by Tim Marsh, University Relations
WSU was established in 1890. Its first graduating class was 1897. In 1905, the institution's name changed from the Washington Agricultural College and School of Science to the State College of Washington.
Traveling west today from the entryway sign to the university's walk-in entrance at the east edge of Reaney Park, you can walk up the hill and stop. With Albrook Hydraulics Laboratory on the right and the junction of Oak Street and Administration Walk to the left, you are at the location of the university’s original entrance arch, built of basalt quarried locally.
Sometimes called "Ad Walk's Arch" and described by one WSU publication as a "grand Roman arch," the 36-foot high structure was dedicated in 1905. In 1955, to permit the widening of Oak Street, the arch was removed. The removal was with approval of the Class of 1905, which had funded it as a gift to the alma mater.
While the original arch was reduced to a "pile of rubble" in the winter of 1955-56, according to the 1958 Chinook yearbook, blocks of basalt from it were saved.
In 1959, WSC became Washington State University.
While the original arch is gone, it is remembered in a tangible way. In 2003, a three-quarter size replica of the arch was constructed - built of basalt quarried in Oregon - as a gift from the Class of 1947, as part of its 50th reunion celebration, and the Class of 1997. This arch - about 25-feet 8-inches high - is on the walkway behind the WSU president’s house, near the original arch’s location.
Sources of information for this story include WSU news releases, WSU Chinook, WSU Today, and Moscow Pullman Daily News.
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