Arboretum History

Arboretum History

The Campus that is Alive

As an ever-growing thread that connects the past and the present, the Arboretum carries the very essence of Northeastern’s evolution. From a concrete and barren landscape to a sprawling urban forest, the Arboretum became an integral part of a colossal undertaking to turn an urban commuter college into a well-established institution with a campus that is literally alive.


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A Transformation of Landscape Shaping Northeastern's Campus

In 1929, Northeastern University started it’s journey in becoming a 72 acre campus, by purchasing land on Huntington Avenue.  This was the first step of many that began the transformation of landscape shaping the Northeastern campus as we know it, creating  place of nature and tranquility within the city.


The modern era campus landscape development began in 1983 when the University started it’s transition from a predominantly commuter to a residential university.  Campus expansion and street closings in the 1990’s established the basic vocabulary for landscape materials and plantings.  Interior parking lots were eliminated and replaced with small park spaces and plantings.

1952 Main Quadrangle now know as “Krentzman Quad”
A campus of pavement, lawn, and few trees


Today, the defining features of the Arboretum landscape include, Collections integrated with the living spaces of the campus, creating An urban character.  A functional landscape providing critical ecosystem services, with a collection focused on trees and shrubs adapted to urban conditions in the temperate Northeast U.S.

Krentzman Quadrangle


Bulfinch Mall


Churchill Quandrangle

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