Of the buildings demolished to make room for the Herbert Towne Field House, the most notable was the baseball cage. Work on the cage began in October 1905. The Williams Record covered the construction process and gave a description of what the building would be like upon completion: It was to be “brick throughout, with metal skylights” that would be “lighted entirely from the roof.” When completed in the spring of 1906, the cage measured 152 feet by 42 feet, with the roof peaking at 27 feet in the center.
The cage was made possible by a gift from Eugene Delano, Williams Class of 1856. Delano was a wealthy New York merchant and banker who served as a trustee of the college for 25 years right up until his death in April 1920. His gift was combined with one from Francis Lynde Stetson (for whom Williams’ Stetson Hall is named) for a project that included renovations to Lasell Gymnasium in addition to erection of the cage.
In its time, the baseball cage was the winter and inclement weather home of the Williams College Baseball team. The Williams yearbook, the Gulielmensian, first mentioned the cage in its 1908 edition: “The success of the 1906 team is the more remarkable when it is considered that work began in the cage with the poorest prospects?” Towne Field House now serves this role for both the baseball and softball teams, which can participate in batting, fielding, and pitching practice under the building’s sleek double dome.
By Jonathan Pearson (Class of 2000)
Williams Record. September 25, 1905.