One of the weirder, and more popular, reality shows on television these days is A&E's Hoarders, about people who compulsively save everything—no matter how cumbersome or seemingly useless. You never know when something might come in handy!For several years now passersby on Elmgrove Avenue may well have wondered whether Brown administrators were getting a little wacky in their thrift. Salvaged when wrecking balls demolished the old Marvel Gymnasium in 2002, the stranded cupola has stood unceremoniously on the building's former site ever since, as if silently cheering the rugby players on the adjacent Aldrich Field. At fifty feet tall, it wasn't exactly unobtrusive.
This summer and fall a crew of carpenters, painters, and metalworkers set to work on it, giving the cupola a face-lift and a new copper dome. And on October 8, it got its fifteen minutes of fame. A small crowd gathered alongside TV crews to watch a crane hoist the 19,000-pound structure and balance it atop Brown's latest athletic facility on Hope Street. There, it crowns a complex housing the Jonathan Nelson Fitness Center, the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center, the David J. Zucconi Varsity Strength and Conditioning Center, and the Ittleson Quadrangle.
See a video on the cupola history and install here.
Photo by Erik Gould.