The original design included Neoclassical features like its two-story front portico, four simple columns
A peripatetic building, “The Sem” has served many purposes. Between 1849 and 1933, it was moved three times across Howard Street, and it has stood in four different locations. In 1850, having been moved to Howard Street and replaced with Mary Lyon Hall, it was used as a straw hat factory, tenement and meeting
The Sem held faculty apartments from 1941 until 2010, when it once again became a residence hall for students.
The most vivid imprint of The Sem’s previous history survives in the upstairs apartment, where four rooms that stand in pairs off of a long, narrow hallway still feature transoms over each doorway. In each of these rooms, on either side of the entrance, are two closets containing deep, built-in shelves meant to serve as dressers for student residents.
In 1933, prior to the demolition of the Boarding House, the building was moved to its current location on Howard Street and given its nickname, “The Sem,” by President Park. This name appears on a small pediment over the front door.