Great Lawn and Elm Arch, circa 1820, at Phillips Academy
Directly across Salem Street from the Memorial Bell Tower, the Great Lawn, originally the "Seminary Common," extends to Chapel Avenue. This space has remained open since the academy was founded. Originally a swampy meadow in front of Seminary Row, it was gradually improved in the 1810s and 1820s. The construction of Foxcroft, Pearson, and Bartlet Halls involved the creation of a terrace, which was enclosed by granite bollards linked by chain in 1821.
Backstory and Context
The Elm Arch stands in front of the former Seminary Row, where first Phillips Academy principal Eliphalet Pearson is said to have laid it out in the early 19th century. Despite some losses from Dutch Elm disease, the allee remains the lawn's defining north-south axis. The Andover Theological Seminary library, Brechin Hall (1865), once stood at the southern end of the Elm Arch, near the current site of the Armillary Sphere. Brechin was torn down in 1929 largely because it interfered with the broad sweep across the lawn from Salem Street to Chapel Avenue.
In November 1921, an ice storm seriously damaged trees along the Elm Arch as well as elsewhere on campus and along Main Street. The Olmsted firms' tree expert Hans J. Koehler came on the scene right away. Although Dutch Elm disease had not yet struck Andover, Koehler wondered "whether the American Elm is the most happy choice; I mean whetehr the conditions are good for elms....Might it not be a good scheme to retain elms for the large central areas....Outside of this central area, the elms to be replaced by" trees of other species.
Academy Hill: The Andover Campus, 1778 to the Present. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2000.
Allis, Frederick S., Jr. Youth From Every Quarter: A Bicentennial History of Phillips Academy, Andover. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1979.
Domingue, Robert A. Phillips Academy Andover, Massachusetts: An Illustrated History of the Property (including Abbot Academy). Wilmington, Mass.: Hampshire Press, 1990.
Montgomery, Susan J. and Roger G. Reed. Phillips Academy Andover: An Architectural Tour. New York: Princeton University Press, 2000.
Phillips Academy Archives and Special Collections