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Bema

This is the name of the landscaped amphitheater in the College Park, a wooded and grass-covered area on the eastern edge of campus. When Wheelock first arrived on the Hanover Plain, the land was covered by an ancient forest of pine trees that stood as tall as 270 feet. By 1771, so many pines had been felled that the wood covered an area of forty-eight acres, stacked to a depth of five feet. In 1860, a gift of 15,000 seedlings was presented to the College by Judge Joel Parker. These are the trees which stand today. In 1882, the senior class, under the guidance of then President Samuel Bartlett, built the Bema which, for many generations, was the graduation site for Dartmouth seniors.

Just north of the Bema is Bartlett Tower, a tall, stone, medieval tower which was completed by Dartmouth students in 1895, again under the supervision of President Bartlett. Bartlett intended that the tower be a symbol of the Old Pine, the one tree left to stand after Wheelock et. al. cleared the Hanover Plain. The tree had been struck by lightning in 1887 and later fell to a windstorm in 1892.

How to get there: 
From the Hanover Inn, walk east on East Wheelock Street past the Hopkins Center. Turn left onto a small road which runs uphill between Reed Hall and Bartlett Hall. Follow this road past the Fayerweather dorms on the right. At the end of the cluster, turn right. Follow the dirt road that turns east behind the Woodward/Ripley/Smith cluster. Once at the Bema, one can generally feel far from the activities of campus life. Walk around this wooded area.

Last Updated: 4/16/13