The Bowdoin "experiment with coeducation" began with 12 women in 1969-1970, followed by the first fully-coed class in 1972. In the late 1970s a group of women students, feeling that women needed a space of their own, searched the entire campus for a place that could serve this purpose. When they discovered 24 College Street, which had recently been acquired by the college, they fell in love with the building, especially the living room. When they found the portrait of a woman painted on the brick chimney in the basement, they felt it was meant for this building to become a space for women at Bowdoin.
In the fall of 1980, the Bowdoin Women's Resource Center (WRC) opened its doors at 24 College Street. At the time, the WRC consisted of one room--the living room--and the rest of the building was used for student housing. The WRC had no funds or separate budget; it was run entirely by the Bowdoin Women's Association (BWA), and materials for the WRC were purchased with BWA funds. Students successfully lobbied for a staff position and, in the fall of 1983, the first part-time staff person for the WRC was hired.
The WRC has grown since its beginnings. Students no longer reside in the building, and the WRC now shares the building with the Women's Studies Program. The WRC space now includes the library/living room, a downstairs office for the WRC Director, and upstairs offices for the Women's Studies Program Administrator and Women's Studies faculty. Since the mid 1990s, the WRC and the Women's Studies Program have been stretching the limits of the space available in the building. In 1998, an architectural study was completed, outlining plans for a renovation of the building, which would expand the space in several ways including the addition of a classroom and an office.