About

Around the D is an old Davidson College expression referring to a D-shaped pathway on campus.  This blog is our way of sharing documents, artifacts and fun historical bits from the Archives and Special Collections about the college and the town of Davidson, NC.

Contributors include Jan Blodgett (College Archivist), Sharon Byrd (Special Collections Outreach Librarian), Caitlin Christian-Lamb (Digital Archivist), and occasional guest entries from around the Davidson College community.

Read our inaugural blog entry (below) to learn the story of “the D”.

 


 

For generations of Davidson students the phrase “around the D” came naturally.  It wasn’t just shorthand for Davidson College. It was a path they walked on and along regularly.
In 1868, a contest was organized by mathematics professor Alexander McIver requiring each class to draw a curve on campus. The students in the class of 1869 came up with winning calculations. Their curve ran from Main Street to the main campus building and back to Main Street behind the old chapel building.

1915 Nolan map of campus. The "D" formed by Main Street and around the front of Chambers building.

In the next few years, students planted trees along the path. According to college historian and librarian Cornelia Shaw, the “two elms directly in front of Chambers were planted by two students each of whom was named Thomas Johnston Allison. They met for the first time in a class room at Davidson. On a comparison of information they found that they had been born the same month, were the same height, weighed the same, and entered the same classes in college.”

The “D” was later incorporated in the campus design made by landscape architect John Nolen in 1915 and remained a part of the campus for the next 50 years. By 1960, the original D was lost as new buildings altered the pathways on campus and the area in front of the Chambers Building became known as “front campus.”

Still, the phrase “see you around the D” remained popular with students and alumni as it came to represent the college as a whole. It seemed the logical name for a blog dedicated to exploring bits of Davidson history and lore. If you have an “around the D” memory or story, please add a comment and share your thoughts and experiences.