Where is East Lodge?

The following article appeared in the Wellesley Townsman on August 7, 2014.

East Lodge  Source: Wellesley Legenda (1893)

East Lodge
Source: Wellesley Legenda (1893)

The photo above shows Wellesley College’s Bicycle Club (for the 1892-93 academic year) in front of East Lodge, the original main entrance to the Wellesley College campus.

Located on Washington Street nearly opposite Upland Road, East Lodge was one of the first buildings — if not the first — constructed as part of the College’s original campus. Built in either 1869 or 1870, this charming little gatehouse provided a striking first impression to new students and visitors to the College. It was also where the attendant who greeted everyone lived with his family.

The eclectic design of East Lodge complemented the architecture of the other original campus buildings: College Hall, a massive five-story structure of Second Empire style (with Gothic overtones) that sat on a hill overlooking Lake Waban and more or less contained the entire college, and the Gothic-inspired West Lodge, a service gatehouse located on Central Street. (All three were designed by prominent Boston architect Hammatt Billings.)

In addition to serving as the main vehicular entrance to the College, East Lodge was the primary gateway used by students who lived off-campus in what was affectionately known as the Vil. Unlike today, when almost all of the students live on campus, during much of the first half of the College’s history, many students (including all freshmen) lived in dormitories and houses in the area along Washington Street southwest of Wellesley Square. At any hour of the day, you would therefore find dozens and dozens of young women walking or riding their bikes to or from East Lodge.

The gate at East Lodge would close to vehicular traffic in the early 1930s. By that time, however, the main entrance had moved to the intersection of Central Street and Weston Road. Built shortly after 1892 (when the old Hunnewell Grammar School was moved onto the college campus and converted into the Fiske Cottage dormitory), this second gate was adopted as the primary entrance by students and members of the college community soon after the Natick & Cochituate Street Railway Company opened a trolley line on Central Street in 1896 that had one of its stops at Weston Road.

For the last 80 years, East Lodge has remained as a quaint pedestrian entrance to the College grounds. Its use, however, decreased significantly following the construction of two on-campus freshman dormitories in 1952. With the loss of hundreds of students residing in the Vil, there was less need for students to exit the campus.

East Lodge is used currently as faculty housing.


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