The first student government organization was started at Penn around the time of the 1896 opening of Houston Hall, the first student union on a United States university campus. Created by five undergraduates, the Houston Club Officers managed all activities held in Houston Hall through a system of committees in a democratic governance structure.
For nearly 30 years, the Penn Bookstore was located where Huntsman Hall now stands. Opened in September 1968, the building was intended to be the Bookstore’s temporary space after the original store, called the Houston Hall Store, moved out of the basement of Houston Hall. In 1998, the 38th Street store closed and was replaced with the current Bookstore at 36th and Walnut streets.