Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nott Memorial Union College

I have always been struck by the beauty of the Nott Memorial on the campus of Union College in Upstate New York. I used to live in this area and was very happy when the building was restored. Recently, a friend found a small pewter replica of the building and sent it to me. (Don’t you just love when friends do that… thanks Bob!) The miniature pewter building stands 2 inches high and is marked: ‘94 Corosen. I researched the maker, corosen, but could find no information online. In 1993 the college began a complete renovation of the Nott, restoring it to its original design. This miniature may have been made to celebrate the renovations which were completed in 1995. The real Nott Memorial is an elaborate 16-sided stone building which serves as both architectural and physical centerpiece of Union College in Schenectady, New York. Dedicated to Eliphalet Nott, president of Union College for a remarkable sixty-two years (1804-1866), the 110-foot (34 m) high by 89-foot (27 m) wide structure is a National Historic Landmark. Officially designated Nott Memorial Hall but referred to by generations of students and faculty simply as "The Nott", the building's centrality and initial design is trace back to Josef Ramee's 1813 conception of the school grounds, the first planned college campus in the United States. The Memorial as executed was designed by Edward Tuckerman Potter, architect of area churches and homes, alumnus of the college, and grandson of President Nott. Construction began in 1858 and was completed in 1879. The result was and remains one of very few 16-sided buildings in the world. For nearly a century the Nott was mostly open inside. In 1961 the college moved its bookstore into the basement of the building and its theater into the first two floors, ideal for theater in the round. The upper floors were eventually closed off and fell into disrepair.After the renovations were complete in 1995 the Nott reopened on the celebration of Union's 200th anniversary. Once again, the center of the Nott is completely open to the top of its dome 102 feet (31 m) overhead. The main floor is a meeting room with seating for up to 400; the second and third levels ring the space and include galleries and informal meeting places for students. Two-hundred eighty-eight restored stained glass windows bathe the interior in colored light. Atop the dome an inscription in colored slate from the Talmud proclaims 'The day is short, the work is great, the reward is much, the Master is urgent.'. The Memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and was further declared a National. Also, check out this very well produced video about the history of the Nott Memorial. Have you seen this souvenir replica of the Nott Memorial? Know any more information about it? Let us know via the comments link below.

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