There were no trees, no fence, and not
a blade of grass but a deep bed of sand
lay around the house."
opening day of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary,
November 8, 1837(1)
creation of the Mount Holyoke female seminary
changed the ecology of the
South Hadley landscape forever. Some say it
has been made better, or more beautiful through
the intense landscaping that has taken place.
On the contrary, some others, who prefer the
more “natural” or wild landscape,
say that the Mount Holyoke College campus has
become a creation of man, which has been ecologically
devastating. For good or bad, the ecology of
the Mount Holyoke Campus has changed considerable
over time. You be the Judge.
Farmland: Before the seminary
was built South Hadley was covered predominatly
by farmland. There were many different families
who owed the land that is now Mount Holyoke
College. Over the years as the seminary grew
into a college
to grow the farmland was coverted to the
created landscape of the college.
day one nothing had been planted…yet.
Since the beginning years of the seminary
to the college today
an enormous amount of time and money has been
put into the upkeep of the grounds and gardens.
Ecologically this has vastly changed the
area from being predominantly covered by
the leafy cover now experienced by Mount
Holyoke students today.
the fire the college had to completely rebuild.
the construction of new buildings and the expanding
the college, the landscape was also reevaluated
and redone to a large extent. All of these chages
greatly affected the ecology of the Mount
and Streams: What
was once a free flowing small stream has
become the two lakes and brook
we know today. The lakes have experienced much
ecological change throughout their history.
They were created by the mill owners who
needed a more steady supply of water to use
as power. This was the first time the river
was damed but certainly not the last. The area around Upper lake and the dam were purchased on December 23, 1884 for the purpose of gaining control over the water way (6). The
lakes were dredged in
and 1985 and 86, due to the build up of sediment that
was impeding the recreational
value of them. The lakes also suffered an ecological
domination by the annoying Water
Chestnut. The Water
Chestnut blight also created a hazardous situation
for the Mount Holyoke students who wished to
use the lake for recreation.
Click here for a beautiful poem written about the water ways of the Mount Holyoke Campus.
Hurricanes: On two separate occasions hurricanes decimated
the trees and vegetation of the college.
The broken trees had to be replaced as well
as the debris being removed. Hurricanes can
cause great changes to the ecological make-up
of a place, which was certainly true for
the Mount Holyoke Campus.
Jewett Lane and Ashefield Lane there lies
a place of mystery, a field
full of buttons: Button
Field. One mans unique
attempt at fertilizing his crops became a
not only changed the ecology of the Mount Holyoke
College campus but was passed down from student
the Mount Holyoke female seminary was first built
Prospect Hill wasn't even owned by the seminary
and was completly treeless. Over the course
of Mount Holyokes history Prospect Hill has
become completly wooded. As the hill has
become a forest it has created a huge ecological
shift, as it became a completly different
Chose Your Ecological Journey:
1. The Creation of the Mount Holyoke College Landscape
2. The Ever-Changing Lakes
3. Disasters and Other Odd Occurances and Changes