A Place Apart, by Tom Griffin & Jon Marmor


Memorial Way

Photo © Loyd C. Heath. Click photo to enlarge.
Memorial Way—the University's ceremonial entrance to campus from N.E. 45th Street—is an outdoor cathedral. The London Plane (sycamore) trees planted on Armistice Day, 1920, to honor the 58 UW alumni, students and faculty, (57 men, one woman) who died during World War I form a gorgeous, haunting canopy. (Although 58 were planted in 1920, today 101 trees grow along the one-quarter-mile segment of Memorial Way from N.E. 45th Street to the campus flagpole.) The entrance to the street, while not enveloped by the trees, is framed by two, stone pylons that were placed there in 1928. They carry plaques with the names of University people who lost their lives in World War I. The plaques are kept as alive as the trees, as one local fraternity requires its pledges to polish the names of its listed brothers to this very day. But it is the trees that really transport you, no matter the season. You can lose yourself as you walk down the sidewalk under the droopy branches toward the heart of campus. Emerging at the open space surrounding the main campus flagpole, you know you have just been someplace special.—Jon Marmor

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