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Belfield was, of course, a farm for three centuries before La Salle bought it in 1984 (as the documents on the left and right show).


Photograph of the last Belfield cow, Bessie, the principal figure in one of the best Belfield stories.

About 4:30 A.M. on May 31, 1968 (the last day of the Spring semester), one or more students cownapped Bessie from the Belfield pasture, then led her up to the second floor of St. Bernard's Residence Hall. Later, a student on his way to the showers happened to notice a cow wandering up and down the corridor and knocked on the first-floor door of dormitory prefect Brother Patrick Ellis (later La Salle's president) to report his observation. Brother Patrick called the Belfield owners, and all three together and with difficulty coaxed Bessie down the steps. The unflappable Brother Patrick noted, "I might add that by 8 o'clock that morning the Lysol budget for the next fiscal year was completely exhausted."


Belfield was named a National Historic Landmark in 1966, and the then residents (Sarah Logan Wister Starr Blain and her husband Daniel) threw an elaborate party. After their deaths, La Salle in 1984 bought the Belfield property from their son. The house across the street from Wister Hall was, for the first time in over two centuries, no longer a home.

Comments or questions about this exhibit may be directed to James Butler, Director of Undergraduate Research (butler@lasalle.edu) If you're interested in purchasing a 300-year history of Belfield ($7.50, but $5.00 for students), please contact Dr. Butler.

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