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University Historic District Walking Tour, Eastern Washington University
Item 4 of 20
This granite structure was the grand entrance to the Normal School in the days when students and visitors arrived on foot from the railroad depot at the other end of College Avenue or from their residences.

  • Heculean Pillars serve as gateway to the university
  • Herculean Pillars and Normal School Administration building in winter or 1937. Photo by Graham Dressler.
  • Students wait for the arrival of President Harry S. Truman in May 1950. Photo from Kinnickinik 1950.

Soon after the 1896 Normal School building burned down in 1912, students and the members of the Alumni Association came up with the idea to create a memorial to their beloved school using the granite stones from the old foundation. By 1914, they had raised over $1,200, and they hired builder, O.L. Hoof of Spokane to create the entrance. The workmen finished the pillars in time for the May 1915 dedication of the new Normal School administration building.

At times the entrance gate has been called the Gates of Knowledge, the Pillars of Hercules, and finally, the Herculean Pillars. They still serve as the symbolic entrance to the university.

Granite foundation stones from the 1896 school were also purchased by the Women's Relief Corps for the base of the veterans memorial that stands a block east in Veterans Park.

Kinnickinik 1916; Kinnickinik 1950; Historic Preservation Commission; Guide to the Eastern Washington University Campus Historic District; 2003; The Southwest Spokane County Historical Society photograph collection.