From Woody's Couch

Our Playbook on OSU History

Category: Student organizations (page 1 of 8)

Orton Hall Chimes have struck the right chord with Buckeyes for 100 years

Orton Hall Bell Tower, 1995For 100 years, students making their way across the Oval have been serenaded by the Orton Hall Chimes – 12 bells that have become an integral part of the OSU experience for many in the University community. They were delivered to OSU on Feb. 11, 1915, after the classes of 1906, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’13, and ’14 banded together to purchase the bells for roughly $8,000. (The class of 1912, apparently a group of nonconformists, decided to donate a mantel piece to the Main Library).

The dozen bells, together weighing roughly 7 ½ tons and all tuned in D flat, were installed over the following weeks. According to a “Contract for Chimes” signed by the Board of Trustees with the manufacturer, the McShane Co., the bells were to be made out of Lake Superior copper (about three-quarters) and imported East India block tin, and they were guaranteed not to crack. At Commencement that year, the Chimes were officially dedicated, and also that year, a new organization called “The Chimes Club” formed to take charge of playing melodies at 11:50 a.m. and 4:50 p.m. daily. Chemistry Professor W.L. Evans noted at the time that it was “expected that the advent of the chimes will create a new interest in college music at OSU.”

Orton Chimes before installation, 1915

Orton Chimes before installation, 1915

A few years later, the classes of 1919 and 1920 purchased an automatic striker for the bells to mark the time of day, and by 1949, the bells were renovated and an electric clock device was installed so the Chimes would ring on the quarter hour and the full Westminster Quarters melody would play at the full hour.

Allen McManigal, 1920s

Allen McManigal, 1920s

Meanwhile, the twice-daily serenades were still done by hand. Four faculty members – including Evans – traded the duty of climbing the 80-some steps twice a day to play the serenades in the Chimes’ early history. Later, an engineering drawing professor, Allen McManigal, took charge of the Chimes, playing them himself or supervising music students to do so. His direction continued for more than 25 years until his death in 1950; later, Music Professor Wilbur Held, an organ music specialist, supervised students. In the 1960s, these students, called Chimes Masters, were paid $25 a week for the responsibility of making it to the top of the tower in time to play such songs as “June is Busting Out All Over” on especially dreary or snowy days. In addition, “Carmen Ohio” was played during the football season, as well as carols during the holidays.

After roughly 60 years of ringing, the chimes needed a little tune-up, so the Class of 1978, in conjunction with OSU, made a $28,000 repair to the bells in 1985. A year later, a more modern electrical system was installed to automate the serenades as well, although an electric keyboard also was installed, making it much easier and less laborious to play by hand.

Orton Hall bells, 1985By 2003, two new bells were installed, this time chiming at G sharp and A sharp. This $12,000 addition enabled the Chimes Masters to have much more a variety in songs to play, which was often a complaint made by students over the years. These new notes could now play songs like “America the Beautiful” and “The Buckeye Battle Cry.”

On Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015, the Ohio Staters, Inc., will host a 100th-anniversary celebration event at Orton Hall from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event will feature remarks by President Drake, refreshments, a display of related artifacts and tours of the tower. For more information go to the Staters’ Facebook page.

The Oval’s Long Walk has paved way for students for a century

University Hall, 1897

University Hall, 1897

It’s hard to imagine OSU without an Oval or a Long Walk, but it turns out that both of these were purely accidental when it came to the early shaping of the University’s design.

The layout of early campus actually followed that of an English Manor, with the manor house, (the original University Hall), on high ground and set back from the road. Access to High Street was by a path that ran diagonally across what is now the Oval to the site of Page Hall.

Early campus planning of the University did not include an Oval in the middle of campus, and certainly no “Long Walk.” But, in the early 1890s, as some of the first campus buildings were built in certain spots, it created a central green area. In 1893, a new master plan was proposed that created a layout for a “central open space around which buildings could be arranged, and which would not be crossed by any roads.” By 1901, this space had closely evolved into the shape of today’s Oval.

Oval, 1905

Oval, 1905

As buildings continued to go up, students began creating their own walking paths, trekking across the grass to their destinations. Their walking paths partly led to the current design of sidewalks, including the Long Walk.

Joseph N. Bradford, who became University Architect in 1911, was the next piece of the puzzle in the Long Walk’s creation. Bradford was committed to a formal arrangement of campus. In fact, the campus plan he created in early 1914 showed a very formal, geometric pattern of walks within the Oval. By the fall of 1914, the Long Walk was constructed.

Proposed map by Joseph Bradford

Proposed map by Joseph Bradford

However, the construction of the Long Walk did not seem to elicit the fanfare one might expect today from the media. A Lantern article dated September 15, 1914, includes a paragraph about the new walk in a story about two new buildings on campus:

Oval and the Long Walk, 1927

Oval and the Long Walk, 1927

“A broad walkway, of dark red cement has been built from the main entrance to the Library across the oval to the Fifteenth avenue entrance. Walks to the Chemistry building and to Orton Hall extend from it…..”

Not everyone on campus benefited from the Long Walk. In the 1920s and 1930s, freshmen were forbidden to use the Long Walk. The penalty for being caught on the path – which was enforced by the upper-classmen honorary Bucket and Dipper – was to be thrown in Mirror Lake.

In 1931, freshmen of the class of 1935 were in hot water after Bucket and Dipper members found the class emblem of 1935 painted all over the Long Walk. All of the freshmen suspected in the painting were told to report to the Oval every day at 12:30 p.m. for an hour’s worth of cleanup, until all of the painted numerals were gone.

Freshmen cleaning the Long Walk, 1931

Freshmen cleaning the Long Walk, 1931

One suspected freshman, who had been assigned the task of bringing buckets of water from Mirror Lake to the Long Walk for the cleanup, said “I’d rather carry the water from the lake than be tossed into it.”

Students, on their way to classes during the Long Walk cleanup, apparently gathered around to watch the freshmen at work. It was reported that up to 60 spectators were observing the action, while other freshman on the way to classes steered clear and avoided the scene altogether.

The Oval and the Long Walk have been home to many other student activities over the years. Check out our Oval gallery on Flickr to see how the campus spot has changed over the years.

For nearly a decade, OSU women said “I do” to Bridal Fairs

Women pose at the Ohio State University Bridal Fair, 1970s

Women pose at the Ohio State University Bridal Fair, 1970s

These days, couples who don’t have the energy to leave home can scour the Internet and cable TV for ideas on what to wear, eat and even dance at their weddings. Years ago, though, the only way to find out which fashions were in style and what kind of luggage to buy for the honeymoon were at bridal fairs. In the early 1960s, the events were popular on a number of college campuses; OSU held its first fair in 1966.

Sponsored by the Women’s Self Government Association and Bride and Home Magazine, hundreds of mostly hopeful co-eds attended the annual event, held at the Ohio Union. The fairs included displays of silver, china, crystal, linen, flowers, jewelry, cosmetics, men’s clothing, luggage, housewares, photography, gifts, and furniture. There were also usually two fashion shows held where OSU students would model different dresses and tuxedos, ranging from semi-formal to ultra-formal.  Each fair welcomed its attendees with a shopping bag filled with pamphlets regarding the merchants and displays as well as door prizes including a raffle for a honeymoon in New York City.

Crowd at bridal fair, 1972

Crowd at bridal fair, 1972

Each year brought a new theme for the Bridal Fairs, such as “April Showers Bring Wedding Flowers,” “Rings and Romance,” “White Lace and Promises,” and “We’ve Only Just Begun.” (Clearly, lyrics from songs by The Carpenters were helpful in creating these themes.) At the first fair, 650 students showed up, while 1,000 attended the following year. Attendance had hit 2,000 by 1969.

The fashions were always au courant: in 1970, for instance, the “in” look for bridesmaids were pastel culottes (garments that appear like skirts but are actually pants), with the brides wearing matching shades. And the events were definitely geared toward women – one male student who stopped by the Union to see what all the commotion was about told The Lantern he was mortified by all the fuss, and claimed that he decided that marriage was an expensive proposition.

Couple at bridal fair, 1973

Couple at bridal fair, 1973

But the organizers also appeared to ignore the then-widespread feminist movement:  A “mistress” urged girls at the fair to “be as feminine as they can if they want a husband.”  By 1971, though, protests over the event had started to occur. While nearly 4,500 attendants were expected that year, OSU’s Women’s Liberation group handed out pamphlets outside of the fair claiming it was “a tradition that should be dropped,” according to The Lantern. In 1972, more protests ensued, this time involving the Gay Activists Alliance as well as Women’s Liberation. Three women, dressed as a man, a bride and a house wife pushed a cake covered in Monopoly money through the fair.

The Bridal Fair tried to be more progressive, however, by inviting adoption agencies, counseling services, and Planned Parenthood to the events. By 1973, the fair also added a discussion panel about alternative lifestyles. But by 1974, the fair had been dropped. A representative of the Women’s Self Government Association told The Lantern in December 1973 that no event would be held the following spring because attendance had dwindled considerably from 1972, and it was becoming a hassle for WSGA to co-host the event.

– Filed by B.T.

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