Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Memorial Field and War Memorial

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Amherst College
Original/Historic Place Name: Memorial Field and War Memorial
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1945-1946original construction Shurcliff, Arthur Asahel
1945-1946original construction Smith, James Kellum
Type of Place: Landscape site
Type of landscape–
Views and vistas:
Large-scale features:
The War Memorial is a stone amphitheatre built into the brow of the hill with a great raised granite circle in the center bearing names (with granite blocks surrounding), and with stone seats around the edge; floor is made of flagstones of bluestone.
Other characteristics:
Materials: quadrangle: granite; raised circle: granite from Chelmsford, Massachusettes Quarries; posts and seats: granite from Deer Island, Maine quarries
1945-present (2007)memorial site (to memorialize alumni who died in WWI and WWII)

Significance: architecture, history, landscape
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The War Memorial and Memorial Field are in honor of Amherst College alumni who died in World Wars I and II. Some 3,400 alumni contributed $100,000 of the total $120,000 cost. Then President Stanley King proposed the site.

The architect of the War Memorial was James Kellum Smith (class of 1915), who was a member of the well-known McKim, Mead & White architectural firm from 1920 to 1961 and the architect for Amherst College from 1930 to 1960. The College's landscape architect, Arthur A. Shurcliff of Boston, worked with Smith on this and several other campus projects.

At the dedication ceremony on June 16, 1946, John J. McCloy (class of 1916), who had served as U. S. Assistant Secretary of War (1941-1945) and would soon become president of the World Bank (1947-1949) and U. S. High Commissioner for Germany (1949-1952), gave a very moving and memorable address. McCloy was a devoted long-time trustee of the College (1947-1989) whose voluminous papers now reside in the College Archives and Special Collections.

Memorial Field originally contained a baseball diamond, areas for football and soccer practice, and in winter, a ski slope. Varsity baseball moved here in 1949, many tennis courts have been added, and various other activities take place here.

The War Memorial is situated on a path between the main campus and the playing field/athletic complex. One walks through the War Memorial to get from one to the other. It has always been kept in excellent condition.

I. Bibliographic sources:

King, Stanley. The Consecrated Eminence: the Story of the Campus and Buildings of Amherst College. Amherst, MA: Amherst College, 1951.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections, Facilities Management Office

Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
One Dupont Circle, Ste. 320
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006