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Lavina Spindler Hall for Women and Bas-Relief Decorations

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bullet Many of the campus buildings constructed between 1938 and 1942 were ornamented with carved sandstone bas-relief sculptures.  These buildings include the Manual Arts Building, Spindler Hall for Women, Vandercook Hall for Men, and The Theatre (corner of Oakland Dr. and Oliver St.).  The main entrance of Spindler Hall, facing Oliver St., features the building name inscribed above the doors with a carved relief on either side.  Spindler Hall was completed in 1940.

bullet The Spindler Hall reliefs have titles incorporated into the works.  They depict female students and a female figure in a mentoring relationship. 

bullet The titles "Critic", "Director", "Dean", and "Advisor" all reflect positions of mentoring or guidance.  While today's common usage lends negative connotations to "critic", a more classical definition of the word is

"one who expresses reasonable opinions or judgments on truth, righteousness, beauty or value." 

bullet The relief titles also refer to Lavina Spindler herself, who served at Western from 1906 to 1939.  Her positions included Director of the Campus School, Dean of Women, and Freshman Advisor.

bullet It is not known who designed any of the bas-reliefs.  Through the years many faculty have freely given time and talent in support of the institution, and one of them may have designed these.  John Kemper, faculty from 1942 to 1970, is well-known for his graphic designs and murals, but the bas-reliefs pre-date his tenure.  Lydia Siedschlag, faculty and, later, head of the Art Department, decorated the interiors of all building built from 1936 through the 1950's, but there are no records that she dealt with the exterior facades or architectural details.

Front Entrace Spindler Hall for Women
Entrance, Lavina Spindler Hall

Bas-Relief on Left Side of Entrance:  "Director / Critic"
"Director and Critic"

Bas-Relief on Right Side of Entrance:  "Adviser / Dean"
"Dean and Adviser"

 

 

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