Herrick Memorial Library at Alfred University

  • Archives & Special Collections
  • Herrick Memorial Library
  • Alfred University
  • 1 Saxon Drive
  • Alfred, NY 14802
  • 607-871-2385 (Phone)
  • 607-871-2299 (Fax)

History of Pine Hill

The full text of "'Are the Pines There Now?' An Historical Study of Pine Hill", by Kristin Sloane, is available as a PDF file.

Appendix 1 and 2 can be viewed in the bound copy of the thesis, located in Special Collections, Herrick Memorial Library, Alfred University.

Appendix 2 can also be viewed as a PowerPoint presentation by clicking here. (15.11 MB)

Questions or comments? Email Kristin Sloane


Pine Hill is a tract of land that is used often by Alfred University students and faculty, but its history has not been well recorded. The forest has been mentioned fondly in diaries and memoirs of students and faculty, and the history of its development goes back to 1824.Records show that this acreage has changed in composition from dense forest, to farmland and grazing fields, to a reforested recreational area for the University. Past and present University leaders have shown their dedication to the environment and campus beautification through vast planting and reforesting projects on Pine Hill. Yet, the developmental history of this valued tract has not been reviewed in depth and an accurate map of the current Pine Hill has not been created. Due to the importance of this land to the University, an in-depth historical study of the management of Pine Hill would be an important tool to be used by current students and faculty. The new trail map and discoveries from this study will be presented.

Pine Hill is located on the east hillside in Alfred, New York, within Great Lots 14, 15, 23 and 24. The University segment of the hill runs on the east side of the University, along a north-south line on the crown of the hill, beginning at Hairpin Turn, and ending behind the President’s House. The remaining slope continues to the southern end of Pine Hill Drive. Pine Hill is valued as a resource by the community and University alike, yet little of its history has been recorded. Individuals are quite familiar with the site, yet a comprehensive picture of this hill has not been compiled. The objective of this study is to build a base of historical information about Pine Hill, showing how its history has been intertwined with campus and community life.

The history of Allegany County and the settlement of Alfred provides a background for the understanding of Pine Hill. Settlement of Alfred began in 1807 by Nathan and Edward Greene, and farms were established along the valley (see figure 1).Pine Hill’s development began when 100 acres was purchased from the Phelps and Gorham Land Company, by Maxson Green in 1824 (Norwood, "Evolution," date unknown). Green used the land for grain production and pastureland (Norwood, 1957). In 1846, when the University obtained this land through a series of deeds and purchases, the northern side of Pine Hill evolved with the growth of the University. s New buildings were carved into the hillside, and the grounds were sculpted to entice more young scholars to the University. Footpaths were established going over the hill, providing access to the University for individuals living in Railroad Valley and for those who owned farms on the south side of the hill. Some of these paths faded back into the hill through replanting efforts, while others have transformed into paved roads that exist today.

Trustees, former presidents and students have worked hard to preserve the forest resource on the hill, although there have been recent plans to develop the site by building fraternity houses and student accommodations. The site is often used by athletes, professors, hikers, bikers and community members, providing a safe, convenient area for students and faculty to enjoy the outdoors. The dual ownership of Pine Hill, with Alfred University on the north side and private residences on the south side, has allowed Pine Hill to be an evolving resource as the needs of the community have changed through time.

Much of the history of Pine Hill remains buried in oral histories within the community and this project only scratches the surface. However, here I paint a picture of Pine Hill as a village resource and as a cultural and integral part of Alfred University and the Alfred community.

"'Are the Pines There Now?' An Historical Study of Pine Hill" was written as an honors thesis by Kristin Sloane, Class of 2000.