North College, Amherst College (1823)

Built in 1823 and designed by Hiram Johnson as a mirror image of the earlier South College of 1821, North College is located next to to Johnson Chapel (on the other side of which is South College) on the campus of Amherst College. In 1828, another dormitory was built to the north and took the name North College, the 1823 building taking the name Middle College. The new North College burned down in 1857 and the earlier building then reclaimed its original designation. North College has served as dormitories, a chapel, a laboratory, and a library and is now a freshman dormitory.

South College, Amherst College (1821)

South College was the first building to be constructed on the campus of Amherst College. The cornerstone of South College was laid on August 9, 1820 and the completed building’s dedication took place on the same day as the inauguration of Amherst’s first president, Zephaniah Swift Moore, on September 18, 1821. Located next to Johnson Chapel, South College has served as as classrooms, dormitories, laboratories, and a chapel over the years. Today it is a a freshman dormitory.

Plimpton House, Amherst College (1914)

The building at 82 Lessey Street in Amherst was built in 1914 by the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity of Amherst College. It replaced the fraternity’s two earlier connected buildings on the site. One of these had been purchased on land acquired in 1883 from Col. W.S. Clark, President of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (now UMASS Amherst) and the second was built next to it in 1886. The new Georgian Revival fraternity house was designed by Lionel Moses II of the firm of McKim, Meade & White and has a doorway modeled on that of Westover, the eighteenth-century Virginia plantation house of William Byrd II. The fraternity house became an Amherst College dormitory, named Plimpton House, in 1984.

Johnson Chapel, Amherst College (1827)

Johnson Chapel was the fourth building to be constructed on the campus of Amherst College, following South College, North College and the first President’s House. Work on Johnson Chapel, which was constructed by builder Hiram Johnson, began in 1826 and the building was dedicated on February 28, 1827. It was named Johnson Chapel in honor of Adam Johnson of Pelham, whose bequest funded its construction. In addition to the chapel, the building originally contained a museum, library, laboratory and recitation rooms. Johnson Chapel was renovated in 1863 (at a cost equal to that of its original construction) and again in the 1920s. The Chapel, whose front had been on the west side, was extended forty feet to the east in 1933, with a new main facade now facing the Freshman Quad. When Johnson Chapel was first built, there was a legal dispute over Adam Johnson’s will. Read More

Amherst College President’s House (1834)

The house of the President of Amherst College was built in 1834-1835. An earlier house, built in 1821-1822, had been considered too damp and unhealthy, so the current house was then built on higher ground, across South Pleasant Street from the main campus buildings. The house, originally designed in the Greek Revival style by Warren Slade Howland, was remodeled in 1891 and again in 1932, with a Georgian Revival style entryway on the north side. The above picture was taken while the most recent renovations on the house were underway this past summer.

Old First Baptist Church, Amherst (1835)

The building at 79 South Pleasant Street in Amherst was built in 1834-1835 as the First Baptist Church. The Baptist Society in Amherst began in 1827 as a branch of the New Salem Baptist Church, becoming a branch of the Northampton Baptist Church in 1830. It became an independent organization in 1832. The South Pleasant Street church, designed by Warren S. Howland, was used by the First Baptist Church until 1957, when it moved to a new location at 434 North Pleasant Street. The former church was then used as offices and retail space and was acquired by Amherst College in 2009.

Luke Sweetser House (1835)

About 1835, house designer and builder Robert Cutler constructed the house at 81 Lessey Street in Amherst for Luke Sweetser. As described in The History of the Town of Amherst, Massachusetts, Vol. I (1896):

Leonard Dwight and H. Wright Strong conducted a general store in Amherst prior to 1812; in April of that year, the partnership was dissolved and a new one formed by Strong and Elijah Dwight. H. Wright Strong was in business in 1815; his store stood on the site now occupied by Adams’ drug-store. In 1824, Luke Sweetser, who had been for three years in Mr. Strong’s employ, bought out the business, continuing it under his own name until March, 1830, when his brother, J. A. Sweetser, became associated with him under the firm name of L. & J. A. Sweetser. A few years later, J. A. Sweetser severed his connection with the firm and William Cutler and Luke Sweetser formed a partnership under the firm name of Sweetser & Cutler. In 1848, George Cutler became a member of the concern, the name being changed to Sweetser, Cutler & Co. Mr. Sweetser retired from the business in 1857, and the Cutler brothers continued it under the firm name of W. & G. Cutler. The firm of Geo. Cutler & Co. was formed in 1870 and continued in business until 1884, when it was succeeded by the present firm of Jackson & Cutler.

Sweetser, who after his retirement from business focused on farming, died in 1882 and his house became the Oak Grove School for girls. After 1903, it was the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house and was remodeled by architect Karl S. Putnam in 1929 with a monumental columned Greek Revival portico. When Amherst College abolished fraternities in 1984, the house became a dormitory called Marsh House, named for Eli Marsh, a professor of Physical Education and member of Phi Gamma Delta.