Carleton College: Woods and Garden

Tour curated by: Carleton College

Since the Progressive Era at the turn of the nineteenth century, Carleton College has considered exercise and healthy lifestyle habits to be an essential part of a student’s education. Sites around campus adapted to or were built to accommodate this belief in healthy living. This tour includes locations like the Japanese Garden, a serene place for relaxation and contemplation, and the Farm House where students run a small farm to encourage sustainable living.

Along the way are the intramural fields and Hill of Three Oaks, the homes of Carleton’s Ultimate Frisbee and rugby teams. These club sports are entirely student-run and organized, which encourages physical exercise, leadership, and community development without the negative drawbacks of the ultra-competiveness found in most American sports today.

Locations for Tour

Past the Hill of the Three Oaks, beyond the Recreation Center, sits a collection of large rocks in a circle. This site is known as the Druid Circle, and its origins provide an interesting insight into the nature of the college. The story begins in…

Carleton’s Japanese garden was named by The Journal of Japanese Gardening in 2000 as one of the ten best Japanese gardens outside Japan. Conceived by Bardwell Smith, Dean of the College and Nason Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Emeritus,…

It was the summer of 1989. Behind Watson Hall, the student dormitory built in 1966 by American architect Minoru Yamasaki, a group of Japanese students gathered on the lawn for a picnic. They were at Carleton to improve their spoken English. As a…

Ninety-one years old, Stewsie was seen on a rain-soaked spring of 1974 working on and directing a landscape project near Carleton’s main campus. A “peripatetic dynamo of a little man,” D. Blake Stewart (affectionately known as Stewsie) left an…

Located in the Upper Arboretum, the Hill of Three Oaks has historically been a popular location for picnics, Frisbee games, and concerts. It also overlooks a baseball field where students annually—in memory of Marvin Rotblatt, the pitcher with the…

The intramural fields located behind the Carleton Rec Center are home to Carleton’s two most famous games—Ultimate Frisbee and Rotblatt. Despite being a small school, Carleton boasts six competitive Frisbee teams. The Division I men’s team,…

The Carleton water tower, located behind the Rec Center and next to the baseball field, is one of the college’s most iconic structures and the source of endless pranks. Built in 1928 to provide the college with a source of water independent of the…

To attract extra help with the weeding each spring, Farm House, the sustainable-living interest house, hosts an event known as “Farmstock.” The well-known, popular event began in 1982. During the day students come and get their hands dirty while…
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