The Daily Illini

Editorial: Ringing support for Altgeld Hall

A+view+of+the+chime+in+the+Altgeld+Hall+bell+tower.+The+chime+was+installed+in+the+tower+in+1920+and+is+a+gift+from+the+classes+of+1914+through+1921+and+the+U.S.+School+of+Military+Aeronautics.
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Editorial: Ringing support for Altgeld Hall

A view of the chime in the Altgeld Hall bell tower. The chime was installed in the tower in 1920 and is a gift from the classes of 1914 through 1921 and the U.S. School of Military Aeronautics.

A view of the chime in the Altgeld Hall bell tower. The chime was installed in the tower in 1920 and is a gift from the classes of 1914 through 1921 and the U.S. School of Military Aeronautics.

Tyler Courtney | The Daily Illini

A view of the chime in the Altgeld Hall bell tower. The chime was installed in the tower in 1920 and is a gift from the classes of 1914 through 1921 and the U.S. School of Military Aeronautics.

Tyler Courtney | The Daily Illini

Tyler Courtney | The Daily Illini

A view of the chime in the Altgeld Hall bell tower. The chime was installed in the tower in 1920 and is a gift from the classes of 1914 through 1921 and the U.S. School of Military Aeronautics.

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

At a school with no mascot, it’s hard enough to not have a symbol on campus. When Chief Illiniwek danced for the last time in 2007, fans and the community lost a figurehead for not just the athletics department, but also the University. 

Which is why Altgeld Hall’s fundraiser this coming Saturday is more crucial than ever. Landmarks such as Altgeld, the Alma Mater, Foellinger Auditorium and the Illini Union are strangely the faces of our University, staples that spring to mind when people think about our school.

The state of the current administration has provided a great deal of questions and concerns for the University community and for alumni of any year. Yet, for those alumni, it’s the creaky floorboards of the Union, the lack of air conditioning in Noyes, and most importantly the chimes of Altgeld’s bells that still ring through their heads. 

At 118 years old, Altgeld Hall still stands on campus after two world wars and 17 University presidents. The building still looms over the Main Quad, which, at the time Altgeld was built only featured a few others, like the Natural History Building and Harker Hall. 

For some context — the Alma Mater is 86 years old. Foellinger Auditorium is 108 years old. Davenport Hall is the closest at 116 years old. The Union is 75 years old. Its age and history makes it a crucial part of the campus, but it also means the building is desperate for renovations.

From the building to the actual supplies within it’s one of the most used and, in turn, in need of construction and care. 

And as construction continues to grow across campus, the University is still looking for funds to work on one of campus’ most prominent and eldest figureheads. 

Altgeld’s jukebox this weekend is not just an innovative way of showcasing one of our proudest establishments, but also honors the building by what it and Chimesmaster Sue Wood do best. We don’t have a specific playlist in mind, but we’re excited to see some of the iconic (and probably ridiculous) songs that will be requested. 

Altgeld hasn’t always just been home to the Department of Mathematics and a campus post office; it began as the University library then the College of Law. But it’s constantly the iconic tiled, pointed bell tower that continues to watch over our campus and us students, and we hope it can continue to stand for at least another 118 years. 

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