Site 13 - Students Recall the Stack


“A towering symbol of Purdue's history, the smokestack was … Coming Down,” by Bridget McLaughlin, Debris 1990

“The smokestack's structure was both mysterious and friendly to the thousands of students who have come and gone. It's [sic] height and age did not matter but one bit of information that did seem important was the the ol' smokestack is coming down … but no one remembers exactly when. the smokestack carried a different meaning to each individual. Some view it as a safety hazard because of it's leaning, seemingly unstable structure. Other students here like the towering symbol of Purdue. The smokestack was the beacon of hope for many students that strayed far across the river. Young freshman are told that if they ever get lost to just "Head toward the smokestack." Still there were others that viewed the smokestack as a chance for newness at Purdue. When the present smokestack is torn down, plans exist to create a bell tower to replace it. When all this occurs, old, conservative Purdue will again have a sense of rebirth. Regardless of whether the smokestack physically exists, the smokestack was part of campus and carried a special meaning for some.”

“Spirits High At Game for Queen Crowning and Band” by Becky Boyd, Debris 1993

The night skyline was irrevocably changed during the summer session. The removal of the smokestack brought cries of protest from the students, faculty, and alumni. But down it came, never again to help a wayward student hope after a long night. There were promises of a new bell tower, but mourning for the smokestack continued. Students realized that not all change could be in their direction, but it often seemed that there was more negative change than positive. Working for reforms on campus often took most of the energy the student leaders had. Dedicated to their work, they were determined to achieve their goals. And even if it seemed useless, they kept plugging away at the bureaucracy, hoping to finally achieve what was hoped for across campus, a request finally heard.

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