Flint Laboratory

Constructed: 1912

Architects: James H. Ritchie

Design and construction

Flint laboratory
Flint Laboratory
Flint Laboratory
Interior, Flint laboratory
Making ice cream, Flint laboratory

Flint Laboratory is located southwest of Stockbridge Hall at the end of Campus Center Way. The building’s site slopes gradually down to the west towards Chenoweth. Primary access the building is provided by a set of concrete stairs on the east side of the building that connect to a bituminous concrete walkway. There are light poles along the sidewalk. On the south side of the building, the bituminous concrete walk transitions to a concrete walk. Between the sidewalk and building vegetation includes evergreen shrubs in a mulched bed. On the east side of the building landscaping is currently under construction, and includes deciduous trees and lawn.

Flint Laboratory is a 2-story Georgian Revival brick structure with a hip roof, an entry portico, and hip roof dormers on its south elevation. The building is three bays wide and nine bays deep, with a slate roof, stone trim and a brick foundation. The trim includes a water table, stringcourses, monumental brick pilasters with simple stone capitals and bases, and dentil molding at the cornice.

The main entry is in the east elevation at the top of a six-step stone stairway, within an entryway that has Roman Doric columns. The door is a double-leaf door that has 2/3 panes in each leaf’s upper half and a single panel its lower half. The doorway has a blind fanlight above it, and a high-relief carving of a cow’s head in the keystone above the fanlight. A set of paired 6/6 /8 windows is set above the doorway. The entry portico is flanked by small and narrow 3/1 windows, with a large 10/10 window at the north side of this small window. Here and elsewhere on the east and south elevation, some of the 10/10 windows have been modified to accommodate the installation of window air conditioner units. The balancing 10/10 window on the south side of the entry has been removed and the window opening has been blocked with brick. The east elevation’s second story has a 10/10 window on either side of the central paired windows.

Reading from west to east, the south elevation’s first story historically was comprised of three 10/10 windows; a double-leaf door with 3/3 panes in the upper half of each leaf, and a transom above the door; a single 10/10 window; another double-leaf door with a transom; and three more 10/10 windows. The window at the west end of this elevation has been removed and blocked with brick. A small door has been installed in the lower part of the former window opening. The south elevation’s second story contains nine 10/10 windows. The attic has two hip roof dormers. Each dormer contains a triple window that is comprised of a central 3/2 window that is flanked by 1/1 windows.

All the first story windows have stone lintels with keystones. The corners of the building are decorated with a brick corner pilaster and the bays on the east and south elevations are separated by pilasters.

1867-1916: The Early Growth

In the absence of a coordinated plan, the Trustees put existing buildings that were acquired with the campus land into service as agricultural laboratories. Campus development for several decades after 1863 was sporadic and focused on the construction of individual buildings to meet specific functional needs of the fledgling university. It was not until after 1900, during a period of rapid student population growth and resultant new building construction, that the University Trustees again sought proposals for comprehensive campus planning.

In 1912, a professional landscaping publication reported that Warren H. Manning, formerly affiliated with the Olmsted firm, had spent over four years preparing a comprehensive plan for the University Trustees. The Trustees had considered it imperative for the college to plan harmonious development that would conserve the beauty of campus grounds while meeting the needs of a growing student population whose expanding range of activities was unprecedented.

Manning’s plan designated three distinct sections of the campus, the Upland, Midland and Lowland Sections. Each section was intended to be the locus of specific functions, with clusters of purpose-built structures to serve those functions. For example, one section would be designated for faculty, women’s and horticultural facilities. A second section would contain administration, research, science and student life (dormitory, dining hall, and sports) facilities. The third section would be dedicated to poultry, farming and sewage disposal facilities.

Although Manning’s Upland, Midland, and Lowland sections are not fully realized, it is apparent that discipline specific groupings were developed. Building clusters, especially those related to agriculture, administration, and the hard and earth sciences (physics, chemistry, and geology) continued to expand through the present day.


By World War I and continuing through the 1920s, University records frequently refer to the inadequacy of the physical plant; the lack of class room space; the lack of properly ventilated and lighted spaces; and the danger of having to cancel classes because of a lack of appropriate facilities. Expansion of the campus through acquisition of additional land was considered essential if the University were to construct new and better facilities to address these deficiencies and excel as an institution of higher education.

Flint Laboratory

This structure was built as a dairy laboratory and is named for Charles L. Flint, fourth President of the Massachusetts Agricultural College. He also served as member and Secretary of the first Board of Trustees of MAC. More information about Charles Flint may be found in Frank Prentice Rand’s Yesterdays at Massachusetts State College, 1863-1933 (Amherst: The Associate Alumni Massachusetts State College, 1933). The building’s original function as a dairy laboratory is signaled by the cow’s head motif that the architect placed above the main entry.

Landscape Analysis

West Experiment Station, East Experiment Station, Draper Hall, Flint Laboratory, Stockbridge Hall, and Goessman Laboratory were constructed between 1885 and 1922 along the north side of Olmsted Road. Although oriented in an irregular pattern today, historically, the buildings were organized along the northern portion of what used to be Olmsted Road, later Ellis Drive. Historically, Olmsted Road was a street-tree lined road that curved around the west side of the pond, connecting to North Pleasant Street at both its northern and southern ends. Olmsted Road was removed between 1959 and 1973.

To the southwest of the complex were Flint Road (now Campus Center Way) and a ravine that ran to the south of what is now Campus Center Way, draining the Campus Pond. The area to the southeast of the complex was historically open lawn leading to the Campus Pond with a few scattered deciduous trees and desire-line paths. A pedestrian walk led through the open lawn, connecting Draper Hall to the intersection of the cross-campus walk and North Pleasant Street. This walk is no longer extant, obstructed by the construction of the Lincoln Campus Center. The construction of Hasbrouck Laboratory (1950) and addition (1963), Student Center (1957), and Lincoln Campus Center (1970) destroyed the visual connection between the Olmsted Road buildings and the Campus Pond.

Flint Laboratory and Stockbridge Hall were both constructed in 1912 along Olmsted Road to the west of Draper Hall. Historically, Flint Laboratory featured a foundation planting of deciduous shrubs and lawn. Stockbridge Hall featured a foundation planting of deciduous shrubs and two deciduous trees framing the building’s main entrance. Vegetation to the east of the buildings consisted of deciduous trees over lawn. The lawn area is presently dominated by bituminous concrete pedestrian walks and a vehicular turn-around at the end of Campus Center Way. The former field areas to the north of the buildings are presently occupied by a bituminous concrete parking lot. The loss of views of the Campus Pond, the loss of Olmsted Road, and the loss of historic vegetation patterns, primarily consisting of broad, open lawn with scattered deciduous trees has resulted in the diminished integrity of the landscape associated with Flint Laboratory.

Naming of the building

Named in honor of Charles L. Flint, President of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, 1879-1880.


f/flint_laboratory.txt · Last modified: 2021/09/03 12:47 (external edit)
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