The Francis Chamberlin Hall Farm was given to KUA in 1913 by Alfred S. Hall, class of 1869, in memory of his son Francis. Alfred Hall, a Boston lawyer, graduated from Dartmouth College in 1872 and Boston University School of Law in 1875 and was a KUA trustee for nearly thirty years (1898 – 1926). According to the Alumni Bulletin, Dec. 1926, the farm “and six thousand dollars added to the endowment fund, are the gifts which will testify to his loyalty in after years but to us … there will be the memory of uncounted minor gifts to satisfy various needs of the Academy and to aid boys and girls … .” Right from the beginning, the farm became a vital resource for the Academy during difficult financial times caused, in par,t by the Great Depression and two World Wars. Headmasters Charles A. Tracy, class of 1893, and William R. Brewster, class of 1914, had both grown up on farms and knew their value as an economic resource and an educational tool for the Academy. They encouraged faculty and students, with guidance from local farmers, to take part in the life of a working farm. The 1942 Concordia gives an example of the success of this endeavor by stating, “A modern milk house and a manure shed have been built this year by the boys, who work on the farm, not for money, but for the kick they get out of it.” It was reported in the November 1942 Alumni Bulletin that, because of the shortage of farm laborers in the country, KUA students and faculty volunteered to do their part working at the school farm in the “food for freedom” effort. They worked under Assistant Headmaster Babcock, and maintenance workers Ray Cutts and Clarence Bean, among others. The student volunteers put in many hours each week at the farm and by November they had cut the corn, put it in the silo and were then digging potatoes; because of the huge crop, the football and soccer squads volunteered to help with the harvest.
“The potato yield from 4 acres of land was 1060 bushels … We have about 1300 New Hampshire Red hens and 88 Barred Plymouth Rock roosters … are averaging about 800 eggs per day. Those not used by the school are sold for hatching and are selling at this time for 67 cents per dozen … After selling about 40 young pigs last summer and fall, we still have 35 which are being raised here. The young pigs sold brought an average of $6.50 each … “We now have 39 head [Jersey cows], and will be milking 23 or 24 before spring. This milk is sold to a dealer in Lebanon. It is then pasteurized and sold back to the school. … The dealer adds his own Guernsey milk to ours to make up the necessary 3000 quarts used each day at Kimball Union … . The farm produced about 100 bushels of yellow corn and a half ton of squash, in addition to enough beets and carrots to nearly take us through the year. The last two Ayrshire cows were recently sold at $173 each. They had cost us $125 each about four years ago.” The cows grazed on the Potato Patch during the day and at milking time, athletes had to pause in their contests while the cows were brought in across the fields to the barn, much to the frustration of visiting teams unaware of the pending procedure. As the Great Depression and World War II came to an end and prosperity began to return to The Hilltop, KUA slowly closed down the working farm. The main building became faculty housing and, at times, a dormitory, with the barn being used by the wrestling teams and now as home to the skiing and cycling teams. The large building at the end, which once won an award for having the best design as a chicken house in New Hampshire, was used for athletic storage and is now the maintenance department building. Although Hall Farm has other purposes and KUA’s larder is full, it surely must be gratifying to those people of the 1930s and 40s to know that faculty and student volunteers are once again raising vegetables, chickens, and pigs for their own consumption and as part of their education in the technical world of the 21st century.