High on the Hill

Dixon, Linda J.
1979

THE COLLEGE FARM

THE COLLEGE FARM

 

If you stood here in the 1880s you would have seen only farm and pastureland extending down to Broadway and over to Powderhouse Square. The college owned most of the land and allocated sections of it to faculty members for farming and cattle grazing. One professor kept enough cows to sell 20 quarts of milk each day to faculty families. The college itself operated a good-sized farm and students were able to earn

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part of their tuition by working there — a chore probably familiar to most of them. With typical New England thrift, the produce was consumed in the college dining hall.

A creek which ran along the bottom of the hill was dammed to create a pond which was called "The Arty," short for artificial. The pond was especially attractive to small frogs, who migrated by the thousands each spring from the slope below Professors Row, across Talbot Avenue and through the open pasture. Their croaking chorus was a familiar sound on a warm spring evening.

Eventually the trustees decided that farming operations were unbecoming to a college, and the last cow is reported to have departed in 1893.

With the elimination of the college farm, the land was rapidly developed for housing. It was common for members of the administration and faculty to live on the campus; a few still do today.