Wending A Stony Way Through Campus

By the end of the tour, visitors know what is and what is not a gargoyle, and discover the only decorative aspect of Ballantine Hall.

  • Maxwell Hall-elevation, edit

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    Photo: Indiana Geological Survey

    Maxwell Hall was built in the Romanesque Revival style in 1890 to house the university's library.

  • Maxwell Hall-IU-Limestone Carvings, snake, edit

    Image 2 of 4

    Photo: Indiana Geological Survey

    The carving of a snake adorning the entrance to Maxwell Hall is the work of a local artisan.

  • well house sw, edit

    Image 3 of 4

    Photo: Indiana Geological Survey

    The Rose Well House integrates limestone from the university's original campus at Seminary Square.

  • Well House, foliage, edit

    Image 4 of 4

    Photo: Indiana Geological Survey

    The Well House at the heart of the Old Crescent.

This month marks the third annual celebration of Monroe and Lawrence Counties’ limestone heritage.

One Medium With Many Fans

Limestone Month‘s programming has included a little something for everyone, from the sculptors who come from around the world to carve at the Indiana Limestone Symposium, to the rock nerds who show up for the Gem Mineral Fossil Show Swap, to the hearty types who embark on a tour of the world’s only underground limestone quarry.

As part of the month’s offerings, Brian Keith of the Indiana Geological Survey offers walking tours of masterpieces in limestone on the Bloomington campus.

Having worked on the staff of the Indiana Geological Survey at Indiana University for more than thirty years, the Senior Scientist admits to a “love affair with limestone” that’s lasted nearly that long.

A Story Underneath Our Feet

Keith’s tours give tourists and townsfolk alike the opportunity to learn about how the IU campus ended up where it is, the major architectural styles of the campus buildings, and the native limestone that has served as a constant from the nineteenth century to the present.

“The stone underneath our feet,” Keith reminds the group, “is the same stone that’s on the buildings.”

Keith’s 90-minute tour focuses on the historic Old Crescent section of campus, with forays beyond it. By the end of the tour, visitors will know the difference between the High Victorian Gothic and Collegiate Gothic styles of architecture, what is and what is not, technically, a gargoyle, and the only decorative aspect of Ballantine Hall.

In addition to the tours he offers during Limestone Month, Brian Keith occasionally offers tours to such groups as the Bloomington Newcomers’ Club. He may be contacted at keithb@indiana.edu.

Yaël Ksander

Raised in Alexandria, Virginia, Yael holds a MFA in painting from Indiana University, an MA in art history from Columbia University, and a BA from the University of Virginia, where she studied languages and literature. She joined WFIU in 2000, where she hosts music and talk programs, and produces features on artists, writers, musicians and other creative people for Artworks. Yael co-hosts A Moment of Science and writes essays for A Moment of Indiana History. She enjoys getting to know WFIU listeners--from those who submit commentaries for Speak Your Mind to those who provide the comments she reads on Saturday mornings.

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