Dickinson College Campus

Dickinson c.1910
(Dickinson College c.1910)
(Foreground R to L: Allison Church, Homes, South College
Background: Denny Hall, East College, Tome, West College, Heating Plant Smoke Stack, Bosler, Conway)

        By 1934 Dickinson had expanded to include a wealth of buildings and facilities nearly unimaginable a hundred years prior when the only facility that stood was West College. Through the determination of students, faculty, trustee's, and alumni the College would grow into an enormous facility that could comfortably accommodate every aspect of the Dickinson Education. The Ivy covered walls of West College, East College, and Tome Scientific Building would form the heart of the campus and from the walkways that began in front of these three buildings the campus would sprawl out to the adjoining facilities. Bosler Hall was the library and chapel of the time, proudly displaying the Books and Dickinsoniana of the College under the admiration of the Librarian May Morris. The Gymnasiums were about to pass the torch from the older ailing Old Gym behind Old West, to a newer, modern facility across West High Street. Conway Hall, far out to edge of the Campus was the primary Male Dormitory while nearly half a mile away in the opposite direction sat Metzger Hall that the women on campus would call home. These would be the final few decades for the great residential halls.
        Today about half of the campus of 1934 still exists, the rest has faded away in the light of the demand for better facilities. Apart from the photographs and memories all that remains are the small histories written here and there of the different buildings. Conway Hall, one of the Faculty Houses, and three Fraternity Homes have long since vanished for the newer more modern facilities of the Holland Union Building and Waidner-Sphar Library. Allision Memorial Church is no longer around either, a victim of a fire in 1954 promting the new Church on the south side of Morgan Field to be erected. Metzger Hall would within twenty years become unnecessary and be turned back over to its property owner and be razed. Most of the academic buildings would remain the same externally but internally change greatly. Through remodeling and various projects nearly every building would be updated and modernized, and in cases such as the Alumni Gym and Bosler Hall become entirely new buildings when there initial use became unnecessary. Mooreland Park, once abounding with deer would soon be turned over to development as the College was eager for newer dormitories. Even smaller references around the Campus would change, such as the rail line running down West High Street, a victim of development, vanishing from sight as roads became paved and the automobile truly took its place in society.
        The memories of the campus still can be found though. Numerous small facts and interesting stories are still locatable. In September of 1930 for example it was suggested that each Fraternity on Campus be assigned a mother. The purpose was to keep them in line, and their living conditions desirable and habitable, something still not learned 75 years later. Another report several years later makes the important note that Old West, although in wonderful condition is prone to fire and not fire proof. Interestingly enough, when the building was first built in the early 1800 it was designed to be fireproof, obviously either fire had evolved to beat the very best fireproofing or the building just needed a modern update. Finally it is interesting to note that while the men of Dickinson lived either in apparent garbage dumps better titles as fraternity homes, or in the aging dorm halls of the campus, with no common grounds or recreational facilities inside the buildings, the women lived quite different. Metzger Hall, to say the least, was entirely self sufficent. It housed everything from meeting rooms to a small gym, all to the luxury of the ladies.
    Indeed Dickinson had changed greatly by 1934 and still has changed even more by today's standards. We can not possibly go back to the era of 1934 to view the campus but we can offer insight into what it looked liked and what was contained within the term "Dickinson College" and so the following is what has been left us of the Campus of Dickinson College, 1934.

Physcial Descriptions of Various Campus Property
John Dickinson Campus 
(Capmus w/ Old West)
approximately 7 acres Purchased in 1779 from Thomas and John Penn for $151.50. Fully developed with 40% housing structures.
Benjamin Rush Campus 
approximately 11 acres Purchased in 1931 for $55,000.
Biddle Field 11 acres 1/5 west of Benjamin Rush Campus. Used for sporting events.
*all information is c.1953, however it still shows the same statistics as in 1934

Dickinson College: A Sketch

    In 1933 the College Administration put together a pamphlet of the College for distribution to people visiting Carlisle. The purpose of the booklet was to contain a short and yet entertaining history of the College Campus so that one could walk around the grounds reading the text and associating each building with a short story. The idea was to "sell" the College to visiting prospective's much as campus tours are used 75 years later to do the same. The below image will link you this pamphlet in Adobe Acrobat PDF Format. After you are done reading it use your Browser's Back Button to return here. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader click on the icon to get it.

Campus Map
*Click on any of the buildings or marked areas above or use the links below*

  Kappa Sigma                                 (West Louther Street) Metzger Hall -->

Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Alpha Chi Rho
Conway Hall & Infirmary Phi Kappa Sigma
Faculty House 2 (North College Street)
Psychology Building Old Gym and Heating Plant Tome Scientific Building
West College East College
Bosler Library and Chapel Lover's Lane
(North West Street)

Phi Delta Theta

Denny Hall

New Campus
(below road is non-existent)
(West High Street)
Theta Chi Alumni Gymnasium Phi Kappa Psi Presidents House Allison M.E. Church
(South West Street) 


Dickinson School of Law

Sigma Chi   Tennis Courts
(South College Street)

(West South Street)



(note that the above is not to scale and street layout is not accurate or correct in certain aspects due to the difficulty of layout)

Academic Buildings
West College (Old West)
Tome Scientific Building
Bosler Library and Chapel
Psychology Building
Denny Hall
Allison M.E. Church
Dickinson School of Law
Homes & Dorms
East College
The Presidents House
Faculty House (1)
Conway Hall
Faculty House (2)
Metzger Hall
Fraternity Houses
Phi Delta Theta
Phi Kappa Psi
Theta Chi
Phi Kappa Sigma
Alpha Chi Rho
Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Kappa Sigma
Sigma Chi
Beta Theta Pi
Phi Epsilon Pi
Sigma Tau Phi
Commons Club
Facilities and Grounds
Old Gymnasium
Heating Plant
Alumni Gymnasium
Tennis Courts
Biddle Field
Athletic Changing Rooms
New Campus
Lover's Lane

    Where ever possible the photographs for the above buildings were taken roughly from c.1930. However, due to the lack of some images and the general quality of some over others to convey the look of a location, certain images have been replaced with earlier or later period photographs. However, the greatest care has been taken to only select ones that do not alter the time period and distort the image of the building. Hence images, although not from the 1930's will always be of the buildings and grounds as they were in 1934, not having any renovations or additions appear in the photographs. The majority of the information on buildings comes from College Historian Charles Coleman Sellers. His printed book provided an appendix that contained a brief sketch of information on the main buildings of the campus. This is not the exclusive source for information on the facilities though. Several documents still exist from later years giving reports and accounts of various buildings, there costs, conditions, and uses located in the College Archives. All images are also in a shrunken size to privide for size limitations, clicking on any image will enlarge the photo to proper size. Use your "back" button to return to the page after viewing the photo.

 -Greg Sheridan '03


Deed for Land from Charles H. Dempwolf to Dickinson College. June 15, 1906. Dickinson College Archives & Special
Dickinson College: A Sketch. October 1933. Dickinson College Archives.
Dickinson College Cataloge: 1933-1934. February 1934. Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections.
Dickinson College Chronicles. http://chronicles.dickinson.edu/.
Dickinson College: Looseleaf Notebook to the Trustees of the Kresge Foundation. c. 1953. Dickinson College Archives
            & Special Collections.
Dickinson College Photo Archives. Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections.
Dickinson College Slide Collection. Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections.
Dickinson College Statistics. 1973. Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections.
Dickinson College Survey Report. September 1930. Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections.
Dickinson School of Law.  http://www.dsl.edu/index.html.
Morgan, James Henry. Dickinson College: 1783-1933. Carlisle, PA: Dickinson College, 1933.
Sellers, Charles Coleman. Dickinson College: A History. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1973.
            Also Online At: http://chronicles.dickinson.edu/histories/
"Theta Chi Gets New Home." The Dickinson Alumnus. Vol. IV (November 1926). p.22.

Class of 1934     Chronicles

Dickinson College

Dickinson 1934 is a project of Prof. Osborne's History 204 Class, Fall Semester 2000.