University's Main Gates Removed for Repair
Work began Monday to remove FitzRandolph Gate, less formally known as the "main gates" to the Princeton University campus in front of Nassau Hall, The gates are being taken away for repair and restoration in preparation for the entrance's 100th anniversary next year.
Along with the main gates, the smaller east and west gates will be dismantled and sent to Springfield, Mass., where iron workers will strip the paint from the gates and replace damaged or aged metal with duplicate parts, according to Lou Dursi, the University's associate director of grounds and building maintenance.
Additionally, the hinge assembly, the pivots, and other structural work will be carried out by the lead contractor, Noorden Historical Restoration, and the subcontractor, Springfield Fence Co.
Work on the gates is scheduled for completion by November.
More a decorative landmark than a utilitarian structure, the gates were installed in 1905 at the request of Augustus Van Winkle, a descendent of Nathaniel FitzRandolph, who donated the land on which Nassau Hall was built.
Prior to 1970, the gates were closed most of the time and opened only for prominent campus events like Commencements and Reunions. However, at the request of the University's Class of 1970, the gates were permanently opened to symbolize positive town-gown relations and an openness to the international community.
Legend has it that any under- graduate who passes through FitzRandolph Gate to exit campus will risk not graduating on time. As far as is known, that myth has yet to be proven.
With the cement pillars that hold the gates remaining in place, will the physical removal of the fabled gates create a loophole, thus allowing superstitous students safe passage across the threshold? Mr. Dursi wasn't sure, but Patty Allen, the University's media relations manager, said that with or without gates, the myth was more University lore "than anything else."
Take that with a grain of salt, undergrads.