Atlantic Union

There is (was) a small, private college, once well-known and  located in Lancaster, MA, called Atlantic Union College. The college lost accreditation, money, and funding. As a result, the institution layed off just about all of its staff, and stopped offering all academic offerings. Founded in 1882, the college was a Seventh Day Adventist institution. It still has a music conservatory that, strangely, offers education through the Thayer Performing Arts Center. The college is now attempting to reopen for Fall, 2012, as it is now affiliated with Washington Adventist University, with the goal of becoming one of their satellite campuses. To say things are a mess is an understatement.

Recently, as it is somewhat of a nice looking campus, and it was a great way to get out of the house, and take some photographs, I decided to “visit” the campus, and walk the public sidewalks in front of it. One of their buildings at one time was the home of Rev. Hamilton Edmund Sears, a former minister of The First Church of Christ, featured in my last blog entry. He also wrote the famed Christmas carol “It Came Upon The Midnight Clear”. So, the campus is clearly visible from the walkways and sidewalks of Lancaster, and the town was even kind enough to put up markers through its historical commission, so people can know what it is they are seeing. Seems like a perfect photographic subject.

Upon leaving, my car parked along the side of the street, I am approached by a gruff, aggressive man in an unmarked car, telling me this is private property. Which I did not violate by my little photowalk. I explained to him if there is something that can be seen from the street, or PUBLIC sidewalks, I have EVERY right to photograph it. Then he asked why I was doing so. I had to explain to him that this passion called photography is classified as a hobby. While I hardly think of my Canon Rebel G as a professional photographic tool, apparently anything ranked above a point and shoot here can get you into a confrontation. But it is possible I would not have been harassed and intimidated in such a way had I taken a more modest camera.

I wished him a good day, sarcastically, and moved on, after asking him if these folks treated all of their visitors with such warm hospitality. I also asked him if this was protocol, and suggested that maybe if they didn’t treat “visitors” with such venom, in part, their institution wouldn’t be in such shambles.

Anyways, here are the photographs. Because of this encounter, I will never revisit this area again, and just reading about, or seeing images of this sadly crumbling college, physically makes me ill. It is so sad. The war on photography, of course, wages on. Keep battling, and know your rights as a photographer. And, best of luck, Atlantic Union. You really do need it.

Atlantic Union College, Lancaster, MA

Atlantic Union College, Lancaster, MA

Marking where Rev. Edmund Hamilton Sears wrote the famed Christmas carol "It Came Across The Midnight Clear".

Marking where Rev. Edmund Hamilton Sears wrote the famed Christmas carol "It Came Across The Midnight Clear".

Historic hall.

Historic hall.

Loved the way the shadows from the trees cast across the brick of this hall.

Loved the way the shadows from the trees cast across the brick of this hall.

4 thoughts on “Atlantic Union

  1. As a recent graduate of Atlantic Union College and as a firm supporter of the same I want to apologize in behalf of the school for the rude way that you were treated. I thank you for the beautiful pictures that you took of our school and hope that you would consider coming back in the future.
    jeanette.rosich@gmail.com

  2. Mr. arthurpolaroid, I am appreciating your photographs of my beloved alma mater and thank you for posting them. During the time you took these photographs I lived on this campus with my family. Despite being well known for having done much volunteer work to improve some of the buildings on this campus, my 17 year old son was also treated very badly by a man gruff man who approached him in an unmarked vehicle. The fact was that the campus administration outsourced a security company to come and watch over the desolate campus. The more break-ins occurred and the worst people on campus were treated by “security”-even well known individuals to the campus. The security company was changed. This world is filled with brokenness and it is from our brokenness that we hurt those around us. We can be angry and bitter, or we can choose love and forgive in order to help heal the brokenness in each other. I am sorry that you too were hurt. I loved and identified with what Atlantic Union College stood for. Please forgive us for how you were treated. Have a great day!

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