Arnold Rain Garden

Exploring the history of Arnold Rain Garden

Q: What was on the site of Arnold Rain Garden before the rain garden?

Arnold Hall

A: Arnold Hall, named for Hartwick President Henry J. Arnold (1939-1953) formerly stood on this site. Originally known as the Religion and Arts Building, Arnold was completed in stages. The library wing and memorial tower were finished in 1949, followed by the Chapel Wing in 1953. Arnold Hall was the second permanent building on campus. Bresee Hall was completed in 1929, and until 1947 it was the only building on campus.

Before the completion of Arnold Hall, several temporary, prefabricated structures, originally used on Army and Navy bases, were dismantled and reconstructed on campus by the Federal Works Agency, including a rickety, drafty arts building affectionately known as "Cardboard Alley," erected in 1947, and a field house, erected in 1948. Other structures included a men's dormitory, a cafeteria building, and housing units for married students, known as "Splinterville" and "Fertile Valley."

As early as February of 1952, even before its completion, the College was already showing signs of outgrowing the original plans for the Religion and Arts Building. Plans for construction of a chapel elsewhere on campus were already being discussed, and the possibility of converting the chapel in the Religion and Arts building to more classrooms and additional stacks for the library was under consideration. During the 50s, two new dormitories were constructed. In the 60s the campus grew rapidly, with eight new buildings appearing during the course of a decade.