(DePauw University photo)
Like The Duck and Marvin's, one of the unique DePauw landmarks near and dear to alumni hearts is the Columbian Boulder, located on the west side of historic East College in the middle of campus.
It was 119 years ago this week that the boulder rolled into the DPU campus.
Brought to campus on June 8, 1892, the boulder was placed near the main entrance to East College. At the urging of former Prof. John Clark Ridpath, it was put on display originally to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus' first voyage to the New World.
"The granite rock with prominent ridges of quartz dykes was discovered near Morton, about 12 miles northeast of Greencastle," writes the reference book DePauw: A Pictorial History. "Hiram Thomas moved it to his farm, fenced it in and charged visitors 10 cents apiece to view the 'petrified turtle.'"
Purchased by a few alumni, it was brought to Greencastle by the Monon Railroad and a 26-horse house-moving wagon, the book adds.
Over the years, the Columbian Boulder became a favorite gathering place on campus for couples meeting for chapel dates and honorary societies holding initiation rituals, as well as the more nefarious Boulder Runs.
In recent years, The Boulder seems to have lost its focal position on campus, except for a period in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the "streaking" craze arose. "The Boulder Run" featured fraternity pledges boldly scrambling around it in the nude and trotting back to their house.
Students today might execute a Boulder Run for a variety of reasons, but it was originally performed by Phi Kappa Psi, the nearest Greek house, the night of the first snowfall on campus. The tradition has even earned a mention in Playboy magazine.
Lesser known to alumni, current students and Greencastle residents alike is the first Boulder -- a pink-colored stone placed near the front of the building at its dedication in 1877 by that year's senior class.
Weighing 5,000 pounds and bearing the class motto in Greek, "Andrizometha" or "Let us be manly," it was procured from the property of Dr. A.C. Stevenson, the first president of the board of trustees of Asbury College. Today it remains rather inconspicuous alongside East College, its inscription barely visible.