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1915 – Herculean Pillars

This granite structure was the grand entrance to the Normal School in the days when students and visitors arrived on foot from the railroad depot at the other end of College Avenue or from their residences.

Soon after the 1896 Normal School building burned down in 1912, students and the members of the Alumni Association came up with the idea to create a memorial to their beloved school using the granite stones from the old foundation. By 1914, they had raised over $1,200, and they hired builder, O.L. Hoof of Spokane to create the entrance. The workmen finished the pillars in time for the May 1915 dedication of the new Normal School administration building.

snow covers herculean pillars, trees, Showalter Hall
1938 view. Photo by Graham Dressler

At times the entrance gate has been called the “Gates of Knowledge,” the “Pillars of Hercules,” and finally, the “Herculean Pillars.” They still serve as the symbolic entrance to the university.

men and women in front of sign and pillars
Students wait for President Harry S Truman’s arrival in May 1950.

Granite foundation stones from the 1896 school were also purchased by the Women’s Relief Corps for the base of the veterans’ memorial that stands a block east in Veterans Park.

Pillars of Hercules | Spokane Historical

The impressive Herculean Pillars standing before you mark the formal entrance to Eastern Washington University.

Image of Gerald the Museum Mouse

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We are operated completely by volunteers and through your donations. We receive no government funding for our operations. All of your donations go to funding our efforts to research and preserve our history, and most importantly, share the stories with you both at the museum and beyond its walls.