Goodnow Park and the Pepper Box

A Gathering at the Pepper Box, 1888-90

Goodnow Park! the Pepper Box! Lake Nonotuck! Hardly anyone today recognizes these names, yet between 1882 and 1920 they were the sites of lively activities at Mount Holyoke. They have been utterly lost. Only the Pepper Box has literally disappeared, torn down in 1920. The other two remain but their names have changed. Goodnow Park is now simply Prospect Hill, and Lake Nonotuck has reverted to the prosaic Lower Lake.

This exhibition brings these abandoned places back to life by displaying postcards, photographs, stereopticon views, glass negatives, lithographs and engravings from the college’s Archives and Special Collections. Also on display will be an unpublished hand-drawn plan of 1882 for Goodnow Park and several early written documents. However, the recovered history of the park depends largely upon the photographs for which a chronology has been established. They offer a pleasant and often delightful excursion into the years between 1875 and 1914. In them we’ll see the progressive changes in the hill above the campus which had long been a pasture, and at the summit we’ll find the picturesque pavilion, the Pepper Box. We’ll also see students sunning themselves in the pastures of Prospect Hill just before the Seminary acquired it, as well as find them boating and skating on Lake Nonotuck. Their hats and clothing punctuate the passing decades of the era.



Essay by Robert L. Herbert, Professor emeritus of art history

Co curation and digitization by James Gehrt, Digital Projects Lead

Digital Exhibition Design by Carmen Paul

Exhibition coordination by Aaron F. Miller, Assistant Curator of Visual and Material Culture

This exhibition has been co-sponsored by the office of the President and the Miller-Worley Center. Copies of this catalogue have been provided to visiting classes by the Art History Department.

With special thanks to Leslie Fields, Head of Archives and Special Collections, and Deborah Richards, Special Collections Archivist

A more detailed history of Goodnow Park, written by Robert Herbert can be found here "The Recovered History of Prospect Hill, 1879-1920: Goodnow Park, the Pepper Box and Lake Nonotuck."

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum exhibit - October 10, 2016 to December 18, 2016