College Grove
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College Grove, circa 1910
Union College Schaffer Library Postcard Collection
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Lovers’ Lane, circa 1910
Union College Schaffer Library Postcard Collection

The term “College Grove” formerly referred to several wooded areas on campus, including Jackson’s Garden and the area east of where Schaffer Library now stands. A variety of other sites important to campus life in the nineteenth century were also located in the Grove, including the running track and Lovers’ Lane (the name once given to a tree-lined portion of South Lane).

In 1899, the College, ever in need of money, sold much of the land (a total of 75 acres) that was once extended from the eastern end of campus to the Schenectady Realty Company, a subsidiary of the recently formed General Electric Company. Mrs. Perkins, who was fond of the woods, was saddened by the sale, but she understood its necessity. “We are beginning to sell off our dear land; the Electrics are going to buy all above Union Avenue and make a place like Lewellen or Orange park, with their own nice houses and the ground kept pretty and Park like. If we must sell (and we must) that would be the most agreeable plan [sic]” ([March] 28, 1899). Union received $57,000 for the land, which included a quarry as well as the woods, and the transaction cleared its immediate debts.

The residential “GE Realty Plot” to the east of campus retains much of its park-like character and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  Over time, the remainder of the College Grove on Union’s campus was filled with academic buildings and athletic facilities and fields.