An article originally published in fall 1993 shares the secrets of the tower perched atop Linton Hall.

Early issues of The Graduate Post, the newsletter produced by the Graduate School beginning in fall 1993, featured articles about campus architectural icons. The spring 1995 issue included an article about the tower of Linton Hall. Linton Hall served as the home of the Graduate School until 2014, and our unit now occupies one of the suites that was once a part of the Graduate School. Below is the article written by then Graduate Post editor Mark Galik.

What Is In Linton Hall Tower?

Those who walk past Linton Hall, especially those who regularly enter by the west door, may have looked up and wondered what was in the unique and distinctive tower. The ascending pairs of dark and vacant windows seem to suggest the existence of hidden spaces in the building’s upper reaches. Was the tower ever occupied? Can it be accessed?

As much as we would like to imagine some scholar’s retreat concealed up in the spire, full of dusty tomes and forgotten artifacts, the tower, in fact, has never contained finished rooms or offices. Since there is no direct ascent from the first floor, the tower must be accessed through a third-floor storage area, up a ten-foot-high ladder into the building’s attic. The attic itself is empty except for electrical panels, wooden rafters, and the oddly-angled flues of brick chimneys, now shorn off and roofed over to prevent rain and snow leakage. Toward the front of the building, the space below the tower is blocked by a mass of machinery and ductwork which, in Linton Hall’s incarnation as the Administration Building, provided air conditioning to President Hannah’s office. One must climb over this machinery to reach the space beneath the tower.

The tower itself contains three separate floors made of unfinished wood, each of them accessible via fixed ladders. The second and third levels have two sealed windows on each of the tower’s four sides, and these windows provide rare and marvelous overhead views of the campus and its buildings. Nothing compares, however, to the wonders of the uppermost level, which, from the outside, occupies the white section just below the spire. This small, dark room, like a camera obscura, provides perfect miniature views of the campus far below, charmingly framed by the pairs of small, arched windows. Directly overhead, soaring up into the darkness, are the interior wooden structural elements of the spire itself. With the aid of a strong light, one can see all the way up into the chiseled point of the tower. The feeling of this unusual space, so isolated and quiet—far above the busy world below, has evidently impressed the rare visitors who have ascended to it. Their names are etched there in the aged wood, in messages dating back to 1937. Perhaps they, too, inspired by what they saw, wished to partake somehow of the timelessness and permanence of one of MSU’s oldest and most beautiful structures.


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