Caldwell Field Research Complex

Entrance to Caldwell Field Research Center

The Caldwell Field Research Complex is located just east of the Cornell Veterinary School and is the center of operations for field research conducted by Soil and Crop Sciences investigators. The soil here is Williamson fine sandy loams deposited as glacial till which is unique to this research site as compared to other Cornell farms. The area provides 10 acres within walking distance of central campus for educational demonstrations and research. This area includes a complex of buildings including Leland Laboratory which has offices for field technicians, space and equipment for handling supplies, seed and harvested material from field research, and a mechanical shop for equipment repair or modification. The area also includes Muenscher Laboratory which has lab facilities for wet-chemistry and a classroom. Drying ovens for plant material are located in an adjacent building, and field machinery is maintained and operated by the Farm Services unit of Cornell Experiment Station.

Two plant species collections are maintained at the complex for teaching: the Weed Garden, which is adjacent to Muenscher Lab, displays a diverse array of the most common and damaging weeds and poisonous plants, and the Crop Garden, which is on the north-eastern edge of Caldwell Field, displays the thirty most important crop plants of the world. Both have signs labeling the specimens and information brochures.

History

In 1903, land was acquired and named after George C. Caldwell, the first full-time professor hired by Cornell University in 1868 to work on agricultural chemistry. In 1956-57 a building left at the Sampson Naval base on Seneca Lake was purchased. The building became known as the "Gun Shed" with a greenhouse added shortly after. In 1967 the Gun Shed was destroyed by fire resulting in the loss of invaluable records, equipment and reference soil samples. In 1969-70 the current fieldhouse (Leland Lab), weed science laboratory (Muenscher Lab) and adjoining greenhouse were built, and named after Emmons W. Leland, the supervisor of Agronomy field experiments for 46 years, and Walter C. Muenscher, Professor in the College of Agriculture from 1921-1954 who worked on weed science for 38 years.