After a week of rain and gloom, the weather finally improved and I found myself itching to get outside for a walk. Since University of Florida classes had ended for the semester I decided to head to the historic center of the campus.
I used to know this campus like the back of my hand since I spent almost ten years here as both an undergraduate and graduate student. I knew where many of the solitary spaces were hidden and where you could sneak up on beautiful birds in the winter.
As i continued to walk I remembered the isolated open corridor where I took refuge in the middle of the night after I had finally ended it with my high school boyfriend (via a long distance telephone call).
It happened to be graduation weekend and many university folks were hurrying to and from commencement ceremonies.
As a freshman I spent many hours in this building. It was almost brand new at the time. It's where I slipped and fell down a flight of stairs, got really lousy advice from a professor, and struggled with physical science. Funny, the little things you remember from the past.
I love this section of roadway. It's had a lovely canopy of trees as far back as I can remember. I can still see myself rushing across from the dorm at 7:25 AM, still not awake or ready to tackle American Institutions class.
Even when I was a freshman, this building had deep grooves in the interior stone stair-steps where so many feet had walked, and the department where some of my professors had offices was tucked way up under the roof, at the top of a rickety old wooden stairway. However, some of the most memorable history classes were taught in this wonderful old structure.
By the time I entered the University of Florida a new law school had been built. I had English class in this building and can remember the professor taking us outside to sit in the grass and read Tom Wolfe and Ken Kesey aloud. I thought I had entered the twilight zone. We certainly hadn't read Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test back in high school.
In the early spring of my first year at school, I watched as flames burned through the roofline of this beautiful old building, lighting up the sky for miles around.
Though my classes were located to elite science buildings on the other side of campus where I had no business otherwise, the university was able to salvage and restore much of Anderson Hall.
And this marvelous structure, which I know as Library East, has the most marvelous interior. It looks just like an old library should, with high ceilings, mahogany walls, and stone floors and stairways.
It was through these very doors that my roommate and I crept at 1:00 AM, when we realized the library had actually closed two hours earlier. We had been studying in a lounge area on the third floor and hadn't realized we were all alone until we opened the lounge door and found all the other lights had been turned out. I can still recall how creepy it was to grope our way down two flights of stairs in the dark, not knowing if we were going to set off an alarm.
Poor President Murphree, many pranksters have placed unusual objects in his outstretched palm over the years.
Though the University of Florida campus appears to be nearly deserted, the current student enrollment is almost 50,000.
This park-like area is known as the "Plaza of the Americas," and was the scene of student protests, Krishna lunches, and political forums when I was in school.
The twenty foot high sculpture by artist J. Seward Johnson Jr. Is called "Whispering Close," and was inspired by the painting "Dance in the City" by French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The sculpture has been in place for the last year, and I'm not sure if it is meant to be a permanent installation.
The year I turned twenty-one, the legal age at the time, I registered to vote in front of the next building, Library West.
Behind one of those windows at the top of Rawlings Hall is the dorm room where I spent my freshman year of college. Heaven and hell all in one. The difference I can see from looking at the outside is that they replaced the leaky windows and also added air conditioning. When I lived there we were either swelteringly hot, or freezing cold. Plus, I had a roommate whose middle name was "whiner." (Did you know that an accounting textbook, wedged between the door knob and the deadbolt, will deter a whiner of a roommate until she figures out the lock isn't really broken?)
This art installation has been in place for many years and is affectionately known as the French Fries From Hell.
Century Tower is a representative feature of the University of Florida campus. Groundbreaking for the carrilon tower began in 1953 as a memorial to students killed in World War I and World War II, as well as commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the University of Florida in 1853. The 157-foot-tall tower was completed in 1956. It was at the base of this tower that the penned alligator was kept until it was moved to Lake Alice as a result of student protests (see Sinkholes, Springs, and Waterways...)
Blue Trees is a public art exhibit by artist Konstantin Dimopoulos. It's meant to bring attention to the threat of deforestation. The color is made of a natural pigment and should degrade within 12 months.
The vegetation is different, but it's amazing how similar all of the architecture is to my own university, USC -- both the "historic" buildings and the later additions. I guess a lot of places try to copy how the Ivy League schools look because "that's how a university is supposed to look." Bricks seem to be a must. (I know that at USC, it's what makes it appear in so many movies disguised as a campus in the East.) I approve of the look, because it gives a certain solemnity to these places, which they would absolutely not have if they just looked like a big high school.
Naturally, I love the Deep South setting with all of the Spanish moss, oaks and all of the random scraggly trees that go with the area. Your squirrel is superb (but you know that) and the birds are great. I would expect that a snake must wander out from time to time to create a bit of squealing.
Anyway, thanks for this report, because it is a totally new subject that nobody has really covered here yet.!
Another real tour de force, I didn't realise American universities were not all modernistic concrete and glass. That one could rival Cambridge. When yo put that you knew all the hidden places, where you could sneak up on "birds"' I wondered what revelations you would regale us with ;D Many thanks
Man is not lost, only temporarily uncertain of his position
Nice campus, htmb. I like the brick buildings -- they make for a warm atmosphere. The university I went to was mostly stone (and concrete for the later buildings) -- I think they were trying to imitate an old English university.
Thank you Kerouac, Mossie, and BJD. Here's a bit of the history of the architectural style:
Characteristics of the Collegiate Gothic Style
The term Collegiate Gothic derives from Gothic Revival, an architectural style inspired by medieval Gothic architecture. Beginning in the mid-18th century, Gothic Revival became a leading building style during the 19th century and was often employed because of its moral overtones for academic, political, and religious buildings.
A lovely and surprising report. As mentioned earlier, no one has thought to cover this subject before. It certainly brought back memories for me, as I went to college in deepest sw Louisiana, on a campus that features a cypress lake. Feckless child that I was, I only remember lots of venerable red brick, but nothing specific about the style.*
It's a real treat to see the plants I know and love from the southeastern United States. The firecracker plant (Russelia equisetiformis)with cream-colored flowers is a new one for me, though.
The fact that the entire campus essentially serves as a wildlife refuge is both refreshing and beautiful. Love your wonderful pictures of furry and feathered friends
*For those of you dying to buy me a present, please use your $100 for something else. I don't really need a brick from
LAFAYETTE — Women who attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and called the Rose Garden home can buy a piece of the demolished dormitory
A limited number of commemorative bricks from Evangeline Hall, Baker-Huger Hall and Bonin Hall are available for $100.
The older dorms are being demolished to make way for new student housing.
Baker-Huger Hall and Evangeline Hall no longer stand.
Demolition crews continued taking down Bonin Hall on Monday; the work should be complete within the next two weeks, said William Crist, ULL facility management director. ... Proceeds from the brick sales will be designated for supplies for the new residence halls such as microwaves, furniture or other needs, Comeaux said.
The three older dorms are being replaced by two new buildings capable of housing 882 students. ... The new buildings are a change from traditional dorms with single- or double-occupancy rooms and communal bathrooms.
The new halls offer students choices of semi-private suites each with its own bathroom and kitchenette area. ...
It's graduation time again in Gainesville. This weekend we will be visited by an onslaught of relatives, here to attend graduation ceremonies. The better restaurants will be crowded as families celebrate graduations, but just as suddenly the town will get quite as many students head home for the summer. For a week traffic around the university areas will be less congested, before we will move into the slightly calmer pattern of the summer semesters.