The Old Quarry

May 26, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — At the far southeasterly corner of Penn State's Old Main lawn is a bowl-like depression in the earth, a grassy area off the beaten path with trees around it — the site of the limestone quarry from which the stones were cut to build the first Old Main.

Old Coaly and his brethren hauled the limestone blocks up the hill to the construction site from this quarry, located near the intersection of present-day College Avenue and Pugh Street.

The original Old Main, a five-story building, was completed in 1863. Some of these stones were re-used in construction of the current Old Main when it was built in 1930 on the same site as the original.

The area, later landscaped as a natural bowl, became an open-air theatre for pageants, plays, and ceremonies, including Class Day, usually held the day before commencement. First held in 1874, Class Day was an occasion for student oratory and recognition of scholastic achievements and included such traditions as class tree, class ivy, class song, class history and class prophecy, among others.

Today a granite monument, a gift from Penn State's class of 1911, marks the site. It bears a bronze plaque which reads: “From this spot was taken stone for Old Main 1857 Marked by Class of 1911”.

  • Granite monument on Old Quarry site, Old Main lawn, Penn State

    A granite monument, from the class of 1911, marks the Old Quarry site on the Old Main lawn at Penn State.

    IMAGE: Laura Waldhier

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 31, 2016