A brief history of the North 40.
Located at the intersection of Route 135 and Weston Road, the bulk of this property—commonly referred to as the North 40—was granted to Wellesley College by Henry Durant as part of an indenture in 1873. Durant acquired the ten parcels of land granted to the College as part of the indenture over a period of 20 years from a variety of sources. The College paid $50,000 to acquire the indenture lands from Mr. Durant. At that time, the deed restricted use of those collective parcels for anything other than College related uses and restricted any lease of the property to no more than seven years. Since that time, an additional 9 acres were acquired by the College and added to the property and there have been takings from it by the railroad and the Town of Wellesley for its municipal use. The land acquired at a later date was never subject to the deed restrictions.
Additional acreage came to the College through Henry Durant's will after the death of his wife, Pauline Durant. Since that time, the College has acquired or been given an additional 180 acres — better situated, more useful land than the North 40 — mostly around Lake Waban and directly across from the College on Route 16. Although many uses for the North 40 have been suggested over the ensuing 141 years, Wellesley College has always found other space on the core campus that better suited those needs.
In the past few years, Wellesley College has outlined and begun a thoughtful Campus Renewal plan, calling for the repair, renovation, and modest expansion of existing campus buildings to the benefit of the College's academic and residential community. Although this plan does not create significant new buildings on the core campus, it nonetheless represents a significant investment in maintaining the quality of our facilities. To support this plan, the board and leadership of Wellesley College have been exploring options to sell or lease real estate that is outside the core campus, not being used for academic purposes and unlikely to fulfill any specific campus needs going forward. The North 40 is just such a parcel.
By selling this property or committing to a long-term ground lease, Wellesley College will gain additional financial resources to support our Campus Renewal plan. The productive reuse of the North 40 allows Wellesley College to focus assets in the areas that can best use them in support of the College’s academic mission.