Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

main field. In 1912, the trustees, unsuccessful in an attempt to purchase a small strip west of Bliss Field, decided to acquire the entire twelve-acre tract between the alumni purchase and Park Avenue. It was immediately apparent that the Park Avenue property was much more adaptable for an athletic field than the hilltop area. Olmsted Brothers, landscape architects, were called in to make alternate plans. On the basis of their studies the new site was adopted early in 1913. One obstacle to carrying out the complete plan was a one-acre triangle still owned by the Art Museum at the northeast corner of the tract. This triangle the Alumni Association purchased in May, 1913, out of funds raised for gymnasium endowment.

In April, 1913, Mr. Washburn had given the alumni executive committee another property problem to think about. In an ingratiating letter he presented the suggestion that, since the trustees had purchased the Park Avenue property without thought of its being appropriated for the alumni field, the Alumni Association might wish to relieve the Institute of a heavy obligation, the note for $60,000 which had been given to the Art Museum. He suggested further that this amount might be appropriated from the fund being raised for gymnasium maintenance, and that the alumni might contribute $3,000 a year for this purpose until an additional sum could be raised for gymnasium endowment. This proposal took the wind out of the alumni officers, but Washburn was not a man to be opposed. A full year passed before action was taken, then Mr. Washburn won his point, but only at the cost of another campaign.

Bids for construction of the athletic field on the Park Avenue site were received in May, 1913, and the contract was let to Varnum P. Curtis, '01, of Worcester. Prof. Arthur W. French was appointed consulting engineer, and Arthur J. Knight resident engineer. Grading was started early in the summer. All steam shovel work and the placing of drainage lines was completed by October.


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Last Modified: Fri Jul 30 11:15:25 EDT 1999