On March 19, 1901, a new boathouse was completed on Lake Massasoit at the bottom of Rally Hill. At the request of Mr. Frank Beebe of Holyoke, who donated the materials for the boathouse providing the students would erect it, the boathouse was named the Washington Gladden Boathouse after his friend, the Rev. Washington Gladden. Prior to its construction, students had shown a great interest in building a boathouse to take advantage of the training in aquatics which the lake offered. The class of 1900 raised $150 towards this effort. Plans for the boathouse were prepared by Mr. J. Claude Armstrong (class of 1903), a master carpenter was secured and Dr. F. N. Seerley, was chosen as the leader carrying out their enterprise. At the request of the students working on the construction, two weeks were set aside for work. A tradition in the College’s early years was for students to volunteer as laborers on construction projects. The boathouse project is believed to be the first “Work Day” on Springfield College’s campus, a tradition which has since evolved and today is known as “Humanics in Action” day. The completed structure was a two-story building measuring fifty-three feet by twenty-nine feet and estimated value without the boats was $2,500. On June 18, 1902, the dedication of the boathouse took place during Commencement exercises. A list of boating rules was developed by J. H. McCurdy so that everyone would be safe and have equal access to the boats. The Boathouse served for about forty years as the College’s center for aquatics instruction.
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