McKee was built in 1922 with funds from the Baptist Board of Educators and named for William Parker McKee in honor of his twenty-five years of service as college president.
McKee and Hostetter Hall, to the north, were joined by a two-story structure referred to as Hostetter Annex. At the time the upper story was used for storage by the housekeepers, and the lower story included the main entrance to the dining room, the student government office, and the phone exchange, which was put in during the fall term of either 1965 or 1966.
As part of the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies, McKee was unoccupied and used as storage.
Bellairs on Campus
Part of the agreement Bellairs signed to teach at Shimer in the autumn of 1966 was to serve as faculty counselor in one of the men's dormitories, specifically McKee Hall. In this stead, Bellairs replaced Harry Golding, who had served in that role since the fall 1964 semester. Affectionately known as Harry Golding's Good Guys, the McKee residents were sad to see Golding move on.
"Two years of being a den-mother for at least fifty young males of the ages 15 to at least 21 was more than any human should suffer though Bellairs was more than acceptable substitute. He was more of a friend than supervisor. On at least one occasion he helped me smuggle a young lady out of my room, an offense that at the time could mean expulsion, although residents of McKee had (very unofficially) a lot more leeway than other dorms did."
Bellairs lived in the headmaster apartment, two connected rooms containing a bedroom, a private bath, an assemblage of furniture and a wall taken up entirely with shelving. These shelves contained Bellairs's numerous stacks of books, having replaced Golding's vast classical record collection.