North College

Title

North College

Subject

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Description

North College, also known as North Dormitory or Old North, was built in 1867 as housing for students attending the Massachusetts Agricultural College (M.A.C.). The building originally housed approximately sixty-five students. Since M.A.C. was not accepting female students at the time, North College housed only men, and would do so until the 1940’s, when it was no longer used as a dormitory.

According to an 1890 student handbook, rooms in North College were furnished with coal stoves and cost students between eight and ten dollars a term. In comparison, rooms just across the way in South College were outfitted with steam heat and students paid between twelve and eighteen dollars each term, plus a thirteen dollar heat tax charged to students each year. By 1910, the dorm rooms in North College were outfitted to provide both steam heating and electricity. The cost for rooms on campus then ranged from $31.50 to $66.00 each term.

By 1916, North College had undergone numerous renovations. In 1908, the building was remodeled from basement to roof. The entire building was wired for electricity and three lights, two side fixtures and one central fixture on the ceiling, were placed in each room. Such renovations transformed North College into a “modern” dormitory. The basement was refurbished in order to house the college store, a barbershop, and toilets and baths for the students. A large room was created on the first floor to house the Social Union (a predecessor to the current Student Union), and two smaller rooms were built to be used by the campus’s various organizations. The post office and the Collegian’s office were also housed in North College.

Until the fall semester of 1930, North College had housed upperclassmen and members of the fraternities, and freshmen rented rooms in private houses in the town of Amherst. In the spring of the same year, the College decided to house incoming students in North College. The state provided approximately $30,000 for the remodeling of the dormitory. Following the repairs, about sixty-five freshmen lived in North College. Although this decision did not, by any means, alleviate the housing crisis facing the College – on campus housing, at this point, only accommodated about a quarter of the student population – it made sense to the College to house all the freshmen in one building. The College hoped this would encourage freshmen to become better connected with their fellow students and the campus.

In the 1940’s, North College was once again remodeled, but this time it was in order to create more classrooms. The bedrooms on the second, third, and fourth floors were converted to house classes. Alas, the need for new classrooms eventually convinced the university that they needed to build academic buildings that the campus so desperately needed due to the dramatic increase in students following the end of World War II and the implementation of the G.I. Bill. By the mid-1950’s, Old North began to witness, just inches from its brick façade, the construction of a new academic building, Machmer Hall. Soon after the completion of Machmer Hall in 1957, North College was torn down. Shortly thereafter, the site was covered with materials for the construction of yet another academic building, Thompson Hall.

Creator

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Source

UMass Special Collections and University Archives

Publisher

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Date

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Contributor

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Rights

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Relation

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Format

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Language

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Type

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Identifier

RG150-0004888, RG150-0004863

Coverage

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Original Format

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Physical Dimensions

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Files

RG150-0004888.png
RG150-0004863.png
Date Added
August 31, 2012
Collection
Central Campus
Item Type
Still Image
Citation
“North College,” Lost UMass, accessed April 24, 2017, http://lostumass.omeka.net/items/show/32.