Each week, Destination Hudson will present a photograph of something in Hudson.
We will also include an interesting fact about our town. Our hope is that you will enjoy the facts about your hometown, and if you don't know where the photograph was taken, you'll go find out.
The answers will be printed in the Hudson Hub-Times, and posted on Destination Hudson's Facebook page and at the Visitor Center.
Indeed - there are gargoyles on Western Reserve Academy's campus, and I have seen three of them - one white one on the back of the John D. Ong Library, and two grey ones on the northern end of the Knight Fine Arts Center, visible from Oviatt Street. However, there are two on the Library, and one each on two buildings on Prospect Street - Burton D. Morgan Hall and Long House . I plan to explore further.
It all came about because gargoyles were a life-long passion of James Stevenson, who acted as owner's representative during construction of the Knight Fine Arts Center and filled a similar function when the new library was under construction. Stevenson grew up in Hudson, graduated in the WRA class of 1943, and was a long-time trustee. According to John Ong, Jamie (as he was known to everyone) was a wonderful friend and distant cousin of his. His portrait hangs inside the John D. Ong Library as you walk in the back door. It may have been a chance comment made at a meeting that resulted in the gargoyles. Ong and Stevenson were looking over conceptual drawings of the new library with the architect. Ong remembered, "I said that I was very favorably impressed by the design, at which Jamie jokingly commented that…he had figured that I would prefer something that looked more like a Gothic cathedral."
Later, Stevenson conspired with the architect to have a number of gargoyles mounted on the roof line of the Library - a surprise to all when construction was completed.
According to Nancy Stevenson, James' widow, Stevenson carefully researched to be sure that it was appropriate to place gargoyles on school buildings. Although early gargoyles served as drain spouts to move water away from buildings, and their reputation is one of keeping away evil spirits, in the 19th century they became more of a decoration than anything else. Other scholarly institutions where gargoyles can be found include Princeton University, the University of Chicago and Duke University.