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NMH's First Campus in Northfield
What is now Northfield Mount Hermon was founded in 1879 by D.L. Moody as the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies in Northfield, Massachusetts.
Two years later, the Mount Hermon School for Boys was established on the other side of the Connecticut River, the current site of the consolidated Northfield Mount Hermon. The school’s original site in Northfield remains an important part of NMH’s heritage.
The Northfield Seminary was founded specifically to serve girls from poor families who had limited access to education. In time, the school developed a reputation as an excellent academic institution, and it began accepting students from all socioeconomic classes.
In 2004, after years of intense discussion and thorough evaluation, the NMH Board of Trustees voted to consolidate the school’s educational program on the Mount Hermon campus. Consolidation created a more cohesive learning environment, reduced operating costs, increased the resources available per student, and permitted significant investment in facilities.
Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the arts-and-crafts retail chain, purchased the 217-acre core Northfield campus from NMH in 2009, with the goal of giving the property to a Christian educational institution.
Since then, ownership of this property and the surrounding forest acreage has changed.
- The majority of the buildings and some acreage now belong to Thomas Aquinas College, a California-based great books college that plans to open an East Coast campus there in 2019. Plans call for it eventually to serve 350 to 400 students.
- Some additional acreage and 10 other buildings are now owned by The Moody Center, a nonprofit organization honoring the legacy of NMH founder D.L. Moody. The buildings donated to the center were the Homestead, the Auditorium, Revell Hall, Holton, Duly, the Bookstore, Daley, Hibbard, Moore Cottage, and Betsey Moody Infirmary (later a dorm known as Moody).
- Nearly 1,300 acres of forest land in Northfield and Warwick were purchased by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation. NMH made this arrangement to ensure the land would be available, permanently, for public use.
- NMH still owns some property in Northfield, including residences, Moody’s birthplace, and the East Northfield Water Company. NMH shares ownership of Round Top, Moody’s burial place, with his direct descendants. Negotiations are underway to transfer NMH’s interest in the birthplace and Round Top to The Moody Center.
- NMH continues to use The Auditorium in Northfield for Sacred Concert, which has been held there annually for more than a century.