The landmark Hope College arch and pillars located at College Avenue between 10th and 12th streets have returned and are (literally) as good as new.
The arch was reinstalled early on Tuesday, April 11, following reconstruction of the supporting pillars the week before. The iconic structure had been removed in February after having been damaged on Wednesday, Jan. 25, when struck by a campus services vehicle making a delivery to nearby Graves Hall.
As it happened, the college had already intended to remove the arch during the winter months to recondition it. The pillars were additionally removed not only because of damage they sustained in the accident but because the base pieces had deteriorated across the century-plus that they had been in place.
Reinstallation had to wait for reliably warmer weather that would allow brickwork. The pillars feature new brick but were reconstructed to match their historic appearance, with additional provision for the option to add lighting on the pillars’ inward sides in the future (based on an early photo, the pillars had apparently been topped by lights in the pre-arch era). The original brick is being retained for other use on campus.
The pillars were donated by the Class of 1912 as the “front entrance” to campus in the days when Hope was largely bounded by College and Columbia avenues and 10th and 12th streets. The arch was added in 1940, given by the college’s chapter of the national Blue Key honor society. It stands among other campus landmarks including Graves Hall (1894), Voorhees Hall (1907), Dimnent Memorial Chapel (1929) and the college’s symbolic anchor (1965), as well as the A. Paul Schaap Science Center (1973, and 2003-4) and Van Wylen Library (1988).
The arch was also struck by a delivery truck in 2006. While restoring the arch following that accident, the college discovered that its weathered letters were made of brass and restored them to their original sheen.