On June 2, 1915, the Class of 1890 presented a gift to the University to mark the occasion of its 25th reunion: the pylon named Letters that now graces the right side of the 116th Street Gates at Broadway. From a 1915 issue of Spectator: “[Sculptor Charles Keck] has represented Letters in the form of a woman holding an open book. ... The first page contains the inscription ‘Hic Labor,’ while the second page read ‘Haec Quies.’ When freely translated this means: ‘Letters should be the employment of our serious hours as well as of our hours of leisure.’”
The article continues, “This is the first of a series of four similar pylons, to be placed on the four corners of 116th street between Broadway and Amsterdam. Across the street from Letters it is planned to place Science to accompany the group of Engineering buildings situated there. On the Hamilton Hall corner Arts will be erected, while Philosophy will occupy the remaining space. Each of these pylons will cost about $9,000 and will be presented by different classes for their twenty-fifth anniversary gift.”
In 1925, the Class of 1900 donated money for Science to join Letters on Broadway; however, future classes lost interest in completing the quartet (possibly due to the Great Depression and then WWII) and the Amsterdam pylons were never completed.
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