A common meeting place on campus, the flagpole, also marks the early entrance to the college. The land was a gift from the Jennings family in 1930, for which the Jennings Music Building is named. The original campus was comprised of 140 of the southernmost acres of the Jennings’ North Bennington estate, including the Barn and several farm buildings on what is now the lower portion of the campus. The Barn (a former dairy barn), was converted to space for administrative and faculty offices, classrooms, science labs, and the library. Commons and the first student houses were built at the same time.
As you look around, you will also see shrubs and trees that mark the seasons for many Bennington students, like the sweet smell of flowering lilacs in the spring and the sound of falling apples in the fall (as well as the anticipation of cider-making; a campus tradition).
Next to the Campus Safety building, note the large trees with light, deeply ridged bark. These are black locusts; they are native to the south central U.S. and were widely planted in the northeast for their ability to add to nitrogen to the soil, for hardwood lumber and fence posts, and for erosion control due to their quickly spreading roots. We may soon be seeing more and more of these trees, as climate change expands the availability of favorable conditions for their growth.