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UNC Pembroke is a campus full of landmarks and points of interest that include the arrowhead, located in front of historic Old Main, the quad where students can be seen studying and the Lowry Bell Tower, which chimes the alma mater daily.
Indian head on the front of this great
- 1959 Indianhead
The Arrowhead was built by J. (Joseph) Hampton Rich (1874-1949), a newspaper owner from Mocksville, N.C., who erected 358 stone monuments across America from 1913 to 1938, according to Everett Gary Marshall, his biographer.
Mr. Rich, Marshall writes, was a Good Roads advocate. The initial objective was to bring public sentiment to bear on state legislators to improve highways. He'd convince town leaders that what the town needed was a Daniel Boone marker. Money would be raised, he'd build the marker and off he'd go to the next town.
Rich also raised monuments to other American heroes, including Davey Crockett, Abraham Lincoln and Cherokee Chief Sequoia. According to Marshall, UNCPs marker has a "Sequoia tablet" on one side and a buffalo trail marker on the other. The Buffalo Trail marker is supposedly there to identify original Buffalo traces that were then used by Native Americans and early colonists, that eventually became routes for modern highways, Marshall said. The UNCP marker has been registered in our database as monument no. 136. That is, I have documented 136 original sites, of which 47 still survive with a monument and/or marker.
Although its exact construction date has never been determined (probably in 1933), UNCPs Arrowhead has been moved twice since it was erected. It was originally located on the Quad between Old Main and Sampson Hall. The Arrowhead was rebuilt after the first move. In November 1985, it was moved directly in front of Old Main where it rests today.
Located in the lobby of Lumbee Hall, the black terrazzo sculpture was commissioned by the North Carolina Artworks for State Buildings Program.
The sculpture, a six-and-a-half foot, vessel-shaped piece, symbolizes the Lumbee River and its indigenous plant life, says its artist Kenneth Matsumoto of San Jose, California, who refers to the river as the “Lumbee River.”
Bronze leaves embedded in the sculpture represent the lush vegetation seen throughout the Intercoastal Plains of North Carolina.
Inside the opening at the top of the sculpture is water from the Lumber River.
“When I discovered the Lumbee River and its beautiful blackness, I thought about this water and the symbolism we (as people) attach to water,” he said.
He reflected on the parallel symbolism he felt applied in seeing his artwork as a container, and how in a metaphysical sense, many of us view our bodies as “vessel for our spiritual souls.” Matsumoto added that, to him, the water also symbolizes a sense of spiritualism and rebirth.
As the tones roll across the area and rise into the skies, let them remind us of this educational institution and of fine people like Ira Pate and Reba Lowry who contributed to the growth of Pembroke.
- Excerpt from the Bell Tower dedication in 1981
The Lowry Bell Tower, located next to Old Main, and in the middle of The Quad, has been a campus landmark since its dedication on May 10, 1981. UNCP’s alma mater, Hail to UNCP, along with other selections can be heard at noon and 6 p.m.
Lowry Bell Tower is named after the late Ira Pate Lowry (1906 - 1992) and his wife Reba Millsaps Lowry (1906 - 1980). The Lowrys contributed $20,000 to pay for the carillon bells and chimes and friends of the university contributed $30,000 for the tower.
Born near Maryville, Tenn., Mrs. Lowry, who wrote the lyrics to Hail to UNCP in 1954, served the university for 40 years. She was an instructor in the Foreign Language Department, advisor to The Indianhead, first Dean of Women, director of the Pembroke Players and women’s basketball coach. She was also the first woman to join the Chancellor’s Club.
Mr. Lowry, from the Elrod community south of Pembroke, organized and served as chair of the Music Department from 1935-57. In 1954, he wrote the music to Hail to UNCP. From 1957-71, he taught music at Pembroke Senior High School.
Bell towers make such wonderful additions and produce such beautiful tones, Lowry said. Music has been such a part of my life. This tower will be beautiful to the ear as well as the eye. – Ira Pate Lowry
Old Main is the most recognizable symbol of UNCP. Constructed in 1923, gutted by fire in 1973 and restored in 1979, Old Main is the oldest brick building on campus. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Old Main originally housed administrative offices, classrooms and an auditorium.
Today, the first floor houses the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the television station WNCP, and the Native American Resource Center. On the second floor are the departments of American Indian Studies, Geology and Geography and Mass Communication, the Teaching and Learning Center, the Esther G. Maynor Honors College, The Pine Needle (student newspaper), and the College of Arts and Sciences.
As one first enters Old Main, a sign on the wall tells the story of the origins of the name "Old Main." It reads:
The red-tailed hawk symbolizes the courage, speed, power and vision for athletes and all students to aspire to.
- Chancellor Emeritus Joseph Oxendine
The Tommy Statue was in place for just four days when its legend took hold at UNCP. Senior Braves basketball player Chavis Rachel was photographed by a passing Fayetteville Observer photographer climbing the rock to touch the hawk for good luck before the Homecoming game on February 13, 1999. With the Braves down by two points, Rachel made a desperation three-point attempt that – perhaps guided by an unseen hand -- found nothing but net to win the game. Rachel's visit with the hawk was not revealed until the following Thursday when the photograph was published by the newspaper.
The life-size bronze statue of the University's mascot, a gift from the Class of 1999, is located in front of the James B. Chavis University Center.
The bronze statue is 22-inches tall with a 57-inch wingspan and weighs 150 pounds. It sits on a pedestal of raw granite, weighing close to 16 tons and stands over nine-feet tall.
Art Department Professor Paul Van Zandt completed the project in 16 weeks. It was crafted after close observations of a red-tailed hawk, which is indigenous to Robeson County.
Located next to the Lowry Bell Tower and between the Livermore Library and the D.F. Lowry Building, the water feature and amphitheatre was dedicated February 16, 2002. It has quickly become a focal point of student interest and activity.
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