Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project



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Institution Name: Willamette University
Original/Historic Place Name: Sweetland Field
Location on Campus: center of campus
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1867original construction; Sweetland Field Unknown
ca. 1950-present (2007)further enclosure of open space; construction of buildings marking its boundaries Unknown
Type of Place: Landscape site
Type of landscape–
Views and vistas:
Large-scale features:
The Quad is an open space, a broad lawn that provides an informal recreational area for students.
Other characteristics:
1867-ca. 1950outdoor space (athletic playing field)
ca. 1950-present (2007)outdoor space (for recreation and ceremony)

Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Quad, initially known as Sweetland Field, is the central lawn and playing field on the Willamette University campus. Its original name honored George J. Sweetland, who in 1909 joined the faculty as physical director and developed a modern sports program for the institution. The area in enclosed on all four sides: the historic row of buildings form the northern boundary of the space while the other three boundaries are marked by buildings constructed since 1950.

Although this area was used as the athletic playing field from early in the school's history, the present arrangement of open space and architecture evolved over time. The construction of Eaton Hall in 1909, together with the earliest campus building, Waller Hall, began to form this enclosure. From the 1920s to the 1950s, the porches on the east side of Lausanne Hall provided viewing stations for women residents while bleachers lined the south edge of the field. With the construction of additional buildings in the 1950s, the area became more completely enclosed architecturally. The construction of a stadium off-campus changed the use of the field from competitive athletics to more general recreational purposes.

The Quad includes mature oak trees to the north and it is bisected by two paved walkways. The significance of this area lies in its tradional identity as the social and recreational center of campus and the open space it provides for viewing campus architecture as well as the state capitol nearby. Beginning ca. 1990, the Quad has become a ceremonial site as the location of commencement exercises each spring.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Gatke, Robert Moulton. Chronicles of Willamette, the Pioneer University of the West. Portland, OR: Binfords and Mort, 1943.

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

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Last update: November 2006