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800 Seasons: Walking tour
Item 3 of 7
The Well House is one of the oldest and most beloved structures on the IU campus. It was built in 1908 and covers the original well that served the college and community. In fact, water from this well saved old Wylie Hall from destruction during a fire in 1900. The structure was a gift from Theodore F. Rose in 1908.

  • The Well House was constructed in 1908 and remains one of the iconic landmarks on the IU campus.
The Well House quickly became the most romantic location on campus, perhaps because it was located about halfway between the male and female dormitories. Kissing at midnight soon became a rite of passage. Reflecting the gendered history of early college campuses where female students represented thirty to forty percent of the student body prior to the mid-20th century, a dated tradition asserted that a female student is not "a true co-ed" until she had been kissed by her sweetheart beneath the dome of the Well House when the clock hits midnight. This tradition once held a bit more risk, as the women's dormitory had a curfew an hour prior to midnight. Today, female students represent a majority of the student population and also lead their male counterparts in GPA and graduation rates. 
IU Student Life and Traditions. Indiana University. Accessed March 16, 2016.