Editor's note: This is a series of columns by John Malcolm on his "50 years at Fredonia." Retired, he is a professor emeritus at Fredonia State.
Perhaps the greatest contribution by physical education was the purchase of land in the hills above Brocton for the construction of a lodge and nature study area.
The lodge is the oldest building related to the college. It is not a state facility and has passed from being owned and operated by the Alumni Association to the Faculty Student Association.
The "Lodge" now named for Herbert Mackie was constructed in 1938-39 by Harry Saloff with significant labor support by students. Much of the material for the Lodge came "off the stump" using the timber already on the land. Since that time very little has been cut and it is a beautiful piece of property.
In its early days the lodge seemed almost central to college activities. During the winter there was a regular bus service. At the lodge one could check out World War II surplus skis or sleds and use the hill. There was a primitive rope tow and even a small ski jump. At this writing our litigious society forbids these activities at the lodge.
For a time the fifth-grade campus school students spent a week at the lodge and in addition to their regular faculty were treated to science lectures and instructed in outdoor lore by the college faculty.
It has also been a useful laboratory for biology but scholarship trends in this field have changed over the years.
Freshman men were expected to work for a weekend at the lodge. We planted trees, cleaned up the trails and the lodge proper.
Overnight sleeping accommodations were at either end of the lodge. (On camping weekends women were at one end over the kitchen and men were on the other. Miss Barbara Polacek of the Biology faculty and advisor to the "Sylvians" was in the middle.)
During the winter the Sylvians also utilized a farmhouse down on Parcell Road for a winter base. It was called the "Hermitage" since three bachelors who apparently didn't talk to each other owned it. The Hermitage is still there but is in need of serious repair.
John Malcolm is a Fredonia resident.