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Going With the Flow:
The Mount Holyoke Community's Changing Relationship With Water


The dam on Upper Lake in 1908. Notice how the dam contains a smaller area than it does in 2003. Courtesy MHC Archives (1).


Mount Holyoke has seen myriad changes throughout its many years. The one constant, perhaps, has been its location. Because of this inalienable relationship between the community and the landscape, the physical place of the college is a good lens through which to view some of these changes. Water, because it intersects many of the community's different spheres of influence, provides an especially effective window into college life during different periods.

Placing Industry in Eden During the 19th century, the Mount Holyoke Seminary was fully imbedded in the local rather than the global. Water was an important economic and social resource. Students often went to the water to get away from the strict regulation of Seminary life, and they depended on water technology for both power and domestic use. Click here to read more about water during the the 19th century.

Shooting the Rapids In the 1920s, the waterfront was a key element of Mount Holyoke student life. Canoeing was especially popular, and some students enjoyed shooting the rapids on Stony Brook. May Day also took place on the waterfront in 1928. Click here to read more about use of the waterfront in the 1920s.

The Tide Has Turned From the 1940s onward, environmental changes, such as the water chesnut blight and flooding, forced the college to futher restrict access to the campus water resources. These restrictions had important social implications, espcially for Mount Holyoke College-South Hadley relations. Click here to read more about the problems in the modern era.




Atlas Home Page Placing Industry in Eden: 19th Century Shooting the Rapids: 1920s The Tide Has Turned: Modern Era  
This page was created by Sandy North '05 in History 283, Fall Semester 2003 -