Carleton College: Viewing Nature

Tour curated by: Carleton College

Like Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory that students study in the buildings on this tour, our conceptions of nature have evolved over Carleton’s 150 years. Nature has been both the subject of scientific inquiry and artistic and religious inspiration. One of the first stops on this tour is the Goodsell Observatory, which in the nineteenth century granted people a closer glimpse to what many people viewed as God’s handiwork in the heavens.

This tour guides you through Carleton’s academic interest in nature to a house that nurtures students’ love for the outdoors and ends at the entrance of the Arboretum—a massive expanse of nature that changed from wilderness to farmland and back again during the college’s existence. Enjoy exploring!

Locations for Tour

Beginning in 1927 and working over the next decade, Professor of Botany Harvey Stork sketched out his conception of a wildlife plant and nature preserve on the north side of Lyman Lakes and Bell Field. He called it the Upper Arboretum. His idea was…

The Faculty Club, built in 1928, was the brainchild of D. Blake Stewart (Stewsie) then superintendent of buildings and grounds. Before World War I, while female students lived in Gridley Hall (1882-1967), most male students and single faculty members…

Designed by Minneapolis architect A. R. Van Dyke and built in 1937, the house of Leal and Harriet Marston Headley at 815 East Second Street was patterned after Mrs. Headley's childhood home in San Diego, California. Mrs. Headley’s family had…

In 1992, Carleton student Jimmy Chin—now an internationally recognized climber, mountaineer, skier, director, and photographer—signed up for a climbing trip to Joshua Tree, California. He was an immediate natural. While others warily inspected…

On June 2, 2010, student pranksters transformed Goodsell Observatory into a giant replica of R2D2 (a character from the acclaimed Star Wars universe). Using a virtual scale model of Goodsell for precise measurements, the students painted butcher…

Designed by award-winning architect Minoru Yamasaki and completed in 1961 at a cost of $1.51 million, the Olin Hall of Science was designed to serve the college's physics and biology departments. The building had two main entrances. The one at the…

Nestled next to the entrance of Boliou Hall (1949), home to the Art and Art History Department, sits the Boliou Fountain, a revolving sculpture made out of brass that contrasts with the rectilinear form of the building itself. Created by Raymond…
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