Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Swings, The

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Institution Name: Seton Hill University
Original/Historic Place Name: The Lawn Swings
Location on Campus: scattered about the campus behind the main buildings on the south campus
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
ca. 1886construction information unknown Unknown
Type of Place: Landscape site
Type of landscape–
Small-scale features:
The lawn swings consist of two double seat benches facing each other with a slatted floor between them, all hung from a metal frame which allows them to swing back and forth; they are painted green, and during the summer they are covered by an awning; used extensively by students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
Other characteristics:
ca. 1886-present (2007)outdoor space (place for relaxation)

Significance: architecture, culture, education, religion
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The swings have been a feature of the campus since the days of St. Joseph's Academy. Several years ago planning consultants suggested removing the swings, saying that they gave the campus the look of an "Old Folks Home." They disappeared from the campus when the Administration Building was being renovated. The students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and the Sisters of Charity, objected strongly.

The Swings were well-worn and in rather poor condition after decades of use. They were all repaired and have now been bolted to cement blocks sunk into the ground. This helps keep them level and in one place. They no longer grace the front (south) campus. Instead, they are scattered in the less "public" areas. Students and their visitors make good use of them, especially in good weather.

The swings were and are an important part of the campus history and environment. Classes have frequently met on and around the swings, especially when classes were small and lent themselves to an informal teaching method. They also provide a quiet place for individual and group study and are a great place to relax and enjoy the weather and the view.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Boyle, Mary Electa. Mother Seton's Sisters of Charity in Western Pennsylvania. Greensburg, PA: Seton Hill, 1946.

Troutman, R. Dwight. "Hazard Yet Forward: A History of Seton Hill College." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 1978.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections, Facilities Management Office
Other: Secretary of the Sisters of Charity, DePaul Center, 463 Mt. Thor Rd.

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