By the late 1890s there was clamoring for a gymnasium to be constructed at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley. The College Gymnasium, noted at the time for its state-of-the-art ventilation system, was built in 1899-1900 and was designed by William C. Brocklesby. In 1950, the building was converted into offices and housed the campus post office. In 1988, it became the Blanchard Campus Center, named for Elizabeth Blanchard, an 1858 graduate who served as principal (1883-1888) and acting president (1888-189) of the College. The building was much expanded with additional facilities in 2003.
Merrill House in South Hadley has been owned since 1956 by Mount Holyoke College and was purchased, in part, with funds provided by Charles E. Merrill. The house was built in 1840 for Rev. Joseph D. Condit (1804-1847), who was Secretary of the Trustees of the College from 1836 to 1847. According to In Old South Hadley (1912), by Sophie E. Eastman:
Rev. Joseph Condit, who was settled here in 1835, was the first one of our ministers who refused the glass of cider, brandy, or the spiced elderberry wine, which his parishioners delighted to offer him, and when he made his pastoral calls, cake and cheese soon took the place of the former hospitable toddy. […] The faithful sermons of Mr. Condit against the use of ardent spirits had prepared the way for a Temperance Crusade.
The Seminary Building at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley was destroyed by fire in 1896. The following year, a chapel was built on the site, called Mary Lyon Chapel and connected to Mary Lyon Hall. The Chapel was renovated and much enlarged in 1938 with a donation from Emily Abbey Gill and was renamed Abbey Memorial Chapel. It was converted in 1999 into the Abbey Interfaith Sanctuary. Since 2009, the Chapel has been open to the public for weddings.
Gaylord Memorial Library in South Hadley was built in 1904 on what had been the village cemetery. To make way for the library, the graves were moved to Evergreen Cemetery on Hadley Street; all except for the grave of John Preston, the original donor of the land. Preston had received the grant of land for his services as a soldier in the French and Indian War. The Library was donated by William H. Gaylord and was designed by Putnam and Cox of Boston. It was dedicated on May 18, 1904 and Gaylord and his wife, Betsey Stone Gaylord, both died on December 22, 1904. The Gaylord Library was operated independently, but from 1968 to 1995, it was run as a branch of the South Hadley Public Library. Facing closure by the town due to a lack of money, the Library has since operated independently again, although with more limited hours.
While still a part of Hadley, South Hadley acquired its own minister and meeting house around 1733. When a new meeting house was built in 1761, a split occurred which eventually led to the erection of a separate meeting house in the eastern section of town, which became the town of Granby in 1768. A third church was built in 1815 and a fourth in 1875. This latter building was destroyed in the great fire of 1894. It was then replaced by the current building of the First Congregational Church.
A fire destroyed the original seminary building of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley in 1896. One of the first new structures to be built after the fire was Porter Hall, a residence hall completed in 1897. Porter Hall was designed by C. Putnam Karr and was named for Deacon Porter, who was in charge of buildings on the College’s Board of Trustees and was a friend and adviser to the College’s founder Mary Lyon. Read More