Campus News

Bowdoin Gargoyle: Back on Top, Better Than Ever

Story posted June 14, 2007

Watch Gargoyle Installation

Click on photo to see a narrated video of Bowdoin's new gargoyle being hoisted atop Hubbard Hall. (View using Quicktime)

A new face stands out on the Bowdoin campus — that of a new gargoyle mounted atop Hubbard Hall. The original gargoyle, which graced Hubbard's tower since 1903, was in need of an extreme makeover. A century’s worth of freezing, expanding and contracting, as well as supporting the weight of the huge icicles that would form on its mouth each winter, led to cracking and severe weakening.

A large crane hoisted the new gargoyle into place on Wednesday, June 13, 2007. Making the replica took four months, 2,200 pounds of limestone and the skilled hands of Walter Arnold, a stone carver who specializes in gargoyles.

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The cracked original with its replica

"[Sculpting a gargoyle] gives a combination of both using the technical skills of carving and using them in an imaginative and free way," says Arnold. "They appeal to the imagination and fantasy."

The original gargoyle was shipped to Arnold in pieces. Arnold says making the copy was simply a matter of measuring and following traditional and systematic carving methods.

Earle Shettleworth, director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission offered Bowdoin his congratulations on such an accurate replication. "Hopefully, he will be as grotesque and frightening in the future as his predecessor was for the last century," said Shettleworth.

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