Central Residential Area

Central Residential area
Situated on the west face of the ridge that defined the eastern edge of the UMass campus, the Clark Hill development grew to be known as the Central Residential Area. The first building of this complex was Butterfield House which was constructed in 1940 to the design of architect Louis Warren Ross, a member of the College’s class of 1917. Ross remains the most prolific architect of the campus and was responsible for the design of more than twenty structures, including nearly all the dormitories constructed between 1935 and 1963. This body of work established the Georgian Revival style as a dominant tradition for the residential quadrangles of the campus. However, Ross’s later work for the school also includes the 1956 Student Union, which was designed in a more contemporary modern style.

The Central Residential Area was developed between 1940 and 1959 as a men’s dormitory complex. Buildings in this area included Butterfield House (1940), Greenough House (1946), Chadbourne House (1947), Mills House (New Africa House) (1948), Brooks House (1949), Baker House (1952), Van Meter House (1957), and Wheeler House (1958). The buildings were laid-out in a Beaux-arts style plan with a central axis of symmetry and a distinctive hierarchy of spaces.

Greenough House and Chadbourne House were constructed as a complex of two men’s dormitories to the north of Clark Hill Road at the intersection with President’s Hill Road (now Chancellor’s Way) in 1946 and 1947. A c.1948-49 campus map shows the two buildings set in a wooded area accessed by a winding pedestrian walk adjacent to Clark Hill Road (extant). The area surrounding the buildings is no longer as densely forested as the ca.1948-49 campus map implies. Historic images of the two buildings show upright evergreen shrubs framing the entrances along the eastern façade (extant, now mature at Greenough House; no longer extant at Chadbourne House).

The integrated design of the structures of the hillside Central Residential Area is in the tradition of ambitious campus expansion planning of the inter-war and postwar era. In general, the Central Residential Area complex retains a great deal of its landscape integrity, modified by the addition of parking along Infirmary Way, to the east and west of Butterfield House, along the east of Chancellor’s Way, and to the east of Van Meter House.

The Y-shaped intersection formed by Chancellor’s Way and Clark Hill Road was removed by 1955 and rerouted to a spur off of Chancellor’s Way located to the east of Greenough House and Chadbourne House that existed since at least 1943. Removal of this portion of Chancellor’s Way enabled the construction of Van Meter House. Many changes in vegetation patterns are the result of new construction, much of which occurred prior to 1959. The loss of foundation planting at Butterfield House, Chadbourne House, Baker House, and Wheeler House, along with the introduction of new foundation planting at Butterfield House, Greenough House, Chadbourne House, Baker House, and Van Meter House has changed vegetation immediately associated with the buildings.

c/central_residential_area.txt · Last modified: 2013/12/18 13:25 (external edit)
UMass Amherst seal
Special Collections & University Archives :: UMass Amherst Libraries
154 Hicks Way :: UMass Amherst :: Amherst, MA 01003 | Ph.: 413.545.2780 | Contact SCUA