What is that bridge connecting Horton Hall and Old Main for? Can an upperclassman still toss a freshman into the fountain outside Old Main?
These questions and more can be answered on a Shippensburg University History Walking Tour.
SU History Walking Tour, offered by the history and philosophy department, celebrates the history of SU and the arrival of the 150th anniversary of the university.
Interested students and community members can discover Shippensburg University stories, history and traditions, according to Meghan Turtle, graduate assistant for the history and philosophy department and tour guide.
Turtle explained the importance of understanding the past of the university.
“The SU History Department feels that it is important for students and the members of our community to know the roots of our school. We have a rich and interesting story that not everyone knows. Through the SU History Walking Tours, we are working to change that,” Turtle said.
Founded in 1871, SU was originally named “The Cumberland Valley State Normal School.” A Normal School teaches students the “norms” of education. Old Main was the first building to be built and was the entire campus for students at that time.
In the early 19th century, Turtle said the strict separation of males and females was the norm. The top two floors were residency dorms that separated the males to the east wing and females to the west wing.
Students were subjected to strict regulations including formal attire, males had to wear suit and ties and females had to wear formal dresses. Students could only “go to town” on Saturdays and had to be home by “lights out” at 10 p.m.
The bridge to Horton Hall separated the sexes and was home to many pranks involving cows and “panty raids.”
Upperclassmen could ask a freshman any question relating to the student handbook or sing any college song. However, if the freshman did not know the words or answers they were thrown into the fountain by a senior, according to Turtle.
On a more serious note, the fountain was the students meeting spot during the Vietnam War before going to Carlisle to participate in anti-war protests.
Throughout the past 150 years, Shippensburg University was home to many traditions, growth and history. As SU continues writing its history, Turtle said the department will continue telling it.
“A lot of change, and a lot of adaptation as we’re coming up on our 150th anniversary in 2021, it’s a great time to see how far we’ve come but also where we’re going,” Turtle said.
The 30-minute-long tours are offered every Tuesday and Friday at 2 p.m. through Nov. 22.
Those interested should meet at the fountain in front of Old Main.
The tours are sponsored by the SU Department of History and Philosophy and the Applied History graduate programs. For more information, contact Turtle at firstname.lastname@example.org.