LINK:  University of Chicago Magazine
About the Magazine | Advertising | Archives | Contact
LINK:  June 2005LINK:  featuresLINK:  chicago journalLINK:  investigationsLINK:  peer reviewLINK:  in every issue

:: By Megan Lisagor

:: Photography by Dan Dry

link:  e-mail this to a friend

Peer Review ::

Architectural Details

Golden gate

A fresh crop of College graduates passed through Cobb Gate June 11 on their way to convocation. Looking down on the Class of 2005 were creatures of campus mythology, which anthropomorphizes the medieval grotesques climbing the gate’s peak. Sustained by students over the years—and perpetuated in Chicago’s A Walking Guide to the Campus (1991)—local lore maintains that the figures at the passage’s pinnacle represent fourth-years who have reached the top of their educational ascent. They look down upon the third- and second-years, those gargoyles struggling to get there. The first-years, meanwhile, cling to the bottom on tenuous footing.

The stone structure has a double distinction as Henry Ives Cobb’s last work on campus and his gift to the University. The Gothic gate, designed in 1900, even inspired a sonnet. The verse, by Howard Spencer Fiske, concludes: “And yet through such as thou the race has passed / To freedom—superstition’s dreadful gate / Hath open upon the courts of truth at last; / Nor all the fears of an imagined fate, / Nor all the goblin crew of error vast / Can shut the mind from learning’s fair estate.”

photo:  architectural details