Lukas Murdock ∙
ToC kinda spoils the fun. Click for spoilers.
We’ll be leaving in just a few minutes, as long as the weather holds…
I hope you’ll wander, rove, saunter, roam, potter, stroll…
But I hope you don’t plan on walking around with your computer open…
Like all stories, all journeys have a start. A start of utmost importance.
As we know, it’s about the journey, not the destination.
And one can think of life as a series of beginnings…
…beginnings that define, at least for some time, how we experience a part of the journey.
So let us begin the prelude, you and I, preceding and preparing for the principal matter.
Let us stand up from these tired seats of ours and take a journey.
Yes, I meant it. Put on your shoes and dress and head out the door.
You weren’t created to huddle under the blankets and stay warm.
Where are we going, you ask?
Western Campus. Now quick, there’s no more time to explain!
I’m here to escort you on this journey.
I wandered around Western Campus before class one afternoon. We’re going to go on a new wander, together!
Have you dressed yet?
It will be a pleasant journey. I promise.
Have you left yet?
I would like our journey to start by wandering towards Patterson Place. No, not Patterson’s Cafe.
Patterson Place located next to the Western Dining Commons. And there’s a lovely little path called Slant Walk that crosses S Patterson Ave to get there.
On the way there, take notice of things you’ve always left unnoticed. Trace the outlines of various houses, trees, and objects. See it for what it really is.
Look at it to understand what need it fulfills and in what kind of world.
Go on. Don’t be afraid to be alone with yourself now.
Oh, and do try to smile and wave to those you pass!
Bring your attention back to noticing. How long was it supposed to last?
Keep noticing until we arrive.
Ah, have we arrived?
Patterson Place. Home to Ol’ James over 100 years ago; now home to Patterson Place Museum.
Take a moment to walk around…
…and, oh! It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.
Did you find a good place to peruse through the brochure?
From “romantic ruin” to a summer home, to a home, to a museum. What’s next? How long might this one last?
Let us take the next step. Follow the path south; towards the bridge across Western Dining Hall.
What an incredibly skinny bridge–I guess that’s why they call it a footbridge, eh?
It seems this path is part of what is known as Slant Walk and goes from Peabody to the Uptown gates.
Continue straight until you reach the sidewalk built on one side of the road (or flex your ability to not follow norms by walking in the grass).
One of Thomas Hasting’s final builds, the final cost of Kumler Chapel was never revealed…
…and the total cost was divided between the Kumler sisters and the architect.
Now a venue for church services, weddings, and our attention.
Alongside Kumler Chapel we’ll find…
Freedom Summer Historical Marker and Memorial Amphitheater
Find the Ohio Historical Marker sign and read about Freedom Summer.In what was called the "Freedom Summer" of 1964, more than 800 volunteers, most of them college students, gathered at the Western College for Women (now Western Campus of Miami University) to prepare for African-American voter registration in the South. Three of the volunteers - James Chaney of Mississippi, and Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner of New York - disappeared on June 21, 1964, in rural Mississippi mere days after leaving Oxford, Ohio. Their bodies were discovered forty-four days later, buried in an earthen dam. Ku Klux Klan members were later convicted on federal conspiracy charges. Erected in 1999, this outdoor amphitheater is a memorial to the slain activists, other volunteers, and ideals of the Freedom Summer movement. (Ohio Bi-Centennial logo)
We like to think we’ve come so much farther, so far away from here…
But that’s not the point; the important thing is to do better, to keep moving ahead, to take one more step forward.
So, let us take our next step. I hope that path piqued your interest; we’ll be coming back to it in a bit.
But first, I’ll have to ask you to turn around and walk straight.
Once known as Seminary Hall–a college that prepares students to be priests, ministers, or rabbis. Does this building look different to you?
That’s because this beauty burned down in 1860. Of course…
…we rebuilt it. And renamed the building after the first head of Western College. And we built the building stronger now, so that a fire wouldn’t collapse the building…
…which left some of the bricks standing after another fire destroyed it in 1871.
This was the first building constructed on the Western Seminary campus.
It was used to house administrative offices, dorm rooms and the dining hall.
One of few residential buildings here still used for its original purposes. How long might this one last?
Remember when we started, I mentioned this path, Slant Walk goes from Peabody to the Uptown gates.
We’re going to head behind Peabody Hall. Follow the road down the left side of Peabody and down the hill.
Yes, the sidewalk ends. Continue going straight down the road until you reach…
Ernst Nature Theater
I actually didn’t know this place existed until now… It’s tucked so far away.
A gift from a senator; a gift indeed. The first play was in 1922; I wonder when the last play was…
When you’re ready to continue, walk up the path towards…
Sawyer Hall / Gymnasium
Cozied up right next to the team plant and western maintenance building is Sawyer Hall / Gymnasium. Named after then acting president Mary Alma Sawyer in 1914.
“Sawyer Gym included a small pool in the basement, a basketball court on the main floor, and…
…a raised track around the basketball court.” (Miami Recreation)
Miami hosts a gymnastics program here. And birthday parties!
And it’s right next to…
Steam Plant and Maintenance Building
Where coal and natural gas go to charge the device you hold.
Miami spent $17 million on it in 2007 to comply with the EPA Clean Air Act!
Take a moment to peruse through this complimentary brochure. In particular, check out the the “steam plant history” and “the steam plant” sections.
By 2025, Miami aims to be coal-free. How long might this place last?
Continue walking around this non-pedestrian road until we reach…
Ah, a truly quaint cottage. What a lovely scene.
A mere $60 and this place could be ours! (Must be 21 or older to rent though.)
Maximum occupancy is 40! Now that’s a party.
You may have noticed a few disc golf baskets by now. Miami hosts a full 18 hole disc golf course on Western Campus.
The path on the left side of the lodge is host to some Western Woods trails I’ve yet to travel.
Now, mosey on back up that hill, completing the circle around Peabody.
When I first visited campus, I thought those street banners had a lovely design…
Now that I’m here, they annoy me. “I’m already here; stop trying to sell me!”
Molyneaux-Western Bell Tower
Miami loves their bell towers.
Take a moment to read the plaque about the different inscriptions of each of the fourteen bells.Each of the fourteen bells of the Molyneaux-Western Bell Tower has a different inscription. First Bell: "This chime of eleven bells is given to The Western College for Women by Elizabeth McCullough Heath, a member of the Class of 1884, and is dedicated to the glory of God through the development of Christian women." Second Bell: "Let knowledge grow from more to more, but more of reverence is us dwell; that mind and soul, according to well, may make one music as before." Third Bell: "Ring out the false, ring in the true." Fourth Bell: "Ring out the feud of rich and poor, ring in redress to all mankind." Fifth Bell: "Ring in the nobler modes of life, with sweeter manners, purer laws." Sixth Bell: "Ring out the old, ring in the new." Seventh Bell: "Ring in the love of truth and right, ring in the common love of God." Eighth Bell: "Ring out the thousand wars of old, ring in the thousand years of peace." Ninth Bell: "Ring in the valiant man and free, the larger heart, the kindlier hand." Tenth Bell: "Ring out the darkness of the land, ring in the Christ that is to be." Eleventh Bell: "One God, one law, one element, and one far-off divine event, to which the whole Creation moves." Twelfth Bell: "Ring out the winds of remembering." Thirteenth Bell: "Bells of the past, whose long forgotten music still finds the wide expanse." Fourteenth Bell: "Bells that sing heaven's praise with such an earthly tongue.
Remember the intriguing path by the Freedom Summer Memorial? It’s time to take it.
Walk down the hill and find your way to…
A man-made pond home to two swans donated to Miami University.
The bridge over the pond was designed and built by Cephas Burns, the man behind pedestrian bridges here at Miami.
Cephas Burns used stone to replace poor and unstable wooden bridges. And he selected all stones from local creeks and quarries.
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Continue across the bridge and up the stairs.
After the stairs, continue along the path, or choose to walk along the tree line to the right.
I truly hope you’ve had a pleasant wander.
Google tells me that this walk should take around 21 minutes. I hope you were able to at least triple that time by slowing down to absorb the beauty of the landscape.
Beauty doesn’t have to be grand, luxurious or expensive. It is a question of what moves you.
Beauty must be searched for. But search and you shall find. No matter how ordinary it seems, there is always something, no matter how seemingly small. You must train your attention.
“It is characteristic of a great soul to scorn great things and prefer what is ordinary” – Seneca
And while I’ve guided your steps today, it’s time to let you go. I hope you begin to see the imbibing of beauty as an essential part of your life.
The last stop on this journey together is where the sidewalk ends.
“There is a place where the sidewalk ends And before the street begins, And there the grass grows soft and white, And there the sun burns crimson bright, And there the moon-bird rests from his flight To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black And the dark street winds and bends. Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow, And watch where the chalk-white arrows go To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow, And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go, For the children, they mark, and the children, they know The place where the sidewalk ends.”
Now scuttle along back to your cave.
Oh, and in case I don’t see you, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.
Special thanks to Old Book Illustrations for all these lovely woodcuts and metal engravings. Also to the Miami University Special Collections & Archives for the historical images of Miami.