by Charles Ferguson

 

Editor’s note: Professor Charles Ferguson (Associate Professor of French, emeritus) spent 28 years in classrooms on the Colby campus before retiring in 1995.  In 2008 he took a very different look at Mayflower Hill—the pastoral land that preceded Colby’s move from downtown Waterville.  What was there? Who farmed the fields that now are Colby’s sprawling lawns? Where were the houses that existed before Colby stately brick buildings?

Campus

MAYFLOWER HILL BEFORE COLBY

By Charles Ferguson

In the fall of 2008 I began looking into the land Colby acquired in 1931 as the site for its new campus. Starting with Ernest Marriner’s History of Colby College (1962) and Earl Smith’s Mayflower Hill (2006), I then looked through the documents and pictures covering the new campus in Special Collections, Miller Library. Once I’d seen something of the Hill as it was before 1931, I sent an inquiry to the Morning Sentinel, and on December 8 it was published: 

I’m seeking records of what Mayflower Hill looked like when it was farmland rising past “Maple Court” up to “Beefsteak Grove.” If you have memories of the families who once lived on the Hill — reminiscences, souvenirs, snapshots — I would much appreciate hearing from you. 

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Charles Ferguson
East Vassalboro
c_fergus@fairpoint.net

Several persons responded to my query (one phoned the morning it appeared), and thanks to their recollections and guidance I have been able sketch out this description of the Hill as it was on March 30, 1931, when a dozen parcels of land were deeded to “the President and Trustees of Colby College.” 

Read the story of early Mayflower Hill >