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Architects: Clinton F. Goodwin
Design and construction
Located in the west central section of campus, Dickinson Hall is low brick building with restrained ornamentation. Built to support both the Army and Air Force ROTC units on campus, Dickinson Hall originally housed twelve classrooms, administrative offices, supply rooms, and a rifle range. In an effort to be modern, the architects included modern lighting and heating, a “completely automatic inter office dial phone system,” and a console system by which music could be piped into any room in the building.
The architect, Clinton Goodwin, was a MAC alumnus in Landscape Architecture (1916) who also designed the Curry S. Hicks Physical Education Building and Goodell Hall.
The building formerly served as the home of the UMass Police Department, which moved to a new facility on Tillson Rd in 2011.
Naming of the building
Dickinson Hall was dedicated on April 9, 1960, in memory of Capt. Walter Mason Dickinson. Born in the Marks Meadow homestead in Amherst on April 3, 1856, Dickinson entered the Massachusetts Agricultural College in September 1873, leaving after three years to accept an appointment to West Point. After serving in the west with the 4th U.S. Cavalry, Dickinson returned to MAC in 1891 to become Professor of Military Science. Joining the 17th Infantry in 1896, Dickinson served in Cuba during the Spanish American War and was killed in action at El Caney on July 2, 1898.
The formerly agricultural character of the landscape surrounding Dickinson has changed significantly. The barns to the west were demolished to make space for the construction of the Recreation Center To the north, a promenade links Dickinson, the Recreation Center, Grinnell Arena, and the George N. Parks Minuteman Marching Band Building. The tennis courts to the south were razed in 2011 prior to the construction Commonwealth Honors College Complex. Hicks Way has been rerouted and now runs to the south of the building.
- For additional information, consult the University Archives (RG 36/101).