The 7 Wonders of Hamilton

By Blair Casey

Clinton Pottery

Keep your eyes open for small, white, unmarked boxes sprinkled around campus…you might just discover a small ceramic piece from Clinton Pottery, one of Hamilton’s best kept secrets. Clinton Pottery has been a fixture in the Village since 1831, and is the official maker of the popular “Hamilton” mug. The store is located downtown on Utica Street, but owner and lifelong potter Jonathan Woodward brings Clinton Pottery to the Hill by periodically hiding free pottery around campus. Woodward hopes to bring in new customers (and their parents) by including the name and address of the store in the same box as the beautiful hidden pieces. Be on high alert for these boxes if you want to snag a piece of handmade local art. No luck finding them? The store is open Monday through Saturday and is well worth the hike.

1768 Marker

As you may recall from your high school history class, the British declared that all land west of the line drawn by their Proclamation of 1763 was to forever be Indian territory. You may also recall that it didn’t exactly work out that way. In 1768, the Treaty of Fort Stanwix adjusted the Proclamation Line to accommodate white settlement, and the revised line ran straight across College Hill Road. The stone marker located towards the bottom of the hill was intended to be an absolute boundary for white settlement, but instead provides a reminder of the land Hamilton sits upon, and the natives who once occupied it.


Have you ever been curious about the two cannons on the quad in front of admissions? The cannons were donated by Elihu Root, class of 1864, who served as the United States Secretary of War under William McKinley. U.S. forces captured these Spanish cannons during the Spanish-American War; take a closer look at either of them and you’ll notice the inscription of their Spanish names. Although the cannons are now mounted and permanently face Colgate, they used to have wheels underneath them that were removed after mischievous students repeatedly moved them.


Easily the most iconic building on Hamilton’s campus, the chapel contains even more College history than most people realize. Completed in 1827, the chapel’s design was the combined effort of prominent architect Philip Hooker and College trustee John Lothrop. In Hamilton’s early days, the chapel was the center of student life on the Hill as prayer was a required activity and the building housed Greek and Physics classes. A perennial Hamilton prank, students used to sneak barnyard animals into the chapel, such as the class of 1842, which herded 120 sheep and 15 mules into the chapel one night.

1812 Garden

Beyond the co-op and surrounded by a split-rail fence, the 1812 Garden cultivates a living history of life at the time of Hamilton’s inception. This “founding” garden is the full reconstruction of an early 19th century kitchen garden, and serves as the “laboratory” project of the Food For Thought class. Planted in 2008 by the seminar sections of Professor David Gapp and Professor Franklin Sciacca, the garden continues to be a profound teacher of sustainability. The students that work the garden learn the harvesting techniques and preservation methods of Hamilton’s forefathers while gaining the ability to cook and live in 1812, two hundred years later.

McEwen Rock Swing

The unusual-looking hanging mechanism that spans both floors of McEwen Dining Hall is such a regular fixture of everyday life on the Hill that people often forget that it functions as a swing. The rock swing was designed and created in the seventies by a Kirkland Art major and Hamilton Physics major as a joint senior thesis. Four people standing equidistant around the circle of the base twisting the swing in unison can eventually be elevated to the second floor. Today, the swing represents the most prominent example of the unique relationship between Hamilton, Kirkland, and their students.

Mango Brie Panini

Few events on campus are as highly anticipated or as well attended as the scramble to Café Opus for mango brie panini day. Brie, the most fattening and delicious of all French cheeses comes together in a glorious union with juicy, tangy mango twice a month to create the most satisfying lunch of all time. The line at Opus on mango Brie panini day speaks for itself. Although Opus employees remain mum on why such a famed moneymaker is not offered more frequently, it is hard to feel anything but grateful for the days that they are served. No list of Hamilton’s wonders would be complete with out homage to the praise-worthy and often life-saving mango Brie panini.