West Experiment Station
Architects: Emory A. Ellsworth, Holyoke, Mass.
Design and construction
The West Experiment Station is a small Victorian outpost that serves as a vivid reminder of the early days of the University, when agricultural experimentation was emphasized. Its sharply pointed tower, porte cochere, and carved details in the Queen Anne style offer a pleasing counterpoint to its neighbor, the East Experiment Station, also designed by Ellsworth. The brick-clad exterior of both buildings ties them together, providing a harmonious anchor to either side of North Pleasant Street.
The idea for the Agricultural Experiment Station, the first in the United States associated with a state college, originated in 1878 as a means of simultaneously fulfilling the college's land grant mission and providing to research support for professors such as William Smith Clark, Levi Stockbridge, and Charles Goessmann. The state legislature first appropriated funds for the station in 1882, and three years later, the architect's plans were submitted to a building committee headed by J.H. Demond. The federal Hatch Act of 1887 allocated the $15,000 necessary to build the West Experiment Station, which was originally located on the northern fringe of campus. West Experiment was the first of the two experiment stations on campus (along with East Experiment, constructed in 1889-1890), and it still functions as the site of chemical, fertilizer, and plant and soil studies.
- Norton, Paul F., Amherst: A Guide to Its Architecture (Amherst, 1975)
- Three Architectural Tours: Selected Buildings on the Campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst (Amherst, 2000)
- For additional information, consult the University Archives (RG 36/101).