posted July 15, 2006

Hope Arch Returns as Good as New

Sometimes there is virtue in necessity.

Earlier this summer, a delivery truck mistakenly backed into the "Hope College" arch that stands facing College Avenue in front of Graves Hall, damaging both the metal arch itself and the brick pillars that hold it.

After five weeks away for repair, the arch returned on Thursday, July 13, better than ever. In fact, who knew? It turns out that the letters in "Hope College" are made of brass, a quality hidden by decades of weathering and long lost to institutional memory. Cleaned and polished and now protected by a coating that should insure that they maintain their brilliance for years to come, they again shine brightly in the sun.

While away following the Tuesday, June 6, mishap, the metal arch that supports the letters was sandblasted and repainted. Repair work also included casting new cement caps to go atop the brick pillars and replacing bricks that were damaged in the accident.

The pillars were donated by the Class of 1912 as the "front entrance" to campus in the days when Hope was largely bounded by College and Columbia avenues and 10th and 12th streets. The arch was added in 1940, given by the college's chapter of the national Blue Key honor society. Today the campus occupies some 120 acres, although not all contiguous, ranging from Central Avenue to the west past Fairbanks Avenue to the east, and from Eighth Street to the north to 15th Street to the south. Even so, the arch continues to serve as a landmark. It can't help but do so, both as a distinctive campus feature in its own right and standing as it does surrounded by historic structures like Graves, Dimnent Memorial Chapel and Voorhees Hall, and by relative newcomers like the Van Wylen Library and the A. Paul Schaap Science Center.