If you’re like me, then since your first days on campus you have been dying to know the story of the plank of wood that rests on a wall in the stairwell that connects the Shattuck Hall of Music with the Lawrence Memorial Chapel (which I hope we can start calling LMC for short – but that’s another story).
In case you don’t know exactly what I’m talking about, put this paper down and go see it. This plank of wood looks very old and undoubtedly has many stories to tell us if only we would listen. But since we are too busy to listen to pieces of dead trees, I’ll share what Lawrentians think about it!
“That plank is obviously from the old chapel.” – Trevor Litsey, Vegan
“At my third through twelfth grade school, they had the first brick that they took out of the old building. They had it on display. But I was only there for a year. But why is that relevant? You’re ridiculous. Oh jeez. That works, I suppose. Don’t publish that – fix it.” – Katherine Ling, Chinese Major
“Whenever I see an old piece of wood I think it was from a really old ship. I don’t know.” – Mary Allison, Outsider/Ph.D Student
“I don’t know. It’s so random that it must have some historical significance. It must be from when it was first built. It’s special to some people.” -Sam Tetzlaff, Plantz Hall RLA
“I think that it’s either something historical or somebody’s idea of art.” – Ania Olesak, Biology Major
“It reminds me of driftwood, which reminds me of Bjorklunden.” – Kate Allison, RHD
“I think it is an artifact from some secret society at Lawrence that no one knows about” -Ivy Boudreau and Joshua Rosenkranz (who coincidentally said the same thing)
“Maybe it was from when the original Main Hall burned down. Or maybe it was the original chapel organ. Actually it’s definitely from the organ construction.” -Kristin Olson, Connie
“It was from when the chapel had pews in it from its church service days. I think.” – Patrick Marschke, Percussionist
“It was a paddle, kind of like the ones fraternities and sororities used. Anyone who performed there had to be hazed with it, but now it’s just there as part of the history. And as a threat to anyone who doesn’t perform well.” – Jesse Kearns
“It’s the first president’s wood. Just say it.” – Mike Mangian, Cross Country Runner
“It was the bow for David Becker’s viola” – Kevin Specht, Columnist
“A student or students put it up as a joke, like a piece of artwork or something. It was already there when I came in 2008. Apparently, no one ever bothered to take it down, so now it is just a part of the stairwell art scene. I personally think it is hilarious, so I’ve just left it there.” – Brian Pertl, Dean of the Conservatory
So there you have it. To a casual observer this plank may be nothing more than an out-of-place building material, but we and all future Lawrentians will always regard it with awe and wonder. Next time you’re near the LMC, take a minute to ponder the origins of this piece of Lawrence University history and mystery.