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The University Grounds and Buildings.


In November, 1894, the Board of Overseers passed two resolutions, one recommending that "A complete scheme for the future development of the college property be formulated and adhered to in future work as closely as the progress of events makes possible"; and the other giving as their opinion that "Greater harmony and excellence in the design of college buildings would be obtained if all artistic questions where University property is concerned were submitted to a standing advisory committee composed partly of several competent professional men and partly of members of the Governing Boards of the University."

Previous to this action there had been several plans prepared with the aim of making a general study of the development of the college property. When Memorial Hall was built, Messrs. Ware and Van Brunt devised a scheme for an avenue from its southern transept nearly parallel with Quincy street, across the grounds to their southern boundary at Main street. This would have made a suitable approach to Memorial Hall from the city side, and a line of college buildings would have been well placed between it and Quincy street. Later, when Sever Hall was built, its architect Mr. H. H. Richardson, apparently prepared a larger space around that building than would have been afforded between this proposed avenue and Quincy street. Further, Messrs. Olmstead and Eliot made a plan for the disposition of Conant and Perkins Halls on Holmes Field and for the property in that immediate neighborhood. The buildings were placed, however, further out on Oxford street. The Corporation have reserved certain areas for library extension or other precise uses, but for the most part each new building has been considered as a unit, and has been placed perhaps where its donor or architect suggested with a view to making that special building as effective as possible.

The Corporation have affirmed that it was not desirable that a complete scheme for the future development of the college property should be formulated, as no sufficient knowledge could be had as to the amount of future bequests or the conditions on which money might be given, and that if adjoining lands were included in the scheme the difficulties of purchase would be increased. Further they did not think it expedient to have a standing advisory committee, as artistic questions can rarely be separated from questions of cost, of utility, and of express or implied obligations to benefactors, for all of which matters the Corporation is responsible.

In November of 1896 the Committee of the Board of Overseers to whom these communications were referred, Robert S. Peabody '62, Augustus Hemenway '75, and George B. Shattuck '63, reported to the Board wherein they thought the objections made by the Corporation were unsound. To this report a plan for college buildings and grounds was attached as an explanatory suggestion. A summary of a number of the proposals made in this report, and a cut of a portion of the plan will appear in Wednesday's CRIMSON.

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