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>  News Releases >   2003 >   October

Senior Fence move will protect grass, trees

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 10/07/03 • Contact Roland Adams (603) 646-3661

Beginning the week of Oct. 6, Dartmouth plans to move its "Senior Fence" to the corner of the Dartmouth Green at North Main and Wheelock Streets in order to protect trees and grass from erosion caused by pedestrian traffic.

The two 105-foot railings that currently run parallel to one another along North Main Street will be transported and reconfigured into an "L" shape at the southwest corner of the Green (across from the Hanover Inn) to direct pedestrian traffic onto existing pathways.

On Friday, October 3, at 3:30 p.m. in Carson Hall Rm. L01, Dartmouth will hold a public presentation and discussion regarding the move. Jack Wilson, Associate Director of Facilities Planning and Dartmouth's chief architect, will lead the presentation.

How many times has the Senior Fence been moved? And why is it about to move? Come hear a presentation on this project by Dartmouth's Facilities Planning Office: Friday, October 3 at 3:30 PM, Carson Hall, Room L01

The project is expected to cost approximately $20,000. A generous gift from the Class of 1956 will underwrite construction costs. Dartmouth will cover planning expenses.

Wilson said the relocation of the fence will help to control diagonally crossing pedestrian traffic, which has been detrimental to the area. "The corner of the Green has been very difficult to maintain due to this problem," Wilson said. "Pedestrian traffic erodes the corner and has negatively affected a number of trees."

Contractors hired to execute the move will take great care to preserve the native granite posts and wooden beams that make up the Senior Fence as it is now, said Wilson. In addition to existing plaques that acknowledge the contributions of past classes toward maintenance of the fence, an additional plaque will be installed to commemorate the contribution of the Class of '56 and to explain the history, purpose and significance of the fence as one of Dartmouth's traditions.

According to Julia Hildreth '05, summer President of the Student Assembly (SA), student response to the idea has been very positive. "We held an SA meeting on the fence to discuss and highlight the move and everyone really liked the idea of giving it greater functionality," said Hildreth. "Preserving the trees and the Green is extremely important."

Dick Whitney, a member of the Class of 1956 who spearheaded the effort by his class to help fund the project as part of its upcoming 50th reunion celebration, said, "Our class is very enthusiastic about this project. We see it as a way of making a lasting contribution to Dartmouth."

The Senior Fence is believed to be part of a fence that fully enclosed the Green in the early 19th century. By 1897 the original fence had been razed and a section of fence was either moved to or constructed on the eastern side of the Green to be used as a gathering place by students. According to The Daily Dartmouth, students found this location unsatisfactory because of its close proximity to administrative offices. In 1900, at the request of students, the fence was moved to its current location on the west side of the Green.

According to the February 2003 issue of Dartmouth Life (published by the Dartmouth Office of Public Affairs) in earlier eras the fence was a place where seniors - and seniors only - gathered to sing college songs and carve canes. They dealt summarily with underclassmen who violated this privilege by dunking them in a nearby stone watering trough. Though its role as a gathering place has diminished in recent years, the fence continues to be an important reminder of Dartmouth's history and traditions.

Those interested in commenting on this proposal should contact Jack Wilson in the Facilities Planning Office (646-3227).

- By Roland Adams

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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