Towering Chapeau Is Tops at Westervelt Celebration

Diane Vreuls, (right) emeritus professor of creative writing, won first prize for her replica of the gleaming metal steeple recentlyerected atop the New Union Center for the Arts (formerly Westervelt Hall). The new tower duplicates the original spire long since dismantled. The Oberlin Histor-ical and Improvement Organization, the building's tenants, and the Oberlin Chamber of Commerce hosted the celebration.

In an all-hands-on-deck community celebration May 17, hundreds of parade participants turned out. Among the throng were the many inspired crazy-hat marchers, a kazoo band, a group of expert hand-bell ringers, and a seemingly endless stream of men and women dressed in authentic costumes of the 1870s, marking the original 1874 dedication of the school building. Jane and Eric Nord, representing the Nord Family Foundation that financed the renovation of the building, were chauffeured along the route in an antique, open-air touring car.

The new four-foot bell with its decorative finial of more than five feet rests on the roof at the base of the tower, and can be reached from within the building by a series of steep stairways and ladders through the attic--forty-four steps above the third floor. Visible day or night from almost every spot in the community, the bell is electronically operated and will toll at noon and at 6 pm each day.

Photograph by Kathleen Koshar
Courtesy of the Oberlin News-Tribune