The Recovered History of Prospect Hill, 1879-1920: Goodnow Park, the Pepper Box and Lake Nonotuck



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Goodnow Park, Lake Nonotuck, and the Pepper Box: These were once familiar places at Mount Holyoke College, but they have been utterly lost. Only one of the three, the Pepper Box, has literally disappeared, torn down in 1920. The other two remain but their names have changed. Goodnow Park is now simply Prospect Hill, and Lake Nonotuck has reverted to the prosaic Lower Lake. There is no mystery about the Pepper Box or the origins of Goodnow Park, but just when and how the Lower Lake was renamed Lake Nonotuck is an enigma. It’s first mentioned in print in early 1896, but no longer appears after 1918. The process of rediscovering these abandoned place-names involves sorting through the college archives, especially its rich collection of postcards, photographs, stereopticon views and glass negatives which offer a delightful excursion into the years between 1879 and 1914. Because there are rather few printed documents about the evolution of the three sites, it’s these photos that let us see the progressive changes in the hill above the campus and the lake, as well as the rise to prominence of the Pepper Box pavilion at the top of the hill.



Prospect Hill, Mount Holyoke College, Local history