As you walk across campus, do you notice things around you like a carved detail on the side of a building or an old wooden bench? As you cross Front Street after class to go to lunch do you notice the arches you raced through to catch up with your friends who are crossing the street? I did, and I took it upon myself to write down my views. The set of archways on Front Street were always something I overlooked. I found out they were donated by the classes of 1930 and 1923 as gifts to this incredible campus.
I, being a day student, have probably walked through those arches one million times over the years, but I had never stopped to think about what they really represent. I wondered to myself when observing them, why did the classes of ’23 and ’30 think these archways would be a good addition to this campus, and why here? As a kid I knew them as meeting places or boundary lines for where not to cross when playing outside after dinner. I never really considered that maybe they had more purpose.
They sit right in the middle of campus, which is why my best guess is that they are meant to represent the crossing from the North side of campus to the South, or vice versa. To me North Side is the academic side. As far as I know, classes are mainly held on the North. North has The Academy Building, The Phelps Science Center and Phillips Hall, the main academic facilities on campus. South has the athletic facilities, many dorms, the beautiful library and more. I consider crossing between those arches a metaphor for bridging the gap between these two sides. I think they very subtly can bring together the campus as a whole while each side still maintains its purpose. These arches, like many other small elements of architecture sprinkled around campus really add to the beauty and meaning of this school and the town of Exeter. So, next time you walk through them, ask yourself why you think they have a place here at Exeter.