The year was 1970, and someone realized that people were actually attending this new, weird little school—and that these new Hampshire students probably had some expectations. Like being able to sleep in a bed.
The first dorm completed on campus was Merrill, and Dakin was still under construction in 1970. But more students were needed to keep the college afloat financially, and therefore we needed more housing. The students at the time were full of opinions on what the new buildings should look like: it was determined that they should inhabit a natural landscape (instead of lawns) and be a series of New England-style cottages.
Perhaps the most popular student myth about Greenwich is that it was intended to be temporary, followed closely by the myth that it was built in a day and had been someone’s Div III project. The first myth was almost true: in lieu of their initial housing plans, which turned out to be too expensive, campus planners seriously considered bringing in trailers and mobile homes, something that had been successful at other schools. Instead, they chose to work with Northampton’s “Fontaine Fabrication, Inc.,” which produced pre-made housing modules.
Greenwich wasn’t built in a day, but each donut was built in less than a week.
The archived plans and writings about Hampshire’s physical campus can be super revelatory, but only occasionally debunk any myths. The minutes from a 1971 meeting suggest that there were significant differences from the donuts we know and love to hate. Students supported open staircases, as the doors made the mods stuffy, and wanted more kitchens. At the time, it was thought that a second dining hall would be included on campus for students in the mods. There were also tentative plans for fireplaces in the centers of the donuts, and air conditioning.
You win some, you lose some.
(Image credit to the Hampshire College Archives)