$100K donation helps restore Old Queens gate
Students walking past Old Queens campus may have noticed it is missing one of its historic landmarks: the Old Queens Gate.
But the gate, dedicated in 1904, has been taken down temporarily for restoration, and it is expected to be restored by mid-April.
"We are well aware of not only graduation dates but also Rutgers Day and Old Queens 200th birthday celebration on April 27," said Assistant Facilities Planner Elizabeth Reeves.
The University Facilities and Capital Planning department is responsible for overseeing the restoration project.
A member of the Class of 1902 designed the gate, and class members collected annual dues for the continued maintenance of the gate. But the members of the class have passed on, Reeves said.
The gate was dangerously close to being lost to decay, she said.
"Fortunately, the Class of 1956 has stepped up to the plate and declared ownership of the gate's restoration and care, for which the entire University community should be grateful," Reeves said. "On the occasion of their 50th reunion, the Class of 1956 raised and donated $100,000 for the project. The total cost of the project is $107,000."
Rutgers College senior Erica Parkes said the refurbishment of the gate is great.
"It is important to preserve Rutgers' historic symbols, and I definitely support the refurbishment of the gate," she said.
As part of the project, the masonry pillars, walls, benches and landscape will be repaired and restored to their original condition, Reeves said. The original lantern is also being restored and the Class of 1902 inscription replaced.
In recognition of the class gift, two of the glass panels on the lantern will be inscribed with "1956," which is the only significant change to the original historic design, she said.
"I really support the restoration. I think that it is a good demonstration by the Class of 1956 and would like to thank them for providing such a unique and highly meaningful gift to us and other future graduates," said Rutgers College junior Amit Chaudhari.
He said he would like restorations that make the structure sturdy and lustrous but do not sacrifice the gate's essence.
"[The gate's] elements are all being restored to their original state," Reeves said. "Unfortunately, like cleaning a closet, you have to make a mess to make it better."
Chaudhari said the gate has a myth behind it: Once students enter the gate, they cannot pass through them again until graduation, otherwise they will not graduate.
"I really do not believe in myths and have never met anyone who proved the myth to be true," Parkes said. "I do not believe that bad luck will stay with the gate. Regardless of the myth, I would like to see the gate refurbished to how it was originally."
Chaudhari said the gate is a structure that is venerated by all of the University community and serves to unify students on graduation day.
"I strongly believe that the gate is symbolic for Rutgers," he said. "Just thinking that every Rutgers College graduate has passed through that gate upon graduation helps me to realize its importance."
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