WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — You know fall's around the corner when the inevitable lists of the best schools start appearing. And, inevitably, the Williams College is on them.
This month, Williams' selection as one of the "New Ivies" by college-rater Unigo.com comes on the heel's of its top ranking as America's best college by Forbes Magazine.
The private liberal arts institution, and the second-oldest college in the state after Harvard, has been a perennial top-lister in various "best of" lists, including U.S. News and World Report's annual rankings. Forbes ranked Williams as No. 4 last year; this year, it popped to the top, beating out archrival Amherst at No. 3.
Forbes ranks colleges on academics and students' experiences and achievements. Unigo.com's rankings are similar and it gleans all of its information directly from students. The site offers information to help collegebound students choose the right school. The list of "The New Ivies" is among the site's "10 for 10" that includes ranking for the 10 safest, best party, most intellectual and sports.
The information culled from some 30,000 respondents placed Williams among the New Ivies with Duke and Johns Hopkins for its low student-instructor ratio, communal atmosphere and emphasis on academic experience over grades.
As you've probably already heard, the St. Raphael's steeple has been posted on eBay. The church's pride has structural issues and a decision was made to remove while the building and nearby rectory are transformed into affordable housing units.
There was the idea of simply setting it aside, like giant lawn ornament, but the commitee working with developer David Carver didn't warm to the idea. Thus, like so many tchotkes and oddities, the steeple found itself on eBay. Here's the link.
It's a great opportunity for a buying a "once in a lifetime" deal, says the description.
Get ready ... because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We are please to offer a real life part of Western New England history ... What a wonderful piece of architectural history to own ... pour a concrete slab and enjoy it for a lifetime.
The minimum bid is $1,000 but with 39 hours to go, no one's bid on it. The auction ends on Aug 22 at 5:55:13 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, or 2:55:13 a.m. our time. The local pickup requirement would certainly lessen the number of (any?) interested buyers - it would be pretty pricey to ship since it weighs in at five to six tons. We found one freight calculator that came up with $3,500 to ship it to 90210 (since we figured someone in that ZIP could easily afford it).
The removal and loading on a flatbed are included, so that's a nice incentive. And where else can you get a church steeple like it? On the other hand, it's just the slate-covered spire and not the more architecturally interesting belfry beneath it.
If a steeple won't fit at your house but you're still looking for some Williamstown history, there's elements of the Kalker House still available at the ReStore in Springfield. The beautiful doorway taken from the home (demolished to make way for the Clark Art Institute's new entrance) can be picked up for $2,000. It's twice the price as the steeple but we're thinking a lot easier to get home.
Update: The auction ended Saturday night with no bids; we haven't seen it relisted.
Susan Macksey, formerly of North Adams, sent us some photos of a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, better known as simply "The Wall."
This particular 250-foot-long traveling replica is called "The Wall That Heals." It was situated at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
She sent pictures of the names of five Northern Berkshire men that are engraved on the wall: Peter Foote of North Adams, Russell Roulier of Adams, Tristan Hayes and Francis Bissaillon of Williamstown, and Peter Cook, who is listed under North Adams but was actually from Clarksburg. The Clarksburg VFW Post is named for him.
"Last month, some friends and I rode down to Bethel Woods, N.Y. to see the "Wall That Heals" — the traveling Vietnam War Memorial," Macksey wrote us this weekend. "I'm sorry that they are a little late for Memorial Day but I hope you can use them for your website."
We told her we'd find a way to use them. After all, any day is Memorial Day. So here are the photos she sent:
From top left clockwise, Francis H. Bissaillon, Peter A. Cook, Peter W. Foote, Tristan W. Hayes and Russell R. Roulier, all casualties of the Vietnam War. For more information about Massachusetts names on the wall, click here.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A Williams College junior was killed when he and other students in the college's Williams-Exeter Programme were caught in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps on Sunday.
According to a letter to the Williams community by President Adam Falk, 20-year-old Henry Lo of Franklin Square, N.Y., fell to his death and his classmate Amy Nolan of Williamstown, also a junior, suffered a blow to her head while hiking near Kandersteg, south of the capital Bern.
While walking yesterday, they were hit by an avalanche of snow, ice, and rocks. Henry Lo ’11 was swept to his death, and Amy Nolan ’11 suffered a blow to her head. Swiss rescuers responded quickly, retrieving Henry's body and taking Amy by helicopter to a hospital in Bern. We're told that she never lost consciousness. She was operated on yesterday, and the student who was allowed to visit her today reports that she was talking and smiling. Her parents, Cathy and Jim Nolan, professor of sociology, are now there with her.
There were five other Williams students and two Oxford University students in the party. No one else was injured and the rest of the students were taken back to Oxford, where the program is based. Lo was a math and religion major whom his classmates described as gregarious, hard working, competitive and fun loving.
"At this profoundly sad moment our hearts are first with Henry's family for their sudden and devastating loss," wrote Falk. "No plans have yet been set for any services."
The Swiss Avalanche Institute says an average two dozen people die each year in avalanches there.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Center for Ecological Technology's hosting an information session on the new state building stretch code this Thursday, April 29, at 7 at the Williams Inn.
The town's looking to adopt the code as part of its pursuit toward becoming a Green Community. The code's been placed on the town warrant.
It calls for higher-energy efficiency standards in new construction, whether new homes or additions, and covers certain commercial buildings as well. Proponents say the extra cost (anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000) will be quickly paid back through energy costs.
About a third of the state's municipalities have indicated they will pursue adoption of the code this year. Pittsfield adopted it last week.
An overview of the new standards and the cost/benefits will be presented. The public is encouraged to attend. For information contact, Nancy Nylen of CET at 413-458-5688 or Lauren Gaherty of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission at 413-442-1521, Ext. 35.