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You’re Nuts: What is the best non-sports building on Ohio State’s campus?

Your (almost) daily dose of good-natured, Ohio State banter.

Ohio State University Holds Staggered Move-In To Enable Distancing As Students Return To Campus Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images

Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.

In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.

Today’s Question: What is the best building on Ohio State’s campus?

Jami’s Take: Pomerene Hall

I’m not going to sit here and pretend Orton Hall isn’t a stunning landmark and fixture of campus. The chimes? Magnificent. The bell tower? Iconic. View of the Oval? Not shabby at all.

But for someone whose favorite spot on campus wasn’t the Oval, another building comes to mind for me – Pomerene Hall.

Pomerene is where I took my art history classes, and more importantly, it overlooks my beloved Mirror Lake. But the building also has a history near and dear to my heart – it was the first building on campus for women.

In 1917, it was considered improper for women to study next to men as the presence of women would allegedly distract men from their studies, so women were limited to one room in University Hall. But as more and more women sought higher education opportunities, Ohio State needed more space for us.

And so, in 1922, Pomerene partially opened, with all construction completed in 1927, as the building for women on campus. Complete with a gym, lounges, classrooms, social rooms and a kitchen, Pomerene became a space for women to gather.

By the time I arrived at Ohio State, the idea of keeping men and women separate on campus was long gone, thankfully. And over the years, the use of the space has changed - it now serves as a modern research center for the Translational Data Analytics Institute at OSU.

But the history of Pomerene always spoke to me. I spent so many fond hours laughing with at Mirror Lake Creamery & Grill, housed in the building, and it always struck me as wonderful that I could sit there together with my guy friends and still find the same sense of community that women nearly a century before me had found. I am also trash for a good sandwich, and Mirror Lake Creamery had the best one on campus. We also cannot argue with the merits of ice cream, my friends – Orton Hall can’t offer that.

From its vantage point atop Mirror Lake, Pomerene looks like a medieval castle. The view is spectacular, and the Lake itself holds so many special memories for me. But most of all, the history of this building is a special one for me in that it created a home for so many women before me on campus, and I am grateful to them and to this space for the ways it paved the way for me all these years later.

Matt’s Take: Orton Hall

Jami well knows that the answer is, was, and always will be Orton Hall. She knows it because I once commissioned her to sketch me a drawing of the grand building that had I not literally moved yesterday I would take a picture and show you.

But the campus chimes are synonymous with Ohio State; they open our alma mater, thousands — perhaps millions — of young lovers have held hands and have traversed The Oval hoping to have the bells ring during their long walk, the building is one of the oldest still standing on campus, and it is breathtakingly beautiful.

Back in the early aughts, I was a University Ambassador (a.k.a. tour guide) and one of my favorite parts of the tour was talking about Orton Hall. While it has been nearly two decades since I’ve given a tour, I still remember high points from the script, especially about my favorite building.

Orton Hall consists of stone from all 88 counties in the state of Ohio, and the entire building is built of Ohio rock; except for the steps, which are Indiana limestone. Originally, they were made from limestone found in the Buckeye State, but our limestone is apparently not as durable as that of our Hoosier friends next door, and it fell apart for more quickly than one would need for the steps of such a glorious and historic building.

Another under-appreciated aspect of Orton Hall is its library. Now obviously the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library is an absolutely gorgeous architectural sight to behold, but the smaller, more traditional space just inside those Indiana limestone steps is the perfect space for students who love the more rustic, old-school charms of traditional libraries.

And while I am not someone who has ever had any interest in either geology or archeology, the museum inside Orton Hall is an absolute must. College buildings are known for their gorgeous facades, but once inside, they are often little more than standard classrooms; so to have specimen like those found in Orton Hall is truly a feather in the cap of the university.

Also, I must admit, I have a lot of fond memories involving Orton Hall. Thanks to a couple of organizations that I was in and honors I received while at Ohio State, I have had the opportunity to climb the circular stairs up the grand building’s tower in order to nestle in and play the campus chimes.

When I had the privilege nearly 20 years ago, they were operated by a small, color-coded keyboard, not dissimilar to what you would give a child learning to play piano before they even started kindergarten. While the hourly chimes were automated, I had the opportunity to manually plunk out the opening notes to “Carmen Ohio” (thanks to the handy-dandy color-coded sheet music).

I still consider both occasions to be highlights of my collegiate career. So, while Orton Hall would still deserve this honor had I never stepped foot in its hallowed halls, with the personal connection to my years as an Ohio State student, no one will ever be able to convince me that any building other than Orton Hall is the best on campus.


Who has the right answer to today’s question?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Jami: R.L. Stine
    (50 votes)
  • 75%
    Matt: J.K. Simmons
    (153 votes)
203 votes total Vote Now