Hawley Armory, established in 1914, was designed for the military
department, and for athletic, social and theatrical activities,
according to a February 1914 article in The Lookout, the precursor
to The Daily Campus.
It was that and more to the growing Connecticut
Agricultural College: its name was a memorial to a student.
N. Hawley was born August 9, 1875, to an old Connecticut family.
After three years at Newtown Academy, he attended Storrs Agricultural
College, beginning in the fall of 1895.
He was a right end on
the football team, said to be "a hard tackler and dependable
at all times," and also was a member of the Shakespearean Club.
His aptitude for military training resulted in his becoming a
first lieutenant of the cadet company and soon after graduating
in 1898, he joined the U.S. Army.
All through the spring of 1898,
the campus - like the nation - had been alive with talk of war
"Military training, formerly an irksome duty at Storrs,
began to take on new significance, and the Lookout published pictures
of the cadet company, resplendent in its new blue uniforms,"
wrote Walter Stemmons in his 50th anniversary history of Connecticut
Agricultural College. Four seniors from the small graduating
class went almost directly from school to camp, and five recent
alumni joined them.
Hawley was one of those four graduates caught
up in the romance of battle. In September, on a week's furlough,
he visited friends at the college in Storrs. Yet just two months
later, on November 19, 1898, First Sergeant Willis Nichols Hawley,
Company H, Third Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, died of typhoid
fever at the Red Cross Hospital in Philadelphia.
and not Spanish bayonets was the principal hazard of war," wrote
Stemmons. "Several of the boys from the college came down with
Sixteen years later, Hawley's memory was enshrined
in the new campus building.
The armory, which was renovated in
the 1990s and is now used for fitness programs, was once the
center of the campus world, playing host to basketball games
and swim meets, theater club productions, visiting lectures,
and even town meetings.
Behind the armory, stretching to the
west, were the athletic fields of the growing college, originally
designed for football and baseball.
The playing fields, too,
were named in memory of a student. Gardner Dow of New Haven was
killed while making a tackle in a football game at the University
of New Hampshire at Durham, on September 27, 1919.
The fields were
upgraded in the mid-1920s, with a new football field and new
tennis courts. At that time, the fields stretched from behind
Hawley Armory, west to what is now Gampel Pavilion. In the 1950s
they stretched even further, as Memorial Stadium was added.
expansion of the University, the athletic fields were moved and
over the years parts of what was Dow Field have been used for
other campus facilities.
The Whetten Graduate Center and the
graduate residences, built in the 1960s, are where the tennis
courts used to be. In the 1970s, the psychology building was
constructed on another piece of what had been Dow Field.
of the UConn Co-op and Homer Babbidge Library - both completed
in the late 1970s - left a section that still held a practice
and intramural baseball diamond, but by then it was better known
as the Grad Field.
With a temporary parking lot now claiming
the Grad Field, all that remains of Dow Field is a plaque on the
back of Hawley Armory. Difficult to reach because of the loading
area of the Co-op, it cites the death of Gardner Dow and the field
that bore his name.
Mark J. Roy
Sources: Connecticut Agricultural College - A History,
Walter Stemmons, 1931; unpublished manuscript, Evan Hill, 1980.