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North College, circa 1890
Union College Schaffer Library,
Special Collections Picture File
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North College viewed from The Pasture,
early 1900s

Union College Schaffer Library,
Special Collections Picture File

One of the first buildings to be erected on the present campus in keeping with the plan ultimately devised by Eliphalet Nott and Joseph Jacques Ramée, North College opened its doors in 1814.  It provided dormitory space, class and recitation rooms, and faculty apartments. Several fraternities got their start in this building, and the College library and several student literary societies were also once housed there. But the main part of North College was its three separate dormitory sections. Although conditions in these dormitories eventually became deplorable, the College did not renovate them significantly until 1902-1903, when electric lighting, steam heat, and improved bathrooms were installed.

Mrs. Perkins sometimes judged the weather based on her ability to see North College from her windows, writing for example, “The fog is so thick that I cannot see the pasture, and North College is a wraith, and this makes the rooms rather dark” (December 2, 1895). Since her time, North College has been renovated numerous times; it is now the home of two of the College’s Minerva Houses, Messa and Wold.

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North College, circa 1905
Union College Robert N. Michaelson,
UC 1972, Postcard Collection