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New Hampshire College: The State School in Hanover



1. Detail of Littig aerial

1. Detail of Littig aerial

Links from U.N.H. Archives:

-Introduction The Hanover Years
-Chronology 1856-893
-Officers of the Board 1866-1893
-Trustees of N.H.C.
Pictures of U.N.H. by Raymond Foss.

1 Leon Burr Richardson, History of Dartmouth College (Hanover: Dartmouth College Publications, 1932), 2:540.

2 John P. Hall, et al., History of the University of New Hampshire 1866-1941 (Durham: U.N.H. Press, 1941), 8. Everett B. Sackett, New Hampshire's University (Somersworth, N.H.: New Hampshire Publishing Co. for U.N.H., 1974), 3.

3 Hall, 8. Eldon Lee Johnson, "From Turnip Patch to University" (Newcomen Society, 1956), 8.

4 Sackett, 4.

5 Hall, 10, 11.

6 Ibid., 12.

7 Ibid., 12.

8 Ibid., 13, 35

9 Ibid., 34-5, 58, 67.

10 The Dartmouth (20 April 1876), cited in Hall, 36; Hall, 52.

11 Hall, 43, 50, 60-61. Q.T.V., was founded at the University of Massachusetts and later merged all of its chapters with Kappa Sigma.

12 Hall, 63-65. The figure of eight women is given in Hobart Pillsbury, New Hampshire - A History (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1927), 4: 1033.


"In fact, very little of a material nature survives in the village to remind one that an Agricultural College was once located in its midst."
      -Leon Burr Richardson1

The New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, or N.H.C., was the state's land-grant school and was founded in the same movement that created the University of Massachusetts and other institutions with corps of cadets. Today known as the University of New Hampshire, the school began in Hanover in 1867 in association with Dartmouth College (Fig. 1). When N.H.C. moved to its current home of Durham in 1892, Dartmouth immediately took over the buildings and state farm. The current U.N.H. campus in Durham is based to some extent on this "trial run" in Hanover, and in turn a large part of Dartmouth's campus owes its form to the existence of the state school. But only a few signs of this earlier campus remain today. This short paper, based on the History of the University of New Hampshire 1866-1941 edited by John P. Hall et al., as well as the N.H.C. Trustees' Minutes aims to connect these forgotten remnants with the current Dartmouth campus.

The nation's land-grant colleges grew out of the 1862 Morrill Act. Senator Justin S. Morrill of Vermont intended the act to set up a new type of university that was funded by the state legislatures. These schools stood in contrast to most of the colleges then existing, which were often endowed and normally had religious bases, representing what we would now call private schools. The focus of the new state schools was different. Morrill intended the schools to encourage agricultural education, emphasizing not literary or theological training but the practical arts. If the old colleges were like porcelain makers, Morrill compared the new ones to iron foundries. The goal was not serve a small and often elite class, rather

the leading object shall be without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts... in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.2

The military training that was part of the mandate was fairly well neglected at N.H.C., but remains a central feature of Texas A&M and other schools.

President Lincoln signed the Morrill Act in July of 1862, and its mechanism was simple. For every congressman a state had, the state could grant thirty thousand acres of land to endow and maintain a college for the state. A state could not use any federal money to construct the school's buildings, however, and a state had to act within five years to receive the land grant. New Hampshire sold its150,000 acres for $80,000.3

The act allowed the founding of thirty-seven schools by 1879. Twelve states gave their grants to novel agricultural and mechanical colleges, nineteen gave to existing state universities or colleges, and six gave to existing private colleges.4 Where a new school sprang up, it often established itself apart from existing cities, creating such towns as State College, Pennsylvania; College Park, Maryland and College Station, Texas. Occasionally the new state college went into competition with established schools in the state: The Massachusetts Agricultural College, later the University of Massachusetts, established itself in Amherst even though Amherst College already served the town.

Among existing state schools that took advantage of the funds was University of Vermont, where a new state school attached itself to the eighteenth-century institution. Elsewhere the land-grant school melded with contemporary private philanthropy to create a hybrid, as at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. In some cases the new state school formed a partnership with the existing endowed college, such as in Connecticut where the A&M joined Yale's Sheffield Scientific School and later became the independent University of Connecticut. Brown University in Rhode Island received its state's money; in New Jersey the state school joined the colonial college of Rutgers, eventually taking over the older institution. A similar companionship would occur in New Hampshire with a different outcome.

New Hampshire was slow to take advantage of the offer from Congress but managed to incorporate its own school in 1866. Though a Lyme businessman named Culver offered to give the school his 400-acre farm, as well as cash, the new institution accepted a competing offer from Dartmouth College in Hanover. Here the N.H.C. was to act in concert with the older college rather than establish itself as a separate school. Dartmouth hoped to benefit from the arrangement, and required the state to hand over the proceeds from the sale of the grant. This fund would in turn go toward the new agricultural curriculum and the state scholarship students, while in return the new school would be allowed to use the existing facilities and professors of Dartmouth, a much better situation than the new school could afford on its own. Five of the N.H.C. Trustees were to be selected by the state and four from the Dartmouth board, and the president of Dartmouth was to be the president of N.H.C.5

The school's Trustees first met in Concord on 28 September 1866 to begin their new institution.6 The curious relationship between N.H.C. and Dartmouth prevented their task from being entirely straightforward. One complication was the fact that Dartmouth already had a scientific curriculum. The Chandler Scientific Department, originally established as a separate school in 1852, had its own professorate, curriculum and admission standards. In a contract the N.H.C. administrators signed with Dartmouth in the summer of 1867, they tried to base the new school upon the Chandler framework. State school students were to meet Chandler requirements and take Chandler classes, with the only difference showing up in the last two years of the course when N.H.C. students substituted agricultural education for engineering.

But even before N.H.C. came into existence, its agricultural values came into conflict with those of the classical Dartmouth. This friction would occur throughout the new school's existence in Hanover. The Chandler contract fell through, and U.N.H. historian John P. Hall surmises that the Visitors of the Chandler School who canceled the contract did so based on their fear of an association with N.H.C.7

A second contract that emerged in the spring of 1868 proved more permanent. The agreement provided for the existence of a more distinct N.H.C. as another undergraduate department of Dartmouth, able to exchange professors and share equipment with the literary college. Professor Ezekiel Dimond was to establish the new school, and he became the chemistry instructor for both Dartmouth and N.H.C.8

The school opened in the fall of 1868 and for a number of years managed to exist without managing to prosper. It was rated one of the nation's poorest of land grant institutions, though the fact that it relied on Dartmouth buildings skewed the comparison. Between 1871 and 1892 the College graduated 143 students, while in the same period Dartmouth had between 200 and 300 enrolled at any one time. The lone student who signed up late for the N.H.C. class of 1880 caused the school to reprint the catalog of students. No more than 33 students enrolled at a time before 1880. Many of the students came from Vermont and Massachusetts.9

The relationship N.H.C. maintained with Dartmouth was amiable if occasionally strained. The conflict between the schools came to the fore in the question of admission requirements. An anonymous editorialist in The Dartmouth in 1876 complained that agricultural students were receiving the same B.S. degree as Chandler graduates despite meeting lower standards. For one, N.H.C. students only attended three years of college instead of Chandler's four until 1883. Initially the N.H.C. required only good moral character and common schooling, which meant three to five years less preparation than Dartmouth students and two to three years less than Chandler students. N.H.C. later broadened its standards to include examinations in grammar, geometry, mathematics and eventually U.S. History and algebra, but its requirements remained below those of the Chandler Department.10

The students of New Hampshire College, never numbering more than 33 before 1880, were also socially distinct. Though the school adjusted its calendar to fit Dartmouth's, it maintained separate commencement exercises. Agricultural students sat in one balcony of the Chapel in Dartmouth Hall, with Dartmouth students on the ground floor. Since Dartmouth organizations did not allow the "Aggies" to join, Ag students formed their own clubs. The Culver Literary Society appeared in Dartmouth's annual Aegis in the early 1870s and began gathering a library as Dartmouth's literary societies had done, also publishing a literary journal. Students also formed a local chapter of the agricultural-school fraternity Q.T.V. in the 1870s, meeting in the mezzanine of Culver Hall. The Christian Fraternity arrived in 1881. The schools' board of Trustees also limited instruction by Dartmouth faculty in order to foster a distinct institutional identity.11

Women undergraduates, nonexistent at Dartmouth, were normal for the state schools: in 1890 Delia E. Brown and Lucy Swallow, who was taking chemistry in preparation for study at MIT, were the first women to enroll at N.H.C. Neither graduated, but in the 1891-92 year eleven women were enrolled, about 20-25% of the class.12

In some ways N.H.C. added to the impression that Dartmouth was approaching a university: the Agricultural Department was the third undergraduate department, alongside the Literary Department (the standard classical curriculum we think of as Dartmouth College) and the Scientific (Chandler) Department. In the annual Aegis each department featured its own sports teams but notably also sent representatives to an all-school "university nine" baseball team.



2. N.H.C. Map 1892

2. Map of N.H.C.A.M.A. Campus 1892

3. N.H.C. Map 1998

3. Map of N.H.C.A.M.A. Campus 1998

4. Culver Hall

4. Culver Hall

5. Culver Hall

5. Culver Hall

6. Culver Hall (L.C.)

6. Culver Hall (L.C.)


7. Culver Hall (U.N.H.)

8. Conant Hall

8. Conant Hall visible behind Topliff


9. Conant Hall (U.N.H.)

10. Hallgarten

10. Remaining portion of Hallgarten Hall (author)

11. Exp. Farm (L.C.)

11. Experimental Farm (L.C.)

12. Alumni Oval

12. Alumni Oval

13. Farm buildings

13. Farm buildings (D.C.)

14. Poster

14. Promotional poster depicting Allen Hall

15. Ag. Exp. Station

15. Former Agricultural Experiment Station (author)

13 Hall 65-66.

14 Hall, 21.

15 Hall, 22, 24. N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 27 April 1869, 4 May 1869.

16 Hall, 24-25

17 The Dartmouth (March 1872).

18 Hall, 28. Sackett, 11. N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 30 July 1872, 27 September 1877, 22 April 1879

19 Richardson, 2:525. Sackett, 12.

20 Hall, 31, 45. N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 30 April 1872

21 N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 24 September 1872, 29 April 1873, 30 April 1872.

22 Hall, 31.

23 Hall, 31-32, N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 11 October 1883.

24 N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 10 August 1876, 11 October 1883, 24 June 1884, 23 April 1890.

25 Ibid., 47. Richardson, 2:540.

26 Sackett, 11. N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 18 August 1869. Cobb is presumed to lie east of Park because of later reference in the Trustees' Minutes, 17 August 1871. Hall, 33.

27 Hall, 29. Richardson, 540. N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 1 March 1871.

28 Hall, 29, 38.

29 Hall, 33. N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 17 August 1871. Hall notes paradoxically that the farm superintendents who followed Dimond continued to use the old house.

30 N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 30 April 1872, 25 September 1874, 16 April 1878, 25 July 1878, 18 April 1882, 10 October 1882. Richardson, 2:540. Jay Barrett, Jr., "Town of Hanover 1996 Annual Calendar, 'Hanover's Farms'," (1996), [December]. Hall, 47.

31 Hall, 79.

32 Ibid., 33.

33 N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 20 April 1886, 2 November 1887, 20 February 1888. Hall writes that the school installed the workshop in Culver.

34 Hall, 54.

35 N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 25 July 1878, 22 April 1879. Hall, 54.

36 N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 2 November 1887, 20 February 1888, 18 April 1888. Hall, 55-56.

37 N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 15 October 1890. The building's architect is not known though his name probably appears in state records.

38 N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 18 April 1888. The "laboratory" referred to is presumably not the Experiment Station since not named that and since it could not use state funds. N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 24 June 1889, 22 April 1890, 23 April 1890.


At their very first meeting in Concord in 1880, the alumni of N.H.C. offered a toast to the school's buildings.13 What sort of campus were they familiar with? The N.H.C. campus had a quite different feel from Dartmouth's, though both were intertwined at the periphery. The two schools grew in different manners: not only did N.H.C. concentrate on agriculture, focusing itself around a central farm as opposed to a green, but it s growth depended on the largesse of the state government in Concord.

N.H.C. was never a large school in Hanover, and at its height consisted of three main brick buildings (Figs 1, 2). For comparison, Dartmouth in 1892 had seven. The N.H.C. buildings filled the standard needs of a new college, containing classrooms and dormitories. The school also required some unusual facilities specific to its educational aims, including an experimental farm and a frame workshop building. All of these came over time.

What might be the signature building for N.H.C. was its first building, Culver Hall (Figs. 4-7). Culver stood on East Wheelock Street east of Reed Hall, on a site now occupied by a road running behind Fayerweather Row. The school erected Culver in 1871-72 and Dartmouth demolished the building in 1929.

The Culver bequest provided the funds for a building to house the new school's museum collection or "cabinet." Ezekiel Dimond, the prolific professor who functioned as the father of N.H.C., brought the collection from Europe as the basis for a N.H. Museum of General and Applied Science.14 Mr. Culver had intended his farm in Lyme to provide a home for the school at the time when N.H.C. was still in the planning stages; after it settled in Hanover and Dartmouth arranged split the estate with Culver's heirs, more than $30,000 was left for the purpose of agricultural education. Dartmouth's Trustees offered to take $25,000 and use it to build a building costing under $40,000 if the state legislature would put in an additional $15,000.

In their April meeting in 1869 the N.H.C. Trustees voted to have Dimond procure plans for Culver Hall and they resolved to build it the next month. Dimond proposed a complete floor plan for the building, which appears in the 1869 Trustees' Report, and the Dartmouth Trustees agreed to Dimond's list of rooms. The two schools agreed that if they were to separate, Dartmouth would repay the state its $15,000 plus interest.15

Dartmouth and N.H.C. worked together to produce Culver Hall. Professor Dimond lobbied the state for the $15,000 and Dartmouth alumni in the legislature helped approve the funding. New Hampshire College hired Concord architect Edward Dow, later a partner in Dow & Randlett and designer of much of N.H.C.'s Durham campus, to design Culver Hall. Governor Stears laid the cornerstone on 23 June 1871, heralded by a plowing contest at the school farm's front field across the street, among other celebrations. The construction took two years.16 Administrators discovered much difficulty with labor and materials, for example when a flood destroyed the bricks intended for the building as they lay in the brickyard.

When workers finished the building it presented a modern and imposing face to Hanover and Dartmouth. It stood on a sloping site overlooking East Wheelock Street and the land to the south, which at the time was free of buildings or trees. Four stories high, it featured a mansard roof; a pair of columns framed the entrance. It was the most state-of-the-art building on campus and one of the finest in New Hampshire. Dartmouth had a gymnasium that was about five years old but nothing else at all recent: The Dartmouth contrasted the "...spacious airy lecture room in Culver Hall with its large and numerous windows and pleasant situation" with "the Cimmerian gloom of the Chapel or some of the recitation rooms of Dartmouth Hall."17

Both schools would use Culver Hall intensely. The building originally housed not only the museum but the two schools' joint chemistry laboratory and departments of mineralogy, geology and natural history. Culver was connected by telegraph to a scientific expedition spending the winter atop Mt. Washington 1870-71. The building was also the first in Hanover to use gas light, in 1872, using gas supplied by Dimond's works across the street. Also in 1872 the board voted to buy some of Adna Balch's land and planned to pipe water from a spring there to the lab. The board charged a committee with grading the Culver grounds in the summer of 1872. When Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering needed space in 1877, N.H.C. allowed it to set up rooms on the east side of the basement and first floor of the building. N.H.C. also held many of its public ceremonies here, and in April of 1879 its board voted to strengthen top floor of the building to carry spectators safely.18

In need of living space, N.H.C. students also roomed in South Hall, an old frame hotel Dartmouth had bought as a dormitory in 1868. The 1795 building stood on the northwest corner of Main and Maple Streets where the Fleet Bank Building is today, and burned in 1888.19

The second purpose-built building of New Hampshire College was a dormitory and dining facility called Conant Hall (Figs 8,9). The school purchased its five-acre site, across East Wheelock Street from Culver Hall, in 1873. Workers erected the building in 1873 and 1874. Dartmouth eventually renamed the building Hallgarten ("Hellgate") after purchasing the N.H.C. properties in 1892, and it demolished the dormitory portion of the building in 1925. The rear kitchen annex remains in situ, however, and it houses Dartmouth's electronic music studio (Fig. 10).

John Conant of Jaffrey, for whom the Conant Hall dormitory is named, was the most munificent benefactor of N.H.C. during its time in Hanover. Though he only visited Hanover once, Conant gave a total of $70,000 to the school over the last six years of his life. After observing students boarding in houses scattered throughout the town he pledged $5,000 toward the $12,000 needed for a N.H.C. "boarding house." The Trustees' Minutes of 30 April 1872 record Conant's gift and note that the dormitory was already in the planning stages.20 Again the state legislature provided the remaining funds.

Dartmouth apparently offered a site for the building, but N.H.C. deemed it to far from Culver and the farm, and instead bought the Gates and Allen lots adjoining its front field, today the land lying east of Wilson Hall. In the spring of 1872 the board authorized its committee to buy the Allen lot, now home to Topliff Hall. Here the school cut a new road called Crosby Street, running in a north-south direction between East Wheelock Street and Lebanon Street. The street emphasized the grandeur of Culver Hall on the hill by aligning with its front door and also separated the farm's front field on the east from the new dormitory on the west. In the fall of 1872 the board voted to look into buying land to the west, behind the Gates House where Wilson Hall now stands, and later bought the property. In the spring of 1873 the board voted to site Conant on this newly-combined plot south of Wheelock Street.21

Construction for Conant Hall began in May of 1873, and when the building opened in the fall of 1874 the school reckoned the cost at $22,358.22 Rather than convey a sense that this was a public building as Culver did, Conant was clothed in domestic garb. The gabled roof with dormers, the comparative lack of columns, and the presence of the rear kitchen gave it this air. The building had 13 suites for students and a single room, all rented at a variety of prices, as well as a portion leased to boarding professors. The first floor of the hall contained the dining room, which served the 135 students who belonged to Conant's dining club--both N.H.C. and Dartmouth students. Presaging the College's Organic Farm of the 1990s, students consumed the harvest of the school's neighboring Experimental Farm in a scheme Professor Dimond hoped would keep costs down. For a number of years a Mrs. Durgin ran the operation; nevertheless the dining club was not a financial success.23

Conant Hall served as the residential heart of the school. After Professor Dimond died, the board voted that his widow could live in Conant for more than two years. Conant seems however to have been rather underheated, which caused structural problems: in 1883 Professor Scott described to the board problems with settling and wall cracks. Conant soon shared its site with other buildings: in the summer of 1884 the school leased to Dartmouth a strip of land running 52 feet along Wheelock Street east of the Gates House lot to allow more room for the new Wilson Hall library, as long as it remained open to N.H.C. students. This site now serves New Hampshire Hall. And in 1890 N.H.C. offered to lease Dartmouth the land immediately west of Conant as a site for Bartlett Hall--Dartmouth however chose to place the building across the street.24

Perhaps the most important part of the new school was its Experimental Farm, part of which formed the school's central focus of sorts (Fig. 11). The farm's goal was to serve as a testing ground for agricultural techniques that would benefit the farmers of New Hampshire, as well as a place where students could learn the most modern theory and practice of farming. Its 25-acre "front field" occupied the block where the Alumni Gymnasium and Memorial Field now stand, stretching east from Crosby Street and south from Wheelock (Fig. 12). Professor Dimond initially used the interest on the proceeds of the sale of the state's original land grant to buy the land for $3625, formerly the farm of S.M. Cobb. The N.H.C. Trustees voted to purchase the land from Cobb on 18 August 1869.25

The state farm in its entirety was composed of the lands several private farmers. About the same time is the front field purchase, using $7000 of his own money, Dimond bought the 135-acre Chase Farm. This land stretched eastward from South Park Street to Balch Hill and is now home to Chase Field as well as residential neighborhoods. The helpful John Conant later provided $7000 for N.H.C. to buy the farm from Dimond, and in March of 1870 the Trustees renamed the land Conant Farm; in 1873 the College added an adjoining 185 acres for $6234. In total he farm comprised 77 acres of fields and 251 acres of pasture and woodland by 1877.26

The Chase Farm's old farmhouse and outbuildings stood on the southeast corner of Park and Wheelock Streets and became the headquarters of the new state farm. The buildings were dilapidated, and the small one-story farmhouse was reportedly one of the oldest houses in town.27 Professor Dimond managed to repair the buildings and move in. On 17 August 1871 the N.H.C. Trustees voted to have Dimond design a set of new farm buildings to be built with a recent $5000 state grant, and to secure a "landscape gardener" to help site the structures. The new model farm barn measuring 50 by 100 feet, and Dimond was also able to add a second story onto the farmhouse.28

The state college continued to add to the buildings, most notably with a new superintendent's house and farm house (Fig. 13). The Trustees voted to ask the legislature for $7,000 to complete the farm buildings in the spring of 1872. In the fall of 1874 the board appointed a committee to build a barn wherever they saw fit with funds from the legislature, as well as a poultry house; they voted to build a dairy in 1878. In the spring of 1878 the Board also discussed a planned new house for the farm superintendent, which they followed up with a request for plans and a foundation in 1881. The following year the board also voted to obtain plans for a farm house similar to the already-completed superintendent's house already built, to cost under $6000 and to be finished by November of 1882. Dartmouth bought the farm complex in 1921 and demolished the barn in 1922. The house was demolished in 1962.29

The farm was a central feature in the life of the school. Paid students, from both Dartmouth and New Hampshire College, worked the land. In some circles the farm received high marks, especially after Jeremiah W. Sanborn of Gilmanton took over from Professor Blanpied as the farm's manager in August of 1876. Sanborn performed a number of experiments during his seven-year tenure that became well known in the U.S. and abroad. But the farm also had its detractors, who pointed out that the Hanover land lay halfway between a hill and a river and thus represented only a small percentage of the soil in the state. Critics attacked the barn as an overly-theoretical extravagance.30

N.H.C. lived up to the Mechanic Arts portion of its name by teaching classes in Dartmouth's carpenter's shop for a number of years, and also possibly in a machine shop in Culver.31 This cornerstone of the curriculum was a priority of Dimond's, and the school built the frame Allen Hall around 1874 to function as a workshop, naming it for the previous owner of the lot on which it stood behind Conant Hall (Fig. 14). A lack of machinery, however, forced the school to convert Allen into a dormitory soon after construction.32 Dartmouth later occupied the building, turning it into the college infirmary and demolishing it in 1919.

A workshop would allow the complete system of manual training that the school lacked, and in the spring of 1886 the Trustees adopted recommendations to build a workshop to be a permanent classroom for the mechanic arts. The school intended to take advantage of a U.S. law that would allow the Navy to post a professor of steam engineering at the college. Though it considered fitting up basement of Culver as a workshop, the Trustees resolved to go ahead with a new building late in 1887. Workers had finished the building by the time of the board's meeting of 20 February 1888, at a cost of $500.33 The building stood south of Conant. Originally 30 by 30 feet, the building grew by 50 feet in 1888 and its original $300 in apparatus grew to include a boiler, engine and other machinery purchased with $4,500 from the legislature.

The Navy chose to send Lieut. Thomas W. Kinkaid of its Engineering Department as the workshop's instructor. Once the shop was operating, Kinkaid departed and N.H.C. hired the expert carpenter and ironworker George L. Teeple to be its instructor in mechanical engineering and physics. Teeple switched to electrical engineering in 1891 when Albert Kingsbury became professor of mechanical engineering.34

The one N.H.C. building with the broadest aims to serve the state ended up serving it for the shortest time (Fig. 15). Though an agricultural experiment station was a consideration of the board in 1876, it decided to hold off due to lack of funds. It was not until Congress provided for each state to erect an agricultural experiment station through the Hatch Act of 2 March 1887 that N.H.C. had the money necessary to run the station.35 The Act appropriated $15,000 in annual funding if the state would provide the building, which represented more than the annual budget of the whole N.H.C. The goal of all of the stations nationwide was to experiment with all aspects of farming: animals and their diseases, the structures of plants, techniques for dairying, and crop rotations.

At its 2 November 1887 meeting the N.H.C. board resolved to look into the expected experimental station based on the new Hatch Act, and in February of 1888 voted to visit and study other stations. The school appointed its building committee on 22 February 1888 and at the annual Trustees' meeting selected a board to control the station, which met for the first time the following day. The cornerstone ceremony took place on South Park Street in the presence of Governor Sawyer and appropriate Grange ritual in June of 1888, with an accompanying meal taking place in Dartmouth's gymnasium. The board voted to name the building the "New Hampshire Agricultural Station" and it was completed in 1889.36

Though the building saw thorough use, with its Board of Control fitting up a creamery inside among other uses, the building went to Dartmouth just three years after it was built. It became the home of Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering. Now painted white but still bearing its rather Romanesque round-arched windows, brick residence remains in Dartmouth possession.37

Some N.H.C. buildings went unbuilt: In the spring of 1888 the board resolved to procure plans and begin building a laboratory building to cost no more than $7000, funded by a $3000 government grant and the sale of some College Farm assets. In a June 1889 meeting the board considered selling Culver to Dartmouth in anticipation of moving to the new laboratory, though the next year when Dartmouth offered $2000 it was deemed too little. Parts of the farm complex were also unrealized: at an 1890 meeting the board allowed a building committee to decide on building a new barn.38



Campus Map

16. University of New Hampshire campus (U.N.H.)

39 Dimond in Hall, 42.

40 Hall, 81. N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 27 September 1877.

41 Hall, 68.

42 Ibid., 69.

43 Ibid., 70.

44 Ibid., 73.

45 Ibid., 74, 76, 80.

46 Ibid., 97. James Squires, The Granite State of the U.S. (New York: American Historical Co. Inc., 1956), 2: 548.

47 Pillsbury, 4: 1033.

48 N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 21 April 1891, 6 August 1891, 23 June 1891, 11 June 1891.

49 Frank J. Barrett, Jr.. Hanover, New Hampshire. (Dover, N.H.: Arcadia Publishing, 1997), 116. Sylvanus Thayer as architect of Bartlett Hall in Bryant Franklin Tolles with Carolyn K. Tolles, New Hampshire Architecture : An Illustrated Guide (Hanover: Published for the New Hampshire Historical Society by the University Press of New England, 1979), 295.

50 N.H.C.A.M.A. Board of Trustees' Minutes, 23 September 1891, 20 April 1892, 9 October 1891, 27 November 1891, 27 November 1891, 19 April 1892.

51 Hall, 98-100. The barn burned in 1894.


New Hampshire College was not long in Hanover. After occupying its campus for just over twenty years, and just three years after finishing its Experiment Station, the school left the town and moved to Durham. Today, rechristened the University of New Hampshire, it continues to serve the state (Fig. 16).

It was the ill fit of N.H.C. in Hanover, as exemplified in the controversy over degree requirements, that caused the school to leave. But the departure was not inevitable, and President Smith noted the improvement in relations between students of the two schools as they worked in the field and ate together. Professor Dimond pointed out that "Honest industry, in whatever form, has never been disreputable at Dartmouth College, an it will certainly be none the less so for the peculiar opportunities furnished by the agricultural department."39 Master of the State Grange Dudley T. Chase also gave the school a positive assessment. In 1877 administrators even discussed the possibility of merging the engineering course of the Chandler Department with the mechanic arts branch of the N.H.C.40

Nonetheless Dartmouth pressured the school to leave, and not only because Dartmouth wanted the N.H.C. land (at one time Dartmouth proposed to buy the state's share in Culver Hall to allow N.H.C. to build itself a new building elsewhere).41 President Bartlett thought that neither the Chandler Department nor New Hampshire College was pulling its weight.42 Responding to a N.H.C. commencement speech, Bartlett said the agricultural course was intended for men suitable "for highway surveyors, selectmen, and perhaps, members of the legislature."43 Dean Pettee of N.H.C. claimed that Bartlett was also attempting to separate the aggies from Dartmouth by telling them they were not members of a Dartmouth department but part of an independent school.44 Neither was Bartlett popular with all of Dartmouth, and the faculty asked him to resign in 1881.

New Hampshire College began to investigate seriously the possibility of leaving Hanover in 1885. In that year a legislative committee studied the options for the school; the Grange conducted its own investigation. Despite complaints that the agriculture school was receiving short shrift, was far from the center of the state, and would continue to be overshadowed and scorned by Dartmouth, the legislative committee concluded that moving the school would prove too expensive. The Grange, however, came to the opposite conclusion. There had been a controversy over ownership of Culver Hall that resulted from complications in the donor's will, and in 1887 the Grange took the side that Dartmouth was not using Culver for agricultural education and should withdraw all of its claims to the building. The powerful fraternal society of farmers also criticized the experimental farm's atypical location, the lack of farmers on the Board of Trustees, the lack of students in the school, and the extravagance of the experiment station.45

So N.H.C. planned to leave Hanover, vacating its campus. Dartmouth's President Bartlett favored buying all the school's property, though the Trustees did not go as far. Dartmouth bought the land west of Crosby and its buildings for $10,000, and for $3,000 purchased the close-in portion of the farm defined by Wheelock and Park Streets, about 22 acres. The Thayer School of Engineering bought the Experiment Station for $3,000 and would use the building as its first freestanding home. The legislature gave Culver Hall to Dartmouth for free, in 1893 appropriating for N.H.C. the $15,000 Dartmouth would have paid. John M. Fuller bought the rest of the Experimental Farm and its buildings for $10,000, though Dartmouth would later acquire all of it. The school moved all of its equipment in the summer of 1893 and at the end of spring the last classes were taught.46

N.H.C. began its independent existence in Durham on the farm that the state accepted from Benjamin Thompson's estate in 189147 The school established a new campus that would relate to its original Hanover site in several ways. By replicating the functions and names of the Hanover campus in Durham, the school in a sense framed the Hanover campus as a trial run. In the spring of 1891 the Board of Trustees voted to visit the Thompson farm to see the building sites themselves; they hired Charles Eliot as landscape architect to lay out the campus. Eliot would two years later present Dartmouth a new campus expansion plan of its own. That summer the board discussed where the second iterations of the Experiment Station and College Barn would go.48

A number of architects presented their schemes for the first two important campus buildings to the N.H.C.A.M.A. board in September of 1891. William Butterfield, who later designed Dartmouth's 1903 Sphinx; Peabody & Stearns; Lambert Packard, designer of the 1887 Wheelock Hotel, later the Hanover Inn, and possibly the 1890-91 Bartlett Hall;49 as well as Dow & Randlett gave presentations. The board went with Dow & Randlett for the new Main Building in Durham, soon to be named Conant, in October. Dow & Randlett of course included partner Edward Dow, designer of much of the Hanover campus. And much as the school had built Crosby Street in Hanover to lead to Culver Hall, the board decided to lay out a road leading to the front of the new Conant in November of 1891. Other building types followed Hanover precedent out of necessity: foundations for the barn and experiment station were underway by November, and the Trustees planned a shop building The Trustees also set about finding a lot on which the Q.T.V. fraternity, begun in Hanover, could build a house.50

Despite the fact that it was unfinished, the new wooden model barn of the N.H.C. campus saw the first N.H.C. commencement in 1892. The students were still holding their studies in Hanover since the rest of the campus was not ready. The new school in Durham opened officially in the fall of 1893.51



17. Alumni Oval, Gym

17. Alumni Oval and Alumni Gymnasium

52 Hall, 27.

53 Ibid., 28.

54 Ibid., 32.


Dartmouth put its new buildings to use immediately after buying them from N.H.C. in 1892 and several of them continue to serve (Fig. 3). The first floor of Culver held the chemistry department until 1906, when the department occupied the whole building.52 The Department of Art took over Culver in 1921, departing a couple of years before Dartmouth demolished the hall in 1929. By that time Culver was a decrepit and unpopular building.53

After taking Conant Hall, Dartmouth renamed the building Hallgarten. Standing back from the street, the building represented an 1870s conception of the landscape and acknowledged its location adjacent a farm; by the 1920s this was well out of date as well as an inefficient use of space for the growing college. Dartmouth hid Hallgarten by building Topliff Hall on the outside of the block in 1919, demolishing the main portion of Hallgarten in 1925. The building's rear portion, originally the dormitory's kitchen annex, remains.54

N.H.C.'s subsidiary buildings also failed to last more than a few years. Dartmouth replaced the workshop with its own more substantial Shop building near the same site in 1916. Allen Hall served as the school's infirmary or "pest house" until the school demolished it in 1919.

Perhaps the most striking transformation took place at the front field of the old Experimental Farm. The land remained a carefully cultivated patch of ground that witnessed the physical struggles of students; but after 1892 these struggles were devoted to sport rather than agriculture. As soon as the large tract of open land between Crosby and Park came into Dartmouth's possession, a group of alumni funded the Alumni Oval. This complex consisted of a wooden grandstand on Crosby Street where the Memorial Field stand now stands, and a playing field surrounded by an oval running track where the current field and track are (Fig. 17). Sports which had previously taken place on the Green now had a space devoted to them and a more effective means of collecting gate receipts.

Today both schools continue; N.H.C. changed its name to U.N.H. in 1923 and tends to recall its Hanover origins better than Dartmouth does. Though few buildings remain, the state school shaped the layout of a significant part of the Dartmouth campus as it exists today, representing the first of the three large land acquisitions that have provided Dartmouth the space for its campus. Occurring at height of early enthusiasm for athletics, the acquisition provided a sports field close to campus. That this parallel campus existed is little known, as is the acknowledgment that this large state institution had its genesis on quiet East Wheelock Street in Hanover.


©1999 Scott Meacham
Created Dec 1999-Jan 2000

URL: www.dartmo.com/nhc/index.html