The land surrounding the Dimple was once part of a farm owned by Judge Laban Wheaton. Until 1905, a large barn and several elm trees stood in a natural depression in the ground. During construction of Emerson Dining Hall in 1908, plans included a reflecting pool in this depression.
Although the idea for a reflecting pool was rejected, the area did flood occasionally, and students rowed boats in the Dimple in the summer and enjoyed ice skating in the winter. When the Chapel was built in 1917, fill from the Dimple was used in its construction, thus expanding the size of the Dimple. It was not until 1920 that the Dimple received its official name.