Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Tiny and I went on a tour on campus to learn about the different gargoyles on campus. 
I cannot say enough good things about this campus.
It is so beautiful, and this free tour was absolutely amazing!
Since I now strongly believe everyone who likes random things like this should experience this tour,
I'm going to take you on my own version of it.
It might not have quite as many details (like the names of most of the buildings), 
but hopefully you can enjoy some of the beauty of Princeton campus with me. :)

So for starts, I'm going to give you a disclaimer...
none of these are actually gargoyles.
I know. I was slightly thrown off by that, but you see a gargoyle is 

"A grotesque carved human or animal face or figure projecting from the gutter of a building, typically acting as a water spout."

None of these have water coming out.
Kind of lame, but whatever. These carvings are amazing.
(By the way, if you click on the photos, they should get bigger)

So lets get started at the Pyne building named after Moses Pyne.
It is partly because of him that there are gargoyles all over campus.
He liked the gothic look and when he donated tons of money to campus,
he told that them that he would like some gothic architecture on campus.

Pyne Building Gargoyles
The middle gargoyle on this build is a person blindfolded reading a book.
The tour guide ask us what it meant, and one of the little boys said,
"Because, you know, sometimes I read books and I don't know anything that I read."
He basically got it right.
It's supposed to symbolize how Princeton tries to open "the eyes of those who seek understanding and casting aside the obstructions of prejudice."

The two characters on either side are supposed to represent the architects that built these buildings. Despite the skill level required to make these buildings, Princeton does not know who actually made and designed many of these buildings.
(Which I think is really sad)

Throughout campus there are many different animals reading books.
Apparently near this guy, there is Mother Goose reading a book!
I couldn't find her, but I sure thought he was cute.
That is one thing I really loved about this tour, many of the gargoyles are fun!

Like this guy is one of the more popular ones.
He's a little monkey holding a camera.
The monkey gargoyles (and there is quite a few of them) represent the undergraduates.

In the one above, the monkeys are attacking a tiger's head (tiger is Princeton's mascot).
This is at the Woodrow Wilson building, who was actually president of Princeton for a while (oh and the US).
The guide said that he just imagined that as Woodrow Wilson prepared for his political campaign while he was a professor that he probably often felt like the "monkeys" were distracting him.
I love that visual image in my mind.

Student gargoyles show up in other places too.
Back in the day Princeton was pretty good at football apparently,
so they celebrated by putting this football player up.

(I think this was on the old gym?)

Here's another example of playful gargoyles was these two on the geology building.
Aren't they cute?  I think they were my favorite.
They are two little pterodactyls. 

This guy was on the corner of the the same building.
And guess what?
They actually know who made some of these.
The same guy who later carved Mt. Rushmore.
Pretty cool, eh?

Some of the other buildings are similarly decorated with hints of what is/was taught in there.
At the old science building, Mr. Benjamin Franklin was gargolye-fied. 

I guess they felt a bit bad for making him look weird, because there was a full size statue of him on the building too.

One thing thing I thought was neat is that they had a Yale bulldog on the library.

Apparently one of the designers was from Yale (they don't know who) and paid tribute to his school by putting this guy there. 

Don't worry though...Princeton's Tiger way out numbers the other animals.

We're just about here is one of my favorites.

This little bat I found on the side of the cathedral.
Again, so cute!

The artwork on the cathedral is amazing.
Here is an arch on it. 
If you look right under the branch, there is a dragon on the arch.

 It supposed to represent the Legend of La Gargouille.
It's a cool legend about how gargoyles started.
And while you look for it, you should check out the rest of the arch too. 

Here's a cheat sheet they gave us of sketching of several the different gargoyles.

Well, that's all folks!
I hope you enjoyed it, because I'm planning on more of these.
I'd love feed back on it, so I could make other ones more interesting.

Love from Princeton,

1 comment:

  1. Loved it! Princeton isn't that far from CT! Just sayin'. We would love to see you.