Thursday, November 10, 2011

Game Day:
Wabash campus compact, rich in tradition

The campus of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind., about 45 minutes northwest of Indianapolis in Montgomery County, is compact yet thoughtfully designed, studded with traditional brick structures distinguished by architecturally striking white-column entryway supports. Many of these overlook the mall (pictured at top) north of Byron P. Hollett Stadium, which sits near railroad tracks on the south end of campus.

These tracks serve as sort of a magnet for pregame activity on football Saturdays: Tailgaters gather on both sides of the ties. Some of the school's newer athletic facilities were developed south of the tracks in an area that, according to one longtime alumnus I talked to at halftime of Saturday's football game, had been hampered by neglect in the period before the new construction.

I saw no evidence of that onetime blight this past Saturday, when I visited Wabash to photograph the Little Giants' 28-17 North Coast Athletic Conference victory over previously unbeaten Wittenberg. What I did see in much of the area immediately adjacent to the railroad tracks was parked cars and tailgating in the hour or so before kickoff. Howard Hewitt, director of New Media/Web Content for Wabash College, told me that tailgating starts much earlier than when I arrived ... and is a lot more extensive than you'll find at other small colleges. Many alumni return to Wabash for football Saturdays, so it's a big deal.

The fact is, tailgating -- a fun way to reconnect with friends and to sustain tradition -- has become part of the experience wherever the game is played -- in the NFL and at college and high school stadiums alike. Only the names, team/school colors and weather -- OK, and possibly a menu offering or two -- might change from one place to another. And while most tailgating at Wabash was going on in the vicinity of the railroad tracks, there was one group tailgating outside a building at the southwest quadrant of the college mall, which you'll see pictured within the campus images below.

For a look at a full gallery of images of Wabash College and game day tailgating, visit this link.

Above: Pioneer Chapel famously situated behind the visiting school stands -- but in full view of the home crowd.

Above: The railroad tracks serving as a sort of tailgating gravitational force, aided largely by the roomy area to park vehicles. This view looks down from the top of the home team bleachers.

Above: Morris Hall (upperclass housing) on the left, and the back side of Frank Hugh Sparks campus center on the right.

Above: A long-range view of the back side of Frank Hugh Sparks campus center, the student union.

Above: The campus bookstore. You descend a staircase to get to the main entrance to the building from this view along the main, brick-covered pedestrian path.

Above: A look at the brick-paved walkway through campus, not far from the bookstore.

Above: At the south end of the college mall, with a little bit of the front of Pioneer Chapel on the left and a lone group of tailgaters straight ahead in the distance.

Above: Back side of the Frank Hugh Sparks campus center, which houses student recreational, cafeteria and lounge facilities.

Above: Front side of the Frank Hugh Sparks campus center. This side faces the campus mall.

Above: One front view of Pioneer Chapel.

A closeup of the pregame tailgaters at the southwest quadrant of the college mall along.

Above and below: Captures from the arboretum on the northeast fringe of campus.

Above: Looking north onto Wabash Avenue at the north end of campus.

Above and below: More captures from the arboretum on the northeast fringe of campus.

Above and below: Postgame activity back at the campus mall.

Above: Another front view of Pioneer Chapel.

Above: Heading home, lugging portable game-day seating through the arboretum.

Above: The Fine Arts Center, east of Grant Street. 


  1. Nice capture of the colorful trees and fine buildings on campus, some with interesting architecture. I didn't realize the campus was that big or its buildings primarily brick. Thanks for bringing that very nice campus into my living room...

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