Gentle Ben's Brewery has been on the block since 1971 and started brewing award-winning beers in 1991. The original house was located under what is now the lobby of the Marriott hotel. Built in 1908 as a private residence to the Hamilton Family, over the years it has serves as the University President's house, a boarding house, and as home to several different fraternities.
The name Gentle Ben's was chosen through a contest. The winner was a university professor that thought the manager looked like Dan Haggerty from the television show "Grizzly Admas". The co-star was a bear named Gentle Ben. That show was based on a man who roamed parts of Northern California in the 1920's and 30;s. He had two bears, Benjamin Franklin and Martha Washington. Martha was the mean bear, by people standards, and had to be kept chained to a stake. The other bear was gentle and was allowed to roam free, thus the name Gentle Ben.