Mount Union College Dedicates Crescent on Simpson and Vincent

June 23, 2008

The childhood memories of Jane (Eynon ’46) Moncrief can be credited for spurring a campus renovation project at Mount Union College that has resulted in the rejuvenation of a favorite “play place” from her youth.  Saturday, Mount Union honored that location, known as the Campus Crescent, with a dedication ceremony that reunited long-time friends and celebrated the past.

The Campus Crescent, the “island” of land just north of the Hoover-Price Campus Center that joins Simpson and Vincent streets, was the beneficiary of a recent facelift that included the removal of dying trees and planting of new foliage including flowering pear, cherry and elm trees.  Decorative flowers and shrubbery also have enhanced the area, creating a welcoming entrance to those traveling to campus from the west on Vincent.

“This property has been idle for years and the College really wanted to spruce up the area,” said James Piatt Jr., vice president for advancement.  “It was Jane, though, who really led the charge.  She began to contact former friends from her youth who once lived in the neighborhood to discuss the project and encourage their support. Through her dedication and perseverance, the renovation has become a reality.”

Nearly 50 individuals contributed to the project, many of whom grew up in the neighborhood surrounding the crescent – a neighborhood that Moncrief’s grandfather, Walter Ellet, developed shortly after World War I.  A long-time member of the Mount Union Board of Trustees and former chair, Ellet also was the driving force behind the excavation of the Campus Lakes at the corner of Simpson Street and Union Avenue.

“I contacted those friends and former neighbors of mine, both in town and out of town, to discuss the idea of raising funds to renovate this property, and they were so receptive,” said Moncrief.  “It was such a great effort of childhood friends and neighbors coming together to beautify this area nearly a century later.”

According to Moncrief, the land had originally been given to the College by the Lamborn family but was sold to raise the money needed to build Lamborn Science Hall in 1912.  Ellet, who was a local real estate developer, was able to maximize the value of the Lamborn Gift and platted the area.  He did, however, leave the small crescent as an area for the community to enjoy.

The renovated property also is home to a pergola with a cedar wood swing, a feature that holds special significance for Moncrief since it is reminiscent of a similar pergola that existed on the property during her childhood.  She, along with her daughters and nieces, thought the swing would be a nice addition for the children of the neighborhood.

“The neighborhood is still of the same quality as it was when I first lived here, and it probably always will be because of the College,” said Moncrief.  “For years these streets have been home to professors, administrators and alumni – others like my family who are so involved with Mount Union.  Today, I still live here, just around the corner on Overlook, and the neighborhood still looks and feels the same as it did 83 years ago when I first arrived.”

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