Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Jet

The Collegiate Restaurant, more often referred to, as “The Jet” is a significant landmark for many Alfred locals and students. It was first founded in 1924; 20 years later, John and Angie Ninos bought it in 1949. Currently the restaurant is owned and operated by their son, John Jr. and his wife Chelly. The original building was severely damaged by smoke and water as a result of a recent fire on 3 N. Main Street. For over 85 years “The Jet” has been familiar place for Alfred residents to relax and enjoy. A place for students to unwind with a 50-cent cup of bottomless coffee. The Ninos family knew they had to act quickly to restore this wonderful atmosphere.

“The inside of the building is going to look almost identical to how The Jet was,” said Ninos. The interior of “The Jet” is unique and exciting. Holding on to collections from Alfred past, Greek paddles from fraternities and sororities line the walls. Many return to find their names engraved on these lasting monuments. The setting is simple and gives you the feel of an old-fashioned diner. A welcome laid-back aura fills the air for all to enjoy.

It has been deiced to reopen the restaurant in a new location providing many improvements to the previous hotspot. Its new home will sit at 31 N. Main Street. Mid-January construction began on the new building. Ninos reported around 20 contractors would be working to complete the job as soon as possible. He is in hopes for a grand re-opening around Hot Dog Day!

Excitement grows as “the location change allows for greater seating capacity and estimates that his new restaurant will be able to serve 125 people. The Jet was only 16 feet wide and the new location will be 34 feet wide. The eatery will also have three entrances, a handicapped ramp with outside heating, a summer outdoor dinning area with a overhead foyer, and a completely state-of-the-art kitchen.”



Head, Justin. “Alfred’s ‘The Jet’ changing locations, getting makeover.” The Evening Tribune January 21, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

South Hall

South Hall is a building with a lot of history. It's funny because so much has happened to this building and it was such an integral part of the town. Now it lays abandoned and boarded up encased in vegetation.

The first South Hall at Alfred was built in 1845 and "was used as a women’s residence hall, chapel, and classrooms. It was destroyed by fire in 1858."(Herrick)

The current South Wall was built in 1908, and was formerly a grammar school. This is because Kanakedea Hall, which used to be the Alfred grammar school, caught fire in 1907. The town then handed over Kanakedea Hall to the school in exchange for the plot of land that South Hall is on.(Cramer)

In 1929 addittions were done to South Hall allowing it to accomodate more students and serve as the women's gymnasium turning South Hall into a 22,000 sq. ft. structure. "South Hall remained the Alfred Central School until 1940, when Alfred and Almond combined school districts. It was in 1941 that Alfred University bought South Hall back from the town for a price of less than $11,000. The University turned South Hall into classrooms for business administration, social sciences and education.After WWII, the basement of South Hall was used for military research of ceramics for rockets and jet propulsion. "(Cramer)

In 1976 Alfred University cleared out South Hall and handed it over to the Alleghany County Association for Retarded Citizens. There they provided jobs for the mentally disabled until 1987.(Cramer)

South Hall remained empty from 1987 until 1993 while Powell Campus Center was being built, South Hall acted as the Campus center as well as an exhibition space for the School of Art and Design until Powell's completion.(Cramer)

"In 1994, South Hall was set to be demolished so that the plot of land could be turned into a ceramics museum."(Cramer) It was decided that it would be torn down however the date for the demolition got postponed. Then the "The Village board learned that they did not have permission from the National Historic Trust to demolish the building. Because it was built in 1904, it is considered a historic building; in fact, it is the largest structure in Alfred’s historic district."(Cramer)

The University decided to keep South Hall and try to find alternative uses for it. In 1995 it would have roughly cost about 3 million to renovate and it was decided to let sit. "Former president Edward Coll predicted that the roof would collapse in 4 years, and then the building would have to be condemned.

Almost 15 years later, the roof is still in one piece. "(Cramer)

"A press release 10 years later, in April 2005, by current President Charles Edmondson, stated that South Hall would be turned into a 90-bedroom residence hall, which would be completed in the Fall 2006. Over half of the money to transform the building came from a gift from Arthur and Lea Powell. The press release stated that the building “will be converted into paired bedrooms with a shared bathroom between them." "(Cramer)

In 2007 the cost to fix South Hall skyrocketed to about 8-10 million and the renovations were halted.

Now it stands hidden from view. With no real use for it most people don't pay any attention to it and some don't even know what it is. It is a major part of the history of Alfred having been part of so many things over the last century.

To be Continued and fixed repeatedly -

Copyright © Herrick Memorial Library at Alfred University "South Hall (first)"

Ian Cramer, "
South Hall: A campus building in Limbo" Copyright © 2010, The Fiat Lux.

Davis Gym

Davis Gym was built in the 1920s on Alfred University's campus to provide students and faculty with a facility for exercise and sporting. The university named the gym after Reverend Boothe Colwell Davis ("Campus Map: Davis Gym"), a former pastor of a local church and president of the school in the late 19th century ("Boothe C. Davis"). However, Davis is no longer the main gymnasium on campus. It is currently used for athletic training and other unrelated events, such as concerts, art installations, and even dance pieces. The more recent gymnasium, McLane Center which was built in the 1970s ("AU's South Hall..."), houses a pool as well as a larger court area and workout room. Because the space is not in high demand, the upkeep of Davis is no longer a large priority; it is becoming more and more run down with time.

Davis was built during a time when personal enjoyment and love of the body were a growing part of the American ideal. Physical fitness was used as a means of self-satisfaction and pleasure rather than for health reasons (Grover 20). This in turn, fueled the changes in sexual freedom and promiscuity that ran rampant throughout the twenties and thirties (Grover 27). Donald J. Mrozek writes, "...the sensory of fulfillment in sport loomed important -- the physical, the sexual, and the sensual all increasingly confused." Along with the love of the body, cleanliness and presentability became increasingly important (Grover 32). Advertisers rallied for the attention of consumers, feeding off of their desires for flawlessness to promote their products.The development of national advertising and brand names could only help this effort (Grover 50). The transition in ideals during this time "from puritanism to hedonism," from spiritual to physical was not an easy one for the conservative and religious (Grover 49). The growing interest in the present, the immediate, and the earthly over a desire for the next life, a higher purpose, and the goal of spiritual immortality was difficult to combat. Considering that the village of Alfred has remained a more conservative community and was established in a religious context, I would suggest that naming the gymnasium after an upstanding religious and scholarly leader, Reverend Davis, was an effort of the university to promote sport and athletics in a less indulgent light and to set an example of someone with more virtuous and modest ideals.

The building itself consists of two stories, yet has a low, horizontal emphasis. The roof is slightly arched and supported by wooden framework. The gym, like many buildings in Alfred, has a brick exterior, which helps connect it aesthetically if not architecturally to other community buildings. Brick and clay have been used in Alfred since the very beginning of the 20th century with the establishment of the Celadon Company (Bouck), so the choice to use brick may have been an effort of the architect to connect the gym back to an earlier time. Outside the gym, there are two stone benches, each the shape of a quarter octagon, backed with a low brick wall. As you approach the gym, the benches serve to lead your eye and body inwards. On the brick walls are two lampposts on on each end of the benches. One can imagine that these benches provided seating for athletes listening to a coach's lecture or a resting place for tired trainers. Inside, there is a large wooden staircase with two traffic ways leading down to the lower level. The lower level is partially in ground, contributing to the gym seeming shorter than it actually is. This level consists of a basketball court surrounded by a small, banked running track. Unlike modern tracks that are usually made of plastic or rubber turf, this track is made of wood, and it is one of the last of its kind (Biemiller). It is banked to allow for runners to maintain their speed. The second floor houses rusty showers and old classroom settings, no longer used for their original purposes.

Davis gym has become an obsolete space. The interior is very rundown, and the exterior is being overtaken by natural forces. There have been recent plans to tear it down and put another building in its place, such as a ceramic museum or possibly another gym or training space. This demonstrates the desire of the university to use their space efficiently. However, there are some people that are interested in preserving the building because of the rare wooden track, its weathered aesthetic, and the variety of activities it has potential to house. Regardless of what happens to Davis, it is interesting to look back and note the possible reasons for and ideas behind building it in the first place.


"AU's South Hall: new use for historic building." Alfred University. 28 April 2005. 21 Feb 2010. < id="2743">.

Biemiller, Lawrence. "An Old Gym at Alfred U. Houses a Rare Wooden Running Track." The Chronicle of Higher Education. 12 Dec. 2008. 14 Feb. 2010. .

"Boothe C. Davis" Herrick Memorial Library at Alfred University. 14 Feb. 2010 .

Bouck, Warren L. M.D. "The Celadon Terra Cotta Co." Herrick Memorial Library at Alfred University. 21 Feb. 2010. .

"Campus Map: Davis Gym." Alfred University. 14 Feb. 2010 .

Grover, Kathryn, ed. Fitness in American Culture: Images of Health, Sport, and the Body, 1830-1940. Rochester: The Margaret Woodbury Museum, 1989.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Gallery, 40 North Main Street

The building at 40 North Main Street was constructed sometime in the 1830’s and was occupied by the Woolworth and Sadler families for many years. The house was then owned by Darwin Maxson, an abolitionist and professor at both Alfred Academy and Alfred University at various times between 1849 and 1862. The house became a station on the Underground Railroad where slaves were hidden until a route to freedom could be arranged for them.

In 1955, Glidden Parker purchased the property and opened Glidden Galleries. The shop, which was originally started on the basis of pottery, quickly expanded to gifts and decorative accessories from local craftsmen and from around the world.

In 1972, Karney R. Cochran purchased the property. His daughter renamed it The Gallery, and operated the business for 6 years until E.W. Crandall & Son, Inc. purchased it in 1978. Faith Palmer, Vice President of E.W. Crandall & Son, Inc., took over full responsibility of The Gallery in 1979. Since that time, the second floor, which had previously housed an apartment, was renovated to allow for additional selling space and a spiral staircase was added to allow access to that space. Faith Palmer owned the shop until recently.

The property at 40 North Main Street in Alfred is currently in a transition state. The Gallery gift shop, most recently managed by Amanda Burns, has recently closed its doors after 37 years.

(to be continued)

Work Cited

The Alfred Historical Society and Baker’s Bridge Association. History of Alfred, New York. Dallas: Curtis Media Corporation, 1990.

The Welcome Center (At the Fasano House)

When I first visited Alfred as one of my prospective schools, i though how nice the welcome center was. The big yellow house with the brown molding and the grey roof, it had a big orange sign in front stating that it was the "Alfred University Welcome Center". I found out shortly after that though however, that wasn't the welcome center and for the past two years i have wondered what purpose it even serves other than to look appealing to visitors.

The house on 71 North Main Street was originally built as a private home for the Burdick family. William C. Burdick who was born in Alfred himself was well known for being the successful owner to the Allegany Cheese Company. Burdick and his second wife Amanda Crandall Prescott were both former students of Alfred Academy and both spent time on the Alfred University board of trustee's. After they had passed away, their daughter, Susan M. Burdick sold the house to the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity in 1922.

During World War II, the University and the Fraternity made arrangements to use the house as a women's hall, where nurses corps could be established. After that the fraternity continued to reside their. Two fires, one in 1936 and one in 1981 caused extensive damage to the house, but repairs were worthy considering the houses history.

When Alfred University stopped recognizing Greek life in 2002, Delta Sigma Phi turned the house over to the University in order to preserve it as a historical landmark in Alfred. It served 80 years as a frat house and a home to many alumni and members of the board of trustee's.

Alumni of the fraternity contributed more than half of the total needed to renovate the house. It was dedicated to members Joseph, Ann and their late son Patrick Fasano. Nationally recognized architect Elizabeth Corbin Murphy worked with interior designed Vivian Hyde to reassemble intricate woodwork, stained glass and wall ornamentation that had been there before the fires.

The house has been restored to its original Victorian masterpiece as accurately as possible and is now the Alfred University Welcome center. Even if you have never been inside this building, looking at its architecture and intricate details can defiantly give you an idea of the pride Alfred has in its history. I think the money to restore this building was well spent, it contains a lot of history and culture and much can be learned from its design.

Tinkertown Hardware

If you are a student in the village of Alfred, the chances are that you have driven past Tinkertown Hardware, and if you are an art student or engineer the chances that you have had to purchase something from the store are even greater.

Sometime around 1880, Alfred's hardware business started. From that time on, luck was not on that side. The business was operated by Burdick and Greene. However a fire destroyed that building and partnership. Burdick moved the company to a different location beginning in 1883. After Burdick passed, the company was operated by his widow and son, after that, the Cottrell family ran it for a few years until it was passed on to E.E. Fenner around 1909.

From there, the hardware business finally had a change of pace. The business flourished with Mr. Fenner in charge. He began selling car parts as well as farm machinery. During this time, cars were very rare and just coming into the industry but when they became more popularized, Fenner was the first to open a gas pump on Main Street. Much of his business also came from the tin shop, where he manufactures supplies for maple season as well as installed tin roofs, many of which have survived 70 years.

In 1928 Mr. Fenner sold the business to Reuben A. Armstrong, who then sold it to the Butts family, who, with the help of their sons moved the business to its current location on route 244 between Alfred and Alfred station. Along with the new location came a new name, it changed from "Stanlee Hardware" to what we all know it as today, "Tinkertown Hardware". After the business was purchase by the Butts' son-in-law, Robert Vol, both wholesalers in which the business dealt with got into financial trouble and one even went bankrupt. As a consequence, the Hardware store became a part of Hardware Wholesalers Inc. (HWI) in 1986.

Today, Tinkertown is still a wholesome family business with a great deal of history . They now sell any kind of hardware as well as wood and household items. Although the hardware business had its struggles, it has found a successful way to serve as the top hardware store in the town of Alfred New York.

Off-Campus living: Going from the easy living Brick to crazy living at Four Park Street

For two years, I lived in the Brick, mostly by myself after two roommates left. It was awesome; all I had to worry about was going to class and laundry. By the end of my junior year, I decided to move out of the dorms off campus with my two best friends, Martin and Tom. I figured after my bad luck with living with girls, how bad could boys be? After being wait-listed, we finally were accepted to live in one of the nicest places we’d seen, Four Park Street. Little to my surprise did I know what I was in for.

Four Park Street is a little yellow house next to Kruson and across the street from the Saxon Inn, in the town of Alfred, New York. Little is known about the history of the house, but for years its been rented to Alfred University students through Lang Agency.

I was really excited to live in such a cute house, with Martin and Tom who was now my boyfriend. The best thing about the house is it’s both on campus and off at the same time. It’s a 5 to 10 minute walk to most of the important places such as classroom buildings and Main Street. Also, the house is only a three-minute drive from the Bromeley- Daggett Equestrian Center. (If you can, take Draft horses, it was such a fun class) Originally a one family home, the wooden house was eventually made into two apartments with a basement and attic. Each apartment has a kitchen, a bathroom, two bedrooms and a living room. Both apartment renters share the driveway. The downstairs apartment is more finished, has a huge deck, and is bigger then the upstairs. The upstairs has a sweet side porch with a barbeque and use of the washer and dryer in the basement. The back of the house looks down at the Kanakadea stream that runs through Alfred, and is nice to look at in the mornings while drinking some warm tea. There’s a litter of cats that lives behind our house under the deck and a skunk that lives under front porch. During the winter you can see little footprints in the snow, its really cute except when they rip open our garbage looking for food. Late at night, we can spot deer from the windows, in groups of three or more.

One day while exploring the basement I discover lost art forgotten by many art students lived at this house. There are countless plaster molds, paintings and clay sculptures. We transformed the basement into a studio space Fall 09'. Both Martin and Tom use the basement to make their anti-art works, in both metal and clay. Martin wraps clay in paper and shoots it asking the question; can violence be beautiful? While Tom is also known for shooting his work, he is know for his metal work which was sent to a gallery in Albany this January 10’. I’m currently working on my senior show installation. Working in my own comfortable space has really sparked my creative side. I feel like so much creative juice was left here from previous art students, it’s helped me in my journey as an artist.

Since the house is rented to new people every year, not a lot of money has gone into fixing the place up. The walls are stained with water damage, but I cover them with artwork and posters. The apartment is always cold and the water takes a while to heat up. I hate being cold. The apartments are both lightly furnished; renters must get their own beds and living room furniture. A lot of furniture was found or bought by the boys before I even got there. I spent my summer looking for mattress that was cheap yet comfortable; I went crazy over this mattress. I finally got one from Wal-Mart that came 4 weeks after school started. I was sleeping on the living room floor until if came. The box spring I bought broke after two weeks and I had to resort to getting a hand-me-down one at the Salvation Army. It seemed living off campus was not as great as I though.

I found out to live in an off-campus house one has a lot of growing up to do. From studying, writing papers, reading art history books, studying for tests, making work for two studios, to doing laundry, cooking and cleaning after 2 boys who couldn’t care less about whether or not mold is growing on dirty dishes, or the garbage overflowing to the floor. I am also working a job to pay the rent and bills, keeping up with and putting gas in my car, food, and stuff you’d never think of living on your own like toilet paper and hand soap or forgetting to put the garbage out.

After living in the dorms I thought living on my own would be a piece of cake. I really wasn’t prepared for what was in-store for me when I left the dorms. I’m constantly sick from being cold. I really took for granted what is really offered in the dorms. I crave clean bathrooms, heat, and quite. This has put stress on me and my relationships with both Martin and Tom.

Before living off campus, you should really take into consideration every little detail of what one must do to not only keep up with your work but the things you have to do to keep up with a rented house life. That said I would do it all again because it’s prepared me for the future when I move out of my parents house and go out on my own.

Side-note: The house is omitted from the Alfred University map because it is not university owned. I feel like it should be included because it’s a beautiful house and because it has a personality not only in the way if looks but the people who have lived here during the years really show the true colors of art and Alfred.

WALF 89.7

Established in 1971, WALF has been on the top of college radios for a long time. In the Herrick Library’s archive site there is this clip of information on the foundation of the station: “ ‘Alfred's WALF is now on the air.’ That is what Mark O'Meara, one of the first of many DJs at Alfred University's campus radio station, declared in December 1971. With donations from AU Trustees Donald Roon and Robert Bromeley and 1950 alumnus Leslie Shershoff, radio equipment was purchased and the station established by AU students Joe Baird, Dave Steven and Joe Goff in the basement of 6 Sayles Street. In January 1975, the station was moved to the Steinheim where its facilities were further expanded in February 1977. The station generated some good publicity when Brandon Scholz conducted a radio marathon to help finance renovations, broadcasting for 73 consecutive hours in March 1978 and raising $1,500. The station moved into its present quarters on the ground floor of Powell Campus Center when the new student center opened in 1994.”
WALF features hourly radio shows, and anyone can sign up. From students playing their favorite music, to talk shows, live performances, and even a tech talk show, the listening opportunities are endless. WALF has consistently been on the top 20 for college radios by Princeton Review, and has been ranked 13th in 2010.
According to the WALF website, many people have been interviewed by the WALF contributors including Ralph Nader and Dar Williams.
So whether you are in the studio, driving around Alfred, or sitting in your room, you can listen to the music of your peers, on the radio, and now with new technology, you can stream it online.

The Alfred Sun, it only comes out once a week!

We have all heard the slogan “I love Alfred, NY. Where the SUN come out once a week!” Is it true that the SUN comes out only once a week? If you ask most students, especially in the winter, the answer is affirmative. Yet some forget the small pun in this slogan. The Sun is a paper, a weekly newspaper for the village of Alfred.
The paper was founded in 1883 and printed in tabloid format. The Sun features several items not found it a normal town newspaper. There is always a picture in The Alfred Sun of readers reading The Sun in a different location. There is also the segment of The Sun where they summarize the going-ons of Alfred many years ago.
Unfortunately there is not much on this topic so far, The Sun has continued true to its small town roots and does not have a website!

Carnegie Hall

The story of Carnegie Hall is incredibly interesting. Built in 1912, the building was originally constructed to be a library. Davis, the current president at the time of construction, jumped through many hoops to get it built. Including conquering the great king of steel, Andrew Carnegie, for which the building was named. At the time, Carnegie was becoming a great philanthropist. His favorite form of endowment was a library, and Alfred University needed one. Eventually, Carnegie agreed to fund the construction. Davis, after being fed up with letters and slow means of communication, went all the way to Carnegie’s mansion and demanded to know the status of his application. According to John Nelson Norwood, president of AU and writer of the book FIAT LUX: story of Alfred University, “For answer [to the status of his application] these required the secretary to go into the house for some papers. While he was gone Mr. Carnegie came out for his morning walk. When the secretary returned, Davis told him that he had not taken the unexpected opportunity to speak to Mr. Carnegie directly as he felt that once the official understood the facts he would give the request his personal attention.” After this incident, the secretary helped finally achieve Davis’ dream of a new library.
Another interesting note to add to this story, it was Melvil Dewey, former Alfred University student and creator of the Dewey Decimal System, who also helped convince Carnegie to fund a library.
Yet there was a condition to this gift. Alfred University had to liquidate its debt. Starting New Years Eve of 1907, the town pulled together to solicit funds to ease the debt of the university. From 1907 to 1910 the money came in, ending in a triumphant $1,100 from Orra S. Rogers to quell the debt of $75,000. In the fall of 1912 the cornerstone ceremony was held, and Davis again thanked all the trustees for their support. For the next two decades Alfred University was on budget, no debt thanks to the determined Davis, and the inspiration from Mr. Andrew Carnegie.
Carnegie Hall is beautiful, once covered in vines, which are now cut back, the decorative stone on the front is intriguing, and a wonderful welcome to any interested student.
Now this building holds the offices of the President, the Business Office, Provost, Student Affairs, and Summer Programs. The library was moved once it became too big for the space.

The Language House, 12 Park Street

Built in 1900 this simple house has been a facet of the Division of Modern Languages for many years. According to the Alfred University website, “…the Language House is occupied each year by students who are studying a particular language and who are expected to speak it to one another while they are living there. The language spoken in the house changes each year. During the year, the students help promote cultural and linguistic activities sponsored by the Division of Modern Languages. The residents host a variety of events including foreign films, discussion groups, dinners, games and lectures.”
Within the house is a very interesting architecture. There are several bay windows, perfect for studying in the afternoon, and also various odd shaped closets, some even big enough to be a second bedroom. This Georgian-style house also features several beautiful art glass windows, seemingly popular among the older houses of Park Street.
While this location seems unimportant, the cultural value is huge. Learning a second language is a great skill to acquire, and also an asset to any job or travel excursion. With the population of our country becoming increasingly diverse, places similar to the Language House are an important part of understanding and comprehension of our society.
Stop into the Language House any time, you will find students eager to help you learn their second language, offer delicious meals from different countries, and often welcome you to sit in on their classes and foreign film viewings.

The Powell Campus Center Mail Room

It is a tradition that has fended off homesickness for generations, the care package. Every college student (up until a few years ago) has longed for that slip of paper in his or her mailbox. The one saying, “You have a package!” You get excited, you run to the counter, and hope that some homemade cookies and perhaps some cash await you on the other side. Not many stop to think, after finding a sad, empty box, perhaps with a cobweb in it, what about the actual mailroom itself? Where did the idea come from? We certainly are past the days of the Pony Express, the first mail-delivery system in the US: a trail of horse riders. And now with the digital age, we receive our package notifications by email. Yet what happened between horses and email that brought us to the mailroom? In some countries, the only means of getting your mail is through a PO box. Did you know that Ben Franklin was named the first Postmaster General? Clusters of boxes (approximately 40 or more) were found to be a much cheaper means of home-delivery of the mail in the 1920s. Which leads us to the Powell Campus Center Mailroom.
Constructed in 1994, the three-story building is the center of student activity. Featuring a dining hall, a café, the radio-station WALF, a student lounge, the mailroom, and many more. Constructed in honor of Lea and Arthur Powell, alumna of this university. According to the Alfred University website, “Students are assigned a mailbox number when they enroll as a full-time undergraduate student. They retain this box number for the duration of their undergraduate career.” These mailboxes once served as the main form of communication for Alfred students, now only used for flyers, announcing career fairs or health services, or letters and paychecks.
The energetic clerk, Debbie Campbell, always has a smile on her face and is always ready to help you out with any mailing problem. Whether it be finding some stamps to send a note to grandma, or trying to send a package to a friend.

The Pine Trees on AU's Campus

For many, a tree is just something to provide shade, perhaps some leaves in the fall, and stress for those owning homes in the winter. But how many of us actually stop to think about them? They cannot just pop up anymore, they need pruning, and care.
If you look carefully at the pictures of the Alfred University campus pre-1940, you see a lot of open space. But look at the campus today; it is lush, full of trees, shrubs, and other flora. In an Alfred University publication of the 1936 centennial celebration (call number LD131.A349 1936) there is a timeline of important events from the beginning of this institution. Under 1936 one will find this entry: 1935 – 25,000 Norway spruce and red pine seedlings planted on unused campus land. What green founders we had, people who knew the value of shade, wood and oxygen.
In the late spring and summer the Alfred lawn is full of students enjoying the fresh air and lovely shade of these thoughtfully planted trees. These trees are also home to several sculptures, and outdoor activities such as slack lining. Slack lining is a balancing act where a line is tied between two strong trees and the participants attempt to walk between them on the taught line.
Pine trees are a coniferous species. The Norway spruce is a native to Europe and is often also sometimes referred to as the European Spruce as well. The red pine is a native to the Northeast, and is also sometimes confused with the Norway spruce.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Trojan Health Care Center

This discreet and quaint condom dispenser by Trojan is an interesting design, as far as what it says about its sociological surroundings. Not only is there a condom stocked convenience store situated down the block from Alex’s, but one may also acquire some jimmy hats across the street at the Alfred Pharmacy. This leads me to believe that due to its orientation so close to the exit/entrance that this design is meant to, in the utmost respect, convenience people on the go. The design is a component of social ritual, sex, as well as disease prevention and population control.

The omnipresence of birth control methods today differs greatly from the conditions of past decades. Alfred is a seemingly devout place in terms of Christianity. This design may leave one to wonder that if this weren’t a college town would there be as many locations to get one’s Trojan fix? Of course there would. This isn't the Vatican. Though Alfred is a minuscule town, its post-collegiate peoples get the urge and are prone to the same kinds of hormone fluctuations as those of college-aged individuals. Though these urges are probably not experienced as often and not with as high of a degree of frenzy.

The design is synthetic, just like the merchandise is, and made up of white plastic. This, I believe is, as the pro-plastic commercials of years ago used to flaunt, to render the design immortal if it were to fall from the ceiling beam up so high. As far as ornamentation goes, it is sleek more or less free from embellishment- rightfully so. It boasts a logo that reads Health Care Center in a plain and simple blue typeface, with an indiscernible line below in fine print. That’s basically all a barfly needs to know. The open face of the design appeals to the concupiscent yet cautious customer who can see the condoms, as well as the prospect of leaving a clean trail, within reach. In viewing the readily available individually packaged methods of birth control, a person is less likely to trudge to another place to buy in bulk. Because of this design, the bar may jack the price of the condoms up a little. The bar may also make money if this dispenser is stocked with expired condoms. Because the surrounding environment of the design is dark (and rightfully so, condoms should not be not exposed to direct sunlight) it is highly unlikely that a buyer will notice the expiration date in the darkness surrounding the bar- not to mention drunkenly.

Having condoms in neat rows allows for the proper size to be speedily delivered to the client. However, the design is has faulted in its lack of labeling the various size offerings of condoms. Because of this, a special touch of human fingertips has worked to scrawl in permanent marker, from left to right, a span of five sizes from extra small to extra large. This man-made customization, perhaps brought about by evolution, is not the only quirk to the design. The actual dispenser only can hold four rows of condoms, which leaves me wondering if one size in particular is held elsewhere, perhaps under the bar in a bowl with prototypical snack peanuts.

Sure, the design is machine-made in a town where personal designs reign, but this dispenser says that computer-human interaction has not entirely dominated the lives of Alfred’s residents. The town is unique in its preservation of intimacy between patron and bartender. It’s been 82 years since condom vending machines were introduced* and while other bars may exclusively carry high-tech dispensers with LED screens at the bar, Alex’s doesn’t.

The design organizes a product that works to control population, one of the main contributors of our environmental catastrophe to be. However, the very condoms that it houses, and there is no way around this really, are usually not disposed of properly, and it is impractical that beneath Health Care Center, in equally sized-text, it would instruct to dispose of properly. The design is lacking in its promotion of environmental conservation in this sense.

I got over my unjustified sober apprehension of the bartender and asked when the design was first introduced to Alex’s. She then directed me to the back. The guys by the pizza ovens attested that it had been there "forever ... at least twenty years" and that it was "older than hell." I suspect that it came complementary to the purchase in bulk of Trojan condoms.

In the novel Porterhouse Blue a murder is committed on a college campus over an attempt to introduce a condom dispenser on school grounds. Hearing of this plot line has prompted me to investigate the history of such designs on AU property, as well.

To be continued...


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hot Dog

Even though a hot dog is not a landmark in Alfred, it is a landmark in each Alfredian’s heart. The hot dog has been celebrated in Alfred since1972. This day is know as Hot Dog Day, it was started to help raise money for local charities, such as Alfred’s fire department and the Montessor School. Both Alfred University and Alfred State come together to help organize this event. It is celebrated in the spring, the third Saturday of April, on Main Street in the Town of Alfred. The event is focused on the hot dog because it is seen as a popular food among college students because it’s cheap and easy to prepare.

Many events take place during this time. Each year there is a parade, ice cream social at the fire station, a “fun run”, mud Olympics, carnival games, and a large act (band or conidian). Art students past and present will have stands set up on main street along with all of the games to sell some of their work. Hot Dog Day is also seen as a reunion time, alumni from both schools come back during this time.

Alfred Alumni began an annual tradition know was the FAHDD, which stands for (I’m not sure if this is correct but I found the information on their facebook page) Fuck Alfred Hot Dog Day. They started this tradition after Alfred University disbanded all fraternities and sororities in 2002. It is held around the same time as Alfred’s Hot Dog Day is but in a different location each year, last year they had their FAHDD on a cruise to the Bahamas. FAHDD is said to embody what Hot Dog Day used to be before 2002.

The Terra Cotta Roof Tiles of Alfred

When driving through the village of Alfred it is near impossible to not notice the intricate terra cotta tiles around town. But what clearly stands out and is one of a kind is Alfred’s red-orange terra cotta roof tiles. There is said to be more then 100 house within Alfred and neighboring towns that have this terra cotta roof tiles. Terra cotta is a very popular material in this location of New York state because of the discovery around 1880 of the terra cotta clay with in the hills and valleys of soon to be Alfred. Then in 1889 the Celadon to Terra Cotta Company ( celadon: a word that refers a glaze most seen in ancient Chinese ceramic art work) was established to create and design tiles for wall, roofs and bricks for building. With in the next twenty to thirty Alfred’s terra cotta tile business thrived, clearly because the company was able to make us of local raw materials.

Looking in to the history of how terra cotta was used whether it be for decretive ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Middle Eastern, West African, Central and North American art, for the famous tomb soldiers of 2nd century BCE emperor Qin Shi Huangdi which consist of a total of over 7,000 pottery soldiers, 100 chariots, 4,000-plus pottery horses and as many as over 100,000 weapons all made from terra cotta or terra cotta used as one of the first pipes used in plumbing. In the 19th century there was also this Gothic revival style of architecture which made much use of terra cotta with in design.

Why have terra cotta roof tiles? Many consider terra cotta or really most clay roof tiles to be most ornamental, for they come in many different shapes. textures, patterns and colors ranging from dark browns to light pinks and even by 1900 the range of colors expanded from different glazes that were being used to produce such colors as blues, greens, and a nearly black, purples were also popular colors. The design of a terra cotta a roof is most commonly “a field of plain clay tiles covering the majority of a roof’s flat surface, with decorative tiles used along the peak of the roof”. Terra cotta clay is also known to be good for roof tiles for it’s heat/ fire, water reactance, terra cotta is also lighter then stone and has many durable qualities to it. These roofs are so durable that they claimed to be able to last many centuries the most common life expectancy of roofs constructed with terra cotta tiles is about one hundred year (still pretty impressive).

If we look at the time line of Alfred history we can see that it is getting to a point where these terra cotta roofs maybe coming to their last leg. Since Alfred is a historical town and in large part for their terra cotta roof tiles, it is no surprise when we find out that a local group of the community of Alfred, called the Tile Roofs of Alfred, has come together to help persevere the history Alfred has with terra cotta clay and what an impact it has made in architecture. Another reason as to preserve this history, to promote a sort of design with in new modern architecture. For the terra cotta roofs of alfred say something to what craft and craftsmanship really is. Yes it in a way it can be seen as somewhat forgotten today, the interagency of roof tiles are not taken in to so much consideration today, not to say that it is an awful development to not focus on ever single detail, but I think today artists in general forget that to put a lot of work in to something it shows. These terra cotta roof tiles is a clear demonstration of that idea.

Camperdown Elm, Powell Campus Center

One of the first things I noticed while touring Alfred University as a prospective college was the tree in front of the Powell Campus Center. This tree reminded me of something from Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, with a creepy mystical quality to its shape and size. The "Umbrella" tree in front of the PCC was planted around 1905. There were three of these Umbrella Trees, or "Camperdown Elm" trees on campus, one removed in 1974 "due to ill health", and one on the site of the Herrick Memorial Library (Herrick Archives and Special Collections).
The first Camperdown Elm was cultivated around 1835, when the Earl of Camperdown's gardener discovered a branch growing from the ground. He decided to graft the branch to the trunk of a Wych Elm, creating a hybrid tree that cannot reproduce from seed, making these specimens even more rare and exciting. "Every Camperdown Elm in the world is from a cutting taken from that original mutant cutting and is usually grafted on a Wych elm trunk" (Ulmus glabra 'Camperdownii')
In comparison to "normal" trees such as regular elm or pine, the Camperdown Elm is quite grotesque. It is a wonder that these trees were planted as 'rarities' in gardens elite and extensive enough to have tree collections.
Students today are so preoccupied with cell phones, social networking and public image that they overlook details in their surroundings such as the Camperdown Elm on the Alfred University campus. When planted I imagine it must have been quite an oddity to townsfolk and visitors alike. The Camperdown Elm in front of the Powell Campus Center is even more interesting now that it is the only one left, making it unique and rare.
Another interesting fact is that there is also a Camperdown Elm on the Smith College campus in Northampton, Massachusetts, the town from which I originated.

The Alfred Box of Books

While one would think that a local library has always been in the town of Alfred, but the Alfred Box of Books was established much more recently than one would expect.  The original Box of Books building (currently the children's room) was used as a bookstore until Alfred University bought the building and leased it to the Library in 1985.  This part of the building is over 120 years old.  It was soon clear that the room would not be big enough and funds were raised through the village to construct an addition to the building.  The adult section (or really, other room) of the current library was built in 1987 by a Vocational group from Alfred State (Klingensmith).

Before the move into its current location, in 1967, the village library had been a "large trailer" known as the "Mobile Center" (Kligensmith).  Volunteer library technicians maintained the trailer for village patrons on Sundays and Mondays.  The trailer was first located at Pine and Main Streets (where the stop light is today), but was then moved to West University and Main.  This trailer was damaged and the Southern Tier Library System (of which the current Box of Books is a member) took action (because of the community's enthusiastic attitude towards the continuation of a library in Alfred) and discontinued the trailer for a rented space in Greene Hall in 1977.  

In 1989, the circulation was 10,100 books and had 500 cardholders (Klingensmith).  This has greatly increased since then, and recently the circulation was estimated to be 15,457 books ("Alfred").

Today, the library is used readily by many villagers as well as out-of-towners most often from Hornell, Andover, Almond and Wellsville (any cardholder in the Southern Tier Library System can use any member library).  A computer system was added in 2002, but the previous director was unwilling to completely convert.  The card catalog bureau was only thoroughly emptied about two years ago.

Periodically, the shelves must be cleared of books that haven't been checked out in 3 or 4 years. The library still struggles with limited space, even with the addition added over 20 years ago.  Recent reorganization of the shelving units has de-cluttered and almost streamlined the walking areas of the library.  The limited space within the library though, is expanded by the fact that any card holder can put a book, movie, CD, etc on hold at any other library in the Southern Tier Library System (this even includes the Southport Correctional Facility).

In August of 2009, the children's room received an upgrade: new carpet was put in and the walls were painted from white to a warm brown.  Later, floral curtains were added.

Overall, the library has a board, the director, a librarian, and three work study students.  The library would not exist, though, without the help of volunteers.  Most of the volunteers are over the age of 60, and their projects range from adding materials to the collection to book repair to working the front desk to reading shelves.

Children and teen programming has increased in the past year with the addition of the new director of children's programming.  She also works as the librarian.  The programs include weekly story times, home-school groups, holiday parties, movie screenings, Wii gaming for fundraising, and much more.

Most days in the Box of Books are quiet, not because it's a library, but more because it's Alfred.  Most patrons have at least one day where they come to the library regularly.  Often, even fewer patrons come in when the weather is unreasonable, or if they do visit the library, they walk the short distance from their houses in order to check out entertaining reading material or movies.



Klingensmith, Margaret. "Box of Books Reading Center." Comp. The Alfred Historical Society and Baker's Bridge Association. History of Alfred, New York. Dallas: Curtis Media Corporation, 1990. 28-29. Print.

"Alfred Box of Books Library -- Alfred, NY [lib-web-cats 6651]." Library Technology Guides: Key Resources in Library Automation. Web. 15 Feb. 2010. .

The Honey Pot

The Honey Pot.

Honey Pot Candy was created around 1915 when olive Watson combined candy making with honey. Ms. Watson was working in an unexplored market, so she had to develop her own recipes. She began mass production in 1922 and used about a ton of honey in her first year of production. To Ms. Watson, honey was the material that “gave her a good deal of independence.”
Ms. Watson’s husband, Dr. Lloyd Watson, a Alfred University professor earned worldwide fame before his death for his experimentation artificial insemination of the queen bee. When his bees produced more honey than the Watson’s had biscuits to spread it on , Ms. Watson began her experimentation with honey in the candy world. She dreamed of a candy that was so nutritious and whole some that even children with normal digestion could indulge in her candy. Candy made with honey is more nutritious and adds to the food value, giving the candy a certain delicacy of flavor. Honey is an energy food and when eaten slowly becomes absorbed into the system immediately by the tongue.
From years of experimentation, her recipes evolved and she could boast that, “this is the only honey candy made, and can be purchased no where else in the world besides Alfred.” Although her skills and knowledge were incredible, she constantly sought ways to expand them.
Before the war her candies were sold in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Radio City and at Hearn’s in NYC. She displayed candy at Farmers week at Cornell university and at bee conferences in St. Louis. The candy was always a popular door prize and the candy was enthusiastically received.
Each box of candy id labeled with an assortment of many varieties of candy, caramel, butterscotch, chocolate, lemon, almond, peppermint, pecan, coconut and wintergreen. Some have only the flavor of honey from which they are exclusively made while also being comprised of egg white, oleo, heavy cream, chocolate, pure flavoring, pecans and peanuts. All candies are embossed on the underside with the six sided honey comb- the trademark of the industry.
Ms. Watson liked to believe that her honey candies were filled with summer sunshine, the dew ofnight and gentle rain, making her job not just any job. While the candy was in production it was sold out of her home at 74 South Main Street. Since her death in 1977, her candies were able to be purchased at the Gallery downtown, her secret having been passed on. Now I think they are available at the Alfred Pharmacy.

octagon house

The Octagon House

“There is no hour of sun throughout the year when we do not find more than one of the eight sides of our home receiving more direct and therefore warmer rays than the other seven.” –Carl Cramer

The Potter Hunting House/ The Octagon House/ The Prigmore Museum is located at 57 South Main Street in Alfred, NY. I originally took interest in this building because of the unusual architecture of this house. It is stated that Perry Potter built this house in the early 1850’s and remained there until 1869, when the house was than passed down to his brother Alonzo.
The Potter’s house exterior walls feature seven horizontal clapboards along with eightscroll shaped brackets that are located at the eight corners of the house. The veranda encompassing the house is unusual because on most ocatagon houses it aces only thre sides. Thr columns that support the roof above the veranda are octagons and mirror the houses façade.
In 1923 the house was purchased by MR. and Mrs. Henry C Hunting and within the first fourteen years they were living there transformed the grounds into into prize winning gardens that were acclaimed in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Mrs. Hunting called the house Kanabroco, and it attracted visitors from all over who were always welcomed by the Huntings.
In 1947 the house was passed down to Mr. Huntings nephew, Norman Olson. Norman Olson was the frst man to rent the house as a two family apartmemtn. Alfred University bought the house from Olson in 1965 I was during this time period that the house fell into disarray and the apartments behind the house were built. Mary truslot bought the house from the university in 1980 and in 1985 had the porch floor rebuilt. The floor was refurbished with reclaimed wood from Alumni Hall.
As of right now the current owner of the house is Peter Prigmore. He has refurnished and remodeled the home styled in the original era that the house was constructed in. Mr. Prigmore is very well known for all the renovations he has done on the house and is pleased to give anyone who wants a tour of his home.
In 1848, Orson Squire Fowler, a native of the Genesee Country village of Cohocton, published A Home for All, or a New, Cheap, Convenient, and Superior Mode of Building in which he announced that the octagon house, with its eight sides, enclosed more space than a square one with equal wall space. The octagonal form had been used in public buildings in the past, but now as a concept for domestic architecture, it had a dedicated and convincing champion. The eight-sided house was more than an architectural invention to Fowler -- he extolled it as the pathway to a healthier lifestyle. The former medical student described an octagon house in his 1848 book, 'A Home for All; or the Gravel Wall and Octagon Mode of Building.' Such a building, he argued would be better ventilated and lighted, and thus healthier.
 Some benefits were more apparent: the houses provided a greater volume of space than a square or rectangular house and rooms were easily accessible from a central stair hall. Fowler claimed that the "gravel-wall construction" (poured concrete) made the octagon house cheaper to build. Most octagons, however, were built of wood or brick, which in fact, meant higher costs to adapt these structural materials to the 135 degree contours of the octagon.
 Decades before Fowler's book was published, another architectural pioneer, Thomas Jefferson, began building Poplar Forest. The eight-sided brick structure featured such innovations as skylights and an indoor privy, and was the only octagonal house built by Jefferson. George Washington also dabbled in revolutionary architectural ideas -- building in 1792 a 16-sided threshing barn on his Mount Vernon estate.
 But it was Fowler who inspired a building boom of octagonal houses. Many, including the author's own massive 60-room "Fowler's Folly" near Fishkill, New York, have been destroyed over the years, but a significant number of octagon houses still survive.

The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art

The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art in located on Alfred university’s Campus and is a large part of New York State College. The Museum houses both ceramic and glass, objects range from ancient recovered artifacts to contemporary ceramic art pieces. The collection holds about 8,000 pieces in total. The schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art considers it’s to be a teaching and research facility for faculty, students and visitors of the area.

Some history on how the museum got it’s name and how it was establish, we begin in the 1900 when Charles Fergus Binns was the founding director of the New York state school of ceramics. “Binns was a teacher and taught pottery, glaze and clay making and ceramic history. How this all became a museum was a group of his students and various other ceramic faculty members wanted a space to show the work that could be looked at and discussed and for simple delight in looking at these pieces of art work by all at the college. The collecting of the different ceramic and glass artifacts almost started as soon as the first piece was up for display. Quickly the museum became an scholarly institution for Alfred University and clearly for New York School Of Ceramic Arts. In 1991 Alfred established the collection as a museum, with a focus on American Ceramic art but also has an eye for worldwide ceramics and their history, and origin or creativity all throughout history of man’s art making. How the Schein-Joseph got it’s name,” in 1999 the Alfred university board of trustees voted to re-name the Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art in honor of Trustee Pamela Joseph and be resently passed husband Jay Schein. Pamela also in 1994 donated $2 million to support the ceramic museum.”

The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art has housed artist how have gone to alfred along with others who are well known ceramic artists that are not in anyway associated in any way with the College of Ceramic art. The large collection of work includes such well known ceramic artists as; “ Rosanjin, Bernard Leach, Shoji Hamada, and Lucie Rie ,Charles F. Binns, Anne Currier, Val Cushing, Ruth Duckworth, Ken Ferguson, Andrea and John Gill, Vivika and Otto Heino, Wayne Higby, Karen Karnes, Howard Kottler, Harrison MacIntosh, Theodore Randall, Daniel Rhodes, Mary Roettger, David Shaner, Ellen Shankin, Robert Turner, Peter Voulkos, Beatrice Wood, Betty Woodman, and Eva Zeisel” . Other parts of the collection include,”Lucie Rie as well as Chinese funerary jars and tomb sculpture from the Neolithic Period, Roman and Byzantine lamps, Nigerian market pottery, European dinnerware, and products of American whiteware companies. Also represented are advanced ceramics, including a femoral hip joint replacement and a ceramic (zirconia) watch.”

Today The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art does not have as much as a home as it has in the past years. The museum used to have a gallery space where students, faculty,and visitors could view visiting shows or a rotation of permeant collections. Graduate shows were also held within the gallery space as well as other senior bachelor of fine art’s degree senior shows. However because of a new construction of a section of the School of Engineering, The Schein-Joseph was moved and for now has no show room and to view the collection us must set up an appointment with the head of the department.

Alfred University plans to build a new building in the location of the present Davis Gymnasium and have a new building designed by Kallmann McKinnell and Wood Architects. The building to meant to have enough space for amply storage for the present collection and also is large in that in predicts new ceramic and glass pieces to come in. There is also plans to be a large show room for The Schein-Joseph’s collection as well as space for visiting shows or Graduate shows. The plans for this building claim that it was to be built by 2010, which clearly is not close to happening considering that Davis Gymnasium is still being used and is needed because other workout facilities are overly crowded.

Here is a description of what the new The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art is to look like: “...the building is a simple, linear gallery space presenting itself to the approach along Main Street in Alfred, intended to exhibit openness, both day and night. An entry ramp extends the entry sequence, allowing for a single point of access control, while emphasizing the linear organization and providing sufficient height for the collection storage/exhibit preparation which forms the base of the building. As sited and oriented, the building can be expanded by adding a parallel bar, which could be either a second flexible gallery, or a series of small galleries dedicated to donated collections. Collection storage would expand in the same proportion below. The building will have a very simple palette of materials – brick, glass, and translucent glass on the exterior, concrete, plaster and glass on the interior, with minor elements in natural wood and metal.” If this ever does get finished I think we can agree that is will clearly be a beautiful addition to Alfred University’s campus.

The Gothic Chapel

Hazel Humphry is the women in this picture; she is the Alfred University Alumna who saved the Gothic Chapel from demolition.

This is an example of other 1850's gothic designs. This gothic chapel was bluprinted for St. Mary's Chapel in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Stop Light

Alfred has only one traffic light where Alfred University and Alfred Tech meet. Traffic lights became something society needed in big cities. Several people had invented a three position traffic light but Garrett Morgan was the first to apply for a patent and receive one. William L. Potts of Detroit, Michigan invented the one of the first traffic light which only cost him about thirty seven dollars in materials. Because Potts was a government employee and because of this he could not patent his invention of the traffic light. Around the same time Garret Morgan invented a electric traffic light in Cleveland, Ohio. Morgan sold his patent for the invention to General Electric Corporation which has become a major manufacturing company.

Morgan left his family farm while he was still a teenager. In Cincinnati, Ohio Morgan hired a tutor in English grammar because his education had till that point ended after elementary school. Morgan moved to Cleveland, Ohio and worked as a sewing machine repair man. Because of this Morgan opened his own sewing machine repair and equipment shop and two years later a tailoring shop with machines he made himself. He also started a newspaper called the Cleveland Call. With Morgan's success he was able to purchase a home and an automobile.

Traffic lights where a way for police to keep track of traffic without having to be standing on the corner. This made the roads for pedestrians, vehicles, and wagons more orderly and reduced crashes.

"An American Inventor." The Garrett A. Morgan Technology And Transportation Futures

Program. Federal Highway Administration. Web. 14 Feb. 2010.

Davis Memorial Carillon

Bathroom Graffiti in Harder


Bathroom graffiti probably brings to mind for those of you who have ever set foot in a public bathroom the crude writings, drawings and comments that plaster the bathroom walls and particularly the bathroom walls of Harder.  The nature of bathroom graffiti interests me. In its little self-contained world, what goes on inside these walls can range from the disturbing to the hysterical.  Many students find it entertaining to watch one single comment pioneer its self into a wall loaded with controversial comments and images. If only class discussions could be this passionate and dynamic. To be honest I feel that the truth about our societies subconscious appears quite often on these walls or at least what our society finds as taboo and restricted among the circle of social life. Airing the values, which are suppressed in more public places Bathroom graffiti, is still a nuisance to custodians and costs a lot of money to take off and cover up. Even though this is a disrespectful form of graffiti most of these statements would rarely be seen anywhere else but the bathroom. I’ve found bathroom graffiti to stand out from other forms of graffiti, turning the bathroom into the most read private discussion board and means of communication.

What ever is written or drawn in the confines of Harder Halls bathrooms is generally anonymous and can be done without the fear of ridicule, exposure or judgment. Bathroom art is also usually the product of the sharpie pen, pencil or spray paint. They particularly take place only on the bathroom stalls and grow outwards from the areas from which they were started.  In my research I searched through all the bathrooms with in Harder and also for a comparison looked at graffiti, which was found on the outside of the bathrooms.  I broke the graffiti into five types of graffiti. There are advertisements, drawings, statements, top ten lists and questions which make up the body of content with in these bathrooms.

            The smallest group starts with advertisements. These were seen in about one out of every two bathrooms and consisted primarily of health posters, and club events. The bathroom seems to be used increasingly for advertisements. Many times in public bathrooms even outside of Harder you can commonly find a poster tapedup to the back of the stall. This is a great place so it seems because a good majority of people will read it, which is one of the main objectives of posters and flyers to begin with.


While at Alfred the poster boards in Powell might be the “designated” places for posters they are probably not the most successful at getting the word out because they are competing not only with the masses of other posters, but with your time. Most of us will unless indenting to look at them past by with out a glance. Posters in the bathroom, which are placed on the stalls or next to, the mirrors are almost impossible to ignore. The posters, which I encountered, came primarily from the health department warning students about the flu season or safe sex. Other posters, which frequent the bathrooms, are the job fair posters and women’s leadership events. On Valentines Day bathrooms also become the hot spot for distributing out condoms.

            The second most popular type of bathroom graffiti and text were top ten lists. These struck me as most peculiar that they would be a considerable theme amongst all bathrooms. This is an obsession with in bathroom graffiti. It is like homework in a sense with the hopes of people actually responding back to these questions.  The topics of the top ten are usually fairly x rated for the most part like, “top ten places to fuck” or at least become so in their responses. Some of this top ten come straight fr

om boring Internet quizzes like, the “top ten flavors, top ten hottest guys/girls” and “the top ten ways it would be sweet to die”.  Mostly the top ten stray from using real names, but on occasion professors, administrators and popular student figures can become the victims or stars in this bathroom art scene. Did you make the top ten? I hope not. 

            The third most popular type of bathroom graffiti is questions. Questions take up about a quarter of bathroom walls content. Aside from the top ten these questions are not always perverted and sometimes can be insightful. Some questions include, “What is beauty?” or “ is there a God?” The answers to these can also be quite insightful. I even found one that defines bathroom wall writings, “ Since writing on bathroom walls is done neither for critical acclaim not for financial rewards, it is the purest form of art.”  In a way I think this definition is missing some things. Bathroom graffiti shows what we think of as social taboo or restricted in the ordinary circle of social life. Perhaps these questions, “ is there a God?” or “ what is beauty” are considered to be irrelevant beaten to death questions, questions that have been tossed around in society so much that they have become cliché. Then why ask these questions if they are so over done? In asking one local bathroom artist who shall remain nameless I found that they wrote some of these questions for their entertaining responses pile up. Sometimes the object of the game, says our graffiti vandal, is to say the most outlandish, trivial, contradicting or bluntly honest. Separating truth from hoax in these answers is probably close to impossible with out knowing who wrote what, but fact and fiction is only the surface of what is on these walls. The real deal is where this graffiti happens and its activeness. Bathroom graffiti is the result of pressures to self express. When there are no pressures to express our selves in society then graffiti becomes less prevalent.


The fourth most popular category is probably my favorite and the most memorable by all, are the drawings. These freakishly disturbing and hysterical figures and renderings take up about 20 percent of these walls. Even though the most classic drawings are of giant penises there are some drawings, which are just plain odd and the fact that they even made it to the bathroom walls astounds me. The butter walrus for example or the teen girl squad are weird things, which I might not ever associate with bathroom art. These kinds of drawing, which cover entire spaces are particularly bold, but can be quite well drawn for such a private gallery space. I am sure that most of these were thought out well in advanced compared to their counterpart doodles and writings. However some of the writings seem to be done like works of art too. Just another tall tale sign that this is in fact an art school full of expressive minds.


        Our fifth and final category of bathroom art are the words of wisdom. Yes these are the blunt four letter statements and realizations. These are the "I love, I hate" statements, website suggestions, announcements, proverbs and social advice.   Love and sex are usually the front-page stories of these walls. However, the statements I most remember are the ones which are strangest like, the “ Did ja Know” comment about the drink-ability of urine.

            Graffiti is a form of expression no doubt, but suppression is what  is felt to  make up the other factor of this art form. First is the pressure to be expressive, which could explain why graffiti is more prevalent in places where self-expression is demanded like in an art school setting. This is to say that we would not find as much graffiti in a bathroom in a place where there is not as much pressure to be expressive. In comparison the graffiti found in Myers is non-existent. Graffiti is an “inappropriate” art form as viewed by most adults and especially custodial staff. Bathroom graffiti on the other hand provides I feel a social temperature check for modes of expression and suppressed social values. For years people have been writing on the walls of these stalls expressing them selves in this obscure form of oral written tradition. I sometimes wonder if these walls were never painted over what layers could be uncovered and if at some point the graffiti would end, but as long as there are secrets to be told, values to publicly suppress and pressure to express there will always be graffiti in Harders bathrooms.