Originally extending south to the bike path and set aside for "public or particular use" in the 1750s, the common area was used in the 19th century as a parade ground with pasture land draining into a large frog pond. During Amherst College commencement (in early August), the common was filled with vendors and peddlers as the entire Town celebrated the event. Cattle shows were held here, sponsored annually by the Hampshire Agricultural Society. By 1858, the Amherst ornamental Tree Association (founded in 1857) took control of the Common and, in consultation with the noted architect Frederick Law Olmsted, proceeded to redesign and replant the area in 1874. The Town now oversees the planting and maintenance of The Common, with the assistance of the Amherst Garden Club.
Often overlooked on the Common, is the unique drinking fountain for dogs. In 1904 the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Young Woman's Christian Temperance Union dedicated a drinking fountain for humans over the old town well. The purpose was to encourage people to drink water rather than liquor. On the back of this fountain can be found a granite drinking basin for dogs put there at the suggestion of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Forward along the Tour to the Allen House Inn