The spring 2015 edition of On Wisconsin, the UW Madison alumni magazine, has a fascinating look at some of the original buildings on campus. The old Law School building, constructed in 1891, is one of the featured buildings.
Ever wonder why the gargoyle is the UW Law School’s mascot? It all has to do with those two gargoyles that sit atop the old building.
From the Law School Legends and Lore website:
Until that building was torn down in 1962, these two sentinels watched the comings and goings of students, faculty and staff. When the wrecking ball hit the building, no one thought of saving them until then-Dean George Young, walking up Bascom Hill, noticed that one had survived its fall and lay intact on the grass. Dean Young immediately decided that it should be preserved. When the new building opened, Dean Young had it installed outside the main entrance. Over the next thirty years, the Gargoyle once again watched over the School….
In the years since Dean Young rescued the original, the Gargoyle has become the symbol of the School: it lends its name to our alumni magazine, it graces the cover of the Wisconsin Law Review, and its image has been applied to ties, coffee cups, tee shirts and even wrist watches. While few would call it handsome, its strength, longevity and good fortune are appropriate to lend to one of the oldest and finest law schools in the country.