Mysterious stones stir up connection to the past

Lona Middleton
Copy Editor
lkemp@lhup.edu

 

know what this is
Photo courtesy of Joby Topper

Last week the Eagle Eye published a picture of a granite like stone that was egg shaped and ornate. It turns out that there is a very interesting and historical connection to the LHU campus and these large rounded stones. Joby Topper, the Director or Library and Information Services let me in on the history behind these sculptural details that are over 100 years old.

About a year ago, these two large stones were actually being overgrown with weeds and practically ignored outside the storage sheds on the grounds. The grounds crew, headed by Craig Rhoads as the Building Maintenance Foreman, discovered these oversized decorative stones and decided to move them to where people could see them. They were moved to outside the Thomas Field House and sat there for another year until someone else happened to notice them a few weeks back.

sullivan_arch_ornaments_1933
Photo courtesy of Joby Topper

The person who noticed them this time was Chris Offut, a Professor of Psychology here at LHU. She then brought the stones to the attention of Joby Topper believing that he may be interested in them and hoped maybe he could find out about them. Topper had previously done research into the history of some of the buildings on campus so it was a good supposition. He keenly noticed that the stones had a hint of purple in the rocks and remembered that Hummelstone brownstone shares that same characteristic. Since he had done research into the older buildings he knew that some of them had contained trim with this same type of brownstone. All he had to do now was locate some old pictures and try to match the ornate details to one of the buildings.

Fortunately for him, he found a picture rather early into his hunt that matched the stones. The old Sullivan Hall building that was taken down in the sixties had large pillars that contained the archway that is now on display beside the library. Above the archway at the base of the pillars were the same rounds that resembled chateauesque finials of the same time period as Sullivan Hall’s construction. Here he had found the connection between LHU and the mysterious stones.

The stones are still currently outside the Thomas Field house but it is unlikely that they will stay there for another fifty years as they had beside the storage shed. Topper and a few of us on the Eagle Eye staff believe that these historical stones should be moved to a place near the archway that they once accompanied. There are no plans as of yet to move them but it would be quite a shame if they were forgotten once again after the discovery of their connection to LHU. They are a part of the history of this campus and should be placed within the view of the current and future students.

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