Monday, February 22, 2010

Regis College's Norman Tower Ceramic Replica

Recently, I found a ceramic replica of the Norman Tower on the campus of Regis College. The miniature stands 7 inches tall, has a gray finish and is solidly built. The top is open and looks as though it could have been made as a pen holder, drinking cup or something else. This souvenir building is not in 'The Book' (Monumental Miniatures), so I contacted the Regis College archivist to get more information. According to her, "The Tower is a college souvenir. They were likely sold in the college bookstore, but are not sold there now. The Tower is a music box and plays the college’s Alma Mater. There is no date on it." That answered a few questions including the fact that mine was missing the music portion. I see now that the bottom has an area which could have housed the wind-up mechanical workings of a music player. The school's campus is in Weston, Massachusetts, not far from Boston. Regis College Tower is an historic monument in the medieval French Norman Style erected on the property in 1911 by the original owner. A decorative stone structure, Designed by Harold S. Graves, was originally built to house a water tower and a Westminster clock and to enhance the estate setting. As part of the process of refining her estate, in 1911 Mrs. Morrison initiated the construction of the stone tower, "a copy of an old Tower in Chartres" that she had seen in her travels to France. Originally this medieval style tower served the dual purpose of water tower and clock tower, from which Westminster chimes reverberated over the countryside. Because it is one of the highest points in the town of Weston, in 1942 the tower became an observation post for the U.S. Army Air Force. Regular shifts of Weston residents manned the lookout tower twenty-four hours a day to watch for enemy airplanes. Today the edifice serves as a clock tower and chimes ring out on the hour with recorded music. Through the years the tower has been kept in excellent repair. An interior circular staircase leads to the roof, which affords an expansive view of the campus and surroundings. A long gravel path runs from the front of the tower to the main drive directly opposite the entrance to Morrison House connecting these two historic structures. Through the years students have walked this path during significant college events, such as the conferral of Cap and Gown and Graduation ceremonies that take place on the broad lawn in front of the tower. Frequently and historically the Tower has served as a visual symbol of the College on letterhead or as a design motif. Regis College is a Catholic liberal arts and sciences institution founded in 1927 by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston. After eight decades as a women-only college, Regis enrolled its first co-educational class in fall 2007. About 1,600 undergraduate and graduate co-ed students attend classes on the beautiful 132-acre campus.


Unknown said...
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Ashley Villandry said...

Hi! Where did you find this? It's great! Any chance you'd be interested in selling?

Unknown said...

The Alma Mater song is High on a Hilltop. My mother was a graduate of Regis and had that tower in our home. She would occasionally put a little water in the hollowed interior and a few small flowers, crank it up and play the tune.

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