Dunce Cap

When viewing Wilson Library from South Building, the top of the bell tower is visible, aligned with the center of the dome and looking like an old-fashioned dunce cap atop a student's head. One of the persistent rumors around campus is that this was done deliberately by John Motley Morehead, who was angry when Louis Round Wilson wouldn't let him put the bell tower on top of the library. In fact, Morehead's first suggestion was to put a bell tower on top of South Building. When the trustees rejected this plan, the library was suggested, but Wilson pointed out that loud bells reverberating over a quiet reading room would not make for the best study environment. Morehead was eventually persuaded that a freestanding bell tower would be best and the current site was chosen.


Date Established: 1931

Date Range: 1931 – Present