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See the full schedule of #MakingEquityRealatBC events occurring May 2-6.

Fridays With Fred
Weekly features from college archivist, Fred Burwell.

Each week college archivist Fred Burwell shares a story from the college archives on the Terrarium. Complete with pictures, these wonderful blasts from the past have become a favorite feature on the Terrarium. Below is the complete collection of "Fridays With Fred" posts.

 

  • Fridays with Fred: Give us a Gymnasium!

    February 12, 2016 at 9:15 am
  • Fridays with Fred: Exploring a Campus Path

    February 5, 2016 at 11:38 am

    1859 campus map

    Beloit College’s storied history often comes to mind when we pass by the Doric columns gracing Middle College or when we watch the bats fluttering above Pearsons Hall in the fiery glow of a midsummer sunset. Those in the know will tell you that WAC used to be the college’s Carnegie Library. There’s still a mosaic pattern of green and white swimming pool tile hidden away in the Smith Building dating from its days as a gym and Smith’s well-trod linoleum floors remind us of its student union period. But what about college paths? We amble along the same lanes and byways traveled by President Chapin, Professor Emerson, and first student Joseph Collie. One path which crosses the campus and conducts the walker to and from town may date from before the college’s founding in 1846. A contour map drawn by students in 1859 shows two paths joining, winding down the steep slope to a sturdy fence, employed as a deterrent to farmers grazing their livestock on the college’s luscious, unmown grass.

    Campus path 

    A photograph from the late 1880s provides our first glimpse of the familiar path from Pleasant Street up the bluff to the college grounds. Freshly renovated Middle College shows off its gaudy Victorian gingerbread. The wood frame structure to the left is the first college gymnasium, frequented by athletic-minded students, as attested by their own “unofficial” path leading to the main one. There are mature bur oaks and some youngsters on their way, perhaps planted intentionally by humans or by Beloit’s forward-thinking squirrels.

    Campus path circa 1905

    Some 20 years later, as the student body grows and as the college moves from pioneering to well-established, the Smith Gymnasium supplants its inadequate predecessor. The city of Beloit is proud of its newfangled telephone lines, but Pleasant Street remains unpaved. With all that muck and mire to contend with, it’s no wonder that boot scrapers appear beside many front doors of this era.

    Campus view with Smith Gym c. 1910

    Circa 1910, students linger on the path, as they sometimes do today, savoring the dappled sunlight and relishing the cool breeze wafting up from the Rock River. Off to the right rises gentle “As You Like It Hill,” named after the Shakespeare play, and a natural amphitheater for the college’s all-women’s Shakespeare Society, famous for their elaborate outdoor productions, such as this 1920s adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing.

    Shakespeare Society 1920s

    Vintage postcard "As You Like it Hill"

    A vintage postcard illustrates the pastoral setting, reestablished in recent years through the donation of the Eloise Marston Schnaitter’32 Wildflower Garden, where native species such as bloodroot, Dutchman’s breeches, wild columbine, and Virginia bluebell attract bees and butterflies and the occasional picnicker.

    Water slide 1970s

    The ambience, however, hasn’t always seemed so placid. Sometime in the 1970s, students agree that a homemade water slide is just about the most fun they’ve ever had. Today, we walk the path on our way to the Hendricks Center for the Performing Arts or to Turtle Creek Books or to the farmer’s market. Me? At lunchtime come early spring, I like to hike halfway down the path and then climb up the bluff to a shady spot overlooking Pleasant Street and the Rock River and listen to a chorus of robins and cardinals audition for their sweetest solo.

  • Fridays with Fred: The Field House

    January 29, 2016 at 12:41 pm
  • Fridays with Fred: The Class of 1888 Rock and Beloit's "Thinker"

    January 21, 2016 at 4:37 pm
  • The return of Fridays with Fred: "Visit Beloit and 'The Yale of the West'"

    January 15, 2016 at 11:00 am
  • Fridays with Fred: Valedictory addresses from Commencements past

    May 16, 2014 at 7:50 am
  • Fridays with Fred: multiple views of the Rock River

    May 9, 2014 at 7:47 am
  • Fridays with Fred: A permanent home for the president

    May 2, 2014 at 7:54 am
  • Fridays with Fred: College life from the albums of Theodore Chrischilles (1910)

    April 25, 2014 at 7:44 am
  • Fridays with Fred:After 30-years, the Bard returns to Beloit stage

    April 18, 2014 at 7:14 am