Whispering Pines: Selective Vision

Whispering Pines

An oil painting by John G. Brown of the Bowdoin campus in the early 1820s hangs in the President’s Office. There are four main buildings in the view. Massachusetts Hall, with its pre-1830 cupola, faces a wooden chapel. Maine Hall (1808) and Winthrop Hall (1822), known as New College or North College before 1847, define the east side of the College yard. In the foreground is a man pushing a wheelbarrow – Frederick Trench (“Old Trench”), a baker who had come to Brunswick from Boston in 1792, and made money by selling gingerbread and root beer to students. A cow squares off against a barking dog, while a fashionably-dressed couple strolls outside the white fence that surrounded the campus.
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Whispering Pines: Immediate Risks and Deferred Rewards

Whispering Pines

The fifty-year commemoration of the first Selma-to-Montgomery march for voting rights on March 7, 1965, (“Bloody Sunday”) and the release of the movie Selma have brought once again into the public consciousness the courage and sacrifices of those who risked their lives in the struggle for civil rights. Televised images of peaceful protesters being tear-gassed and beaten by Alabama state troopers, county sheriff’s deputies, and local police shocked the nation and galvanized political action. [Read more…]

Whispering Pines: The Spaces in Between

Whispering Pines

More than four feet of snow have fallen on the campus in the past three weeks, with more predicted over the next few days. For all the cold and snow of this season, Brunswick has fared better than Boston, Worcester, and points to the north and east of the College. Winter affords outdoor recreational opportunities for the most hale and hardy among us (even under sub-zero wind chill conditions), but it also constrains our movements and activities.

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Whispering Pines: The Gales of December

Whispering Pines

It was 175 years ago—in December of 1839—that three gales hit the New England coast within a two-week period, devastating the merchant fleet, covering beaches with wreckage, cargo, and corpses, and crippling seafaring communities.

The first nor’easter hit after a period of uncharacteristically mild weather, beginning at midnight on the 14th and bringing rain, sleet, snow, and high winds for the next forty-eight hours. In Brunswick, Professor Parker Cleaveland documented a drop in mean temperature from 33° on the 14th to 8° and -7° over the next two days. Vessels at wharves were driven against each other, ships at anchor parted their chains and were driven against the shore, and frantic crews dismasted ships to keep them afloat.

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