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Onward State Gets High at Old Main

In the last post from our View from Above series, we take you to the Old Main bell tower; a highest high point I am proud to cross off my Penn State bucket list. The reason why I call this the “highest high point” is because this is not the view you would see on the Lion Ambassador tour. This view is from within the actual bell tower — one level higher than people visit on tours — that took more of a struggle to climb than I expected.

The original Old Main was built in 1863, partially destroyed by a fire in 1892, torn down due to aging in 1929, and was rebuilt as the Old Main that we know now in 1930. With new editions such as a new clock and bell that sounds remotely similar to an electronic grandfather clock, there is no telling what Old Main will be like in the future. But since this building rests upon the same original footprint, incorporating some of its original limestone, Old Main will continue its name of being old.

For those of you who took advantage of the tours that were held this past Wednesday, there is that narrow staircase designed by skinny architects that leads to the platform. Right next to the opening of the platform is an iron ladder that blends into the brick wall. Now when I mentioned that the staircase was designed by skinny architects, this ladder was designed by anorexic skinny architects. Just imagine me, a girl who is occasionally described as a “twig,” climbing  an iron bar ladder, pressing my back against the wall and climbing up with no hands.

Once at the top of the ladder, there was a latched door with no ledge that assisted me through the door; a clear indication to why tours not are taken up this route. Unlike other rooftops I have climbed that slapped me in the face with a sudden blindness of sun or gust of gale-force winds, I was greeted by a kiss of a gentle breeze on the cheek with warm sunlight. Perhaps it was because I was within a bell tower instead of a vast rooftop, but regardless, this was by far my favorite rooftop.

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About the Author

Shawn Inglima

Penn State Alumni with a degree in Journalism and English. Currently an intern at the New York Daily News.

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