Willis Hall

Willis Hall Adron Mason Finished in 1872, Willis Hall was the first permanent building erected at Carleton College. It was named after Susan Willis Carleton, wife of William Carleton, a Boston gas lighting manufacturer who donated $10,000 to pay off the...

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West Gymnasium

West Gymnasium Ben Weiss On September 3, 2006, Carleton student and varsity swim team captain Ted Mullin lost his battle with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Beloved by students and faculty alike, he was completely invested in college life. He exhibited a...

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Weitz Center for Creativity

Weitz Center for Creativity Leslie Moore When Derek Phillips ’77 was growing up in Kansas City, he knew that he was more artistic than athletic. He had tried basketball, track, and baseball in high school, but it soon became clear to him that competitive...

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Watson Hall

Watson Hall Clifford Clark It was the summer of 1989. Behind Watson Hall, the student dormitory built in 1966 by American architect Minoru Yamasaki, a group of Japanese students gathered on the lawn for a picnic. They were at Carleton to improve their...

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Upper Arboretum

Upper Arboretum Clifford Clark Beginning in 1927 and working over the next decade, Professor of Botany Harvey Stork sketched out his conception of a wildlife plant and nature preserve on the north side of Lyman Lakes and Bell Field. He called it the Upper...

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The Town Houses

The Town Houses Clifford Clark The nine townhouses along Highway 19 look, from a distance, like traditional late-nineteenth century houses. Built on the side of a hill, they contain a lower apartment for one student in the basement, complete with kitchen,...

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The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden Clifford Clark Carleton’s Japanese garden was named by The Journal of Japanese Gardening in 2000 as one of the ten best Japanese gardens outside Japan. Conceived by Bardwell Smith, Dean of the College and Nason Professor of Religion and...

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The Intramural Fields

The Intramural Fields Leslie Moore The intramural fields located behind the Carleton Rec Center are home to Carleton’s two most famous games—Ultimate Frisbee and Rotblatt. Despite being a small school, Carleton boasts six competitive Frisbee teams. The...

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The Faculty Club

The Faculty Club Clifford Clark The Faculty Club, built in 1928, was the brainchild of D. Blake Stewart (Stewsie) then superintendent of buildings and grounds. Before World War I, while female students lived in Gridley Hall (1882-1967), most male students...

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The Druid Circle

The Druid Circle Leslie Moore Past the Hill of the Three Oaks, beyond the Recreation Center, sits a collection of large rocks in a circle. This site is known as the Druid Circle, and its origins provide an interesting insight into the nature of the...

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The Bald Spot

The Bald Spot Leslie Moore The large open space between Carleton’s Skinner Memorial Chapel and the Gould Library is affectionately known as “the Bald Spot.” Encircled by academic and administrative buildings, it functions as a social and recreational...

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The Central Park Controversy

The Central Park Controversy Leslie Moore In 1948, in response to the town’s growing population, the Northfield Board of Education voted to close College Street and convert Central Park—originally designed by the town’s founder, John W. North—into a...

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The “Libe”

The "Libe" Ben Weiss In 1982, a truck arrived behind the Gould Library carrying the parts to a brand-new German-made tower crane. It was to be used for the construction of an addition to the 1956 Carleton library that would double its size. The problem was...

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Strong House

Strong House Madison McBride One January in the 1880s, two students knocked on the door of James Strong’s house at 118 College Street and asked, “Might they borrow a horse and sleigh from Carleton College’s president to travel to a neighboring town where...

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Skinner Memorial Chapel

Skinner Memorial Chapel Ben Weiss Ten years before he was elected president of the United States, Barack Obama spoke at Carleton's Skinner Memorial Chapel on “Politics, Race, and the Common Good.” His address on February 5, 1999, was part of the college's...

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Scoville Library

Scoville Library Clilfford Clark In 1957, the year in which Scoville Memorial Library was turned into a classroom building, a student named Bruce Herrick, class of 1958, found a bust of the late eighteenth century German poet Johann Christoph Friedrich von...

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Sayles-Hill

Sayles-Hill Leslie Moore Built in 1910 as a gymnasium that also housed a running track and swimming pool, Sayles-Hill was transformed in 1979 into the Carleton student center. The hub of campus life, it now contains a snack bar, bookstore, game room, post...

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Parish House

Parish House Ben Weiss A wave of “general mourning” descended over Northfield at 7:20 p.m. on January 29, 1919. Everything in the city stopped. The movie theater closed. A basketball game between Carleton and St. Olaf was interrupted. Fred Burnett Hill,...

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Olin Hall

Olin Hall Clifford Clark Designed by award-winning architect Minoru Yamasaki and completed in 1961 at a cost of $1.51 million, the Olin Hall of Science was designed to serve the college's physics and biology departments. The building had two main...

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Old Music Hall

Old Music Hall Leslie Moore Built in 1914 in the Collegiate Gothic style, the Music Hall stands above a section of Carleton’s now off-limits tunnel system. Connecting most campus buildings constructed before the 1980s, the heated tunnels were used as paths...

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Nutting House

Nutting House Ben Weiss In the early 1930s, two Carleton students, looking for somewhere to live because they had not enrolled early enough to find a place in a dorm, noticed the grand mansion on the corner of Union and Third Streets. They stopped to...

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Nourse Little Theater

Nourse Little Theater Dan Brodkin Bertolt Brecht’s play The Caucasian Chalk Circle held its world premiere in Carleton’s Nourse Little Theater in May of 1948. The play is set in Soviet Georgia near the end of the Second World War and was based on a...

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Medical Arts Building

Medical Arts Building Dan Brodkin Controversy flared up in the summer of 1992 when local doctor Stanley T. Kucera had a striking mural painted on the side of the Medical Arts Building. Kucera had moved to Northfield in 1939. Nine years later, he had built...

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Lyman Lakes

Lyman Lakes Ben Weiss Ninety-one years old, Stewsie was seen on a rain-soaked spring of 1974 working on and directing a landscape project near Carleton’s main campus. A “peripatetic dynamo of a little man,” D. Blake Stewart (affectionately known as...

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Laird Stadium

Laird Stadium Tanner Fliss Laird Stadium, with a seating capacity of 7,500 for football and outdoor track meets, is one of the largest NCAA Division III stadiums in the country. When it was built in 1927, there was some thought that Carleton would join the...

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Hill of Three Oaks

Hill of Three Oaks Leslie Moore Located in the Upper Arboretum, the Hill of Three Oaks has historically been a popular location for picnics, Frisbee games, and concerts. It also overlooks a baseball field where students annually—in memory of Marvin...

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Headley House

Headley House Clifford Clark Designed by Minneapolis architect A. R. Van Dyke and built in 1937, the house of Leal and Harriet Marston Headley at 815 East Second Street was patterned after Mrs. Headley's childhood home in San Diego, California. Mrs....

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Great Hall

Great Hall Leslie Moore Built in 1928, Severance Hall completed the u-shaped set of dormitories (Davis, Burton, and Severance) that housed male students. This collection of collegiate Gothic buildings, tucked behind Scoville Library on the south and Willis...

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Goodsell Observatory

Goodsell Observatory Ben Weiss On June 2, 2010, student pranksters transformed Goodsell Observatory into a giant replica of R2D2 (a character from the acclaimed Star Wars universe). Using a virtual scale model of Goodsell for precise measurements, the...

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Farm House

Farm House Leslie Moore To attract extra help with the weeding each spring, Farm House, the sustainable-living interest house, hosts an event known as “Farmstock.” The well-known, popular event began in 1982. During the day students come and get their...

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Dacie Moses’ House

Dacie Moses House Leslie Moore Dacie Moses was loved by generations of Carleton students who greatly appreciated her kindness, wisdom, and patience. She took the time to listen to young people and welcomed them like family. Dacie’s one rule was that there...

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Chaney House

Chaney House Ben Weiss In 1992, Carleton student Jimmy Chin—now an internationally recognized climber, mountaineer, skier, director, and photographer—signed up for a climbing trip to Joshua Tree, California. He was an immediate natural. While others warily...

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Carleton Water Tower

Carleton Water Tower Leslie Moore The Carleton water tower, located behind the Rec Center and next to the baseball field, is one of the college’s most iconic structures and the source of endless pranks. Built in 1928 to provide the college with a source of...

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Boliou Fountain

Boliou Fountain Clifford Clark Nestled next to the entrance of Boliou Hall (1949), home to the Art and Art History Department, sits the Boliou Fountain, a revolving sculpture made out of brass that contrasts with the rectilinear form of the building...

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