Did You Know?: Stone Lions Fountain

January 30, 2015  

Stone Lions Fountain

The Stone Lions Fountain sits at the southeast corner of Stanley Coulter Hall, which is its original location.  (Purdue University file photo)
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Each week hundreds of prospective students are greeted with rounds of Purdue trivia before an official Office of Admissions presentation begins. Included in the rotation is a question about the only outdoor drinking fountain at Purdue -- the Stone Lions Fountain. However, that wasn't always the case.

Although the fountain currently provides fresh drinking water and was originally installed as a drinking fountain, there was a time when the fountain ran dry. After its dedication in 1904 as a gift from the class of 1903 to the University, sometime between 1923 and 1931 the Stone Lions Fountain was turned off. No documentation exists as to why.

On April 22, 2001, the Stone Lions Fountain was rededicated, again serving as a drinking fountain.

According to "A University of Tradition," a book compiled by the Reamer Club, in March 2000, renovation began on the Lions Fountain to restore its fountain capability. The Reamer Club, as its 75th anniversary project, undertook the project with assistance from the University Development Office, beginning in 1998. The club raised over $48,000 for the effort, mostly from Reamer Club alumni. In addition to restoring the plumbing, the Reamer Club allocated a portion of the funds for a thorough cleaning and a new stone base, according to the Spring 2000 edition of "Perspective."

The Stone Lions Fountain has long been a Reamer Club landmark. Since the establishment of the Reamer Club, members have gathered at the fountain for biweekly "Lion group sings," a collection of nearly 50 songs and chants about Purdue that have been collected throughout the years, during fall and spring semester pledging.

The Reamer Club constitution, which was ratified in 1923 and updated in October 2014, states in the preamble the club's dedication to "foster the observance of school traditions" and "aid in the development of proper school spirit."

In accordance with the observance of school traditions, the Reamer Club has recorded the two most widely held folkloric beliefs surrounding the Stone Lions Fountain. The first is that the lions will roar if a virgin walks by. The second, which has changed as the campus layout has changed, claims that if a couple kisses under the Purdue Bell Tower and subsequently walks past the lions, they will get married.

Writer: Kourtney Freiburger, 49-6223, kfreibu@purdue.edu 

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