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 Rotblatt, the pitcher with the worst record in the major leagues—play a 150-inning softball game.

On an empty farm field just to the left of the Hill of Three Oaks, a group of students in 1968 banded together to form Carleton’s first rugby team. After several months of traveling to distant away games, Al Wells ’71 decided the college needed its own rugby pitch. Aware that President John Nason had played rugby while he was studying at Oxford, Wells asked the president if he could create a field at Carleton for Rugby. Nason granted Wells’s wish and by the following spring, the Carleton rugby team was practicing on a new pitch next to the Hill of Three Oaks.

To express appreciation for all the help, the rugby team invited Nason and his wife, Elizabeth, to their first game. It just happened to be the same afternoon as a formal fundraising event, but the Nasons came anyway. Nason and his wife—who was wearing a dress and heels—wandered out into the middle of the muddy pitch at halftime and shook hands with every player, including those from the opposing team.

The Hill of Three Oaks became, and remains today, a beloved gathering place for the Carleton rugby teams, so much so that they call themselves “The Oaks.” It is also well known as the best spot on campus to watch either the sun rise over the arboretum or the sun set behind St. Olaf. The shade of the trees and beautiful overlook have attracted the attention of other students as well. The Reformed Druids of North America often gather there for meetings, as do wandering stargazers, and students who want to barbecue on a nice spring day.