure the proper finances to build the library. At the library’s dedication ceremony in 1957, “he attributed his success to his GU education,” said Plowman.

Bing’s success seems to be ingrained in the community vernacular, which is what makes his home a very tangible el- ement of GU’s history.

“I think Bing Crosby is an impor- tant part of American history. ... He has more records than Elvis and The Beatles put together,” Plowman said.

In acknowledging his education as a significant factor in his prolific career, Bing remained invested in university af- fairs. Beyond his fame, Bing will always be remembered at GU.

GU houses the largest collection of Crosby memorabilia, donated by Bing himself as well as family and friends. The majority of these artifacts remain in the archive vault in Foley Library. Thirty-six years after his death, his legacy is still celebrated. 

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