Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kenilworth NJ

Upsala College dorm, 1923

Upsala College went defunct in 1995.
The biggest mistake Upsala made might have been relocating the college in 1924 from then farmland & wooded Kenilworth to suburban East Orange. Kenilworth was ideal for a growing, young college. It had cheap land & a small downtown that even now one could imagine as a college town. Kenilworth was a community with a guaranteed future. Although Upsala rooted well in East Orange, it never had a really attractive campus, despite the several fine, old houses it had purchased. The school was always hedged in by residential streets & apartment buildings. The neighborhood experienced a drastic, baffling "white flight" in the Seventies & the school gradually lowered its admission standards to keep enrollment up. Among the ill-conceived plans tossed around to rescue the college, wasting time & money that would have been better invested  in reviving the school's  once-prestigious theater & dance  programs & promoting its proximity to NYC,   one involved  transplanting Upsala to Sussex County, to a site probably like the one it had vacated in Kenilworth.

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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