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Orton Hall bell tower as seen from Mirror Lake
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Orton Hall

Orton Hall

Orton Hall, one of the oldest remaining buildings on campus, opened in 1893 and is named after Dr. Edward Orton, Sr. who was Ohio State's first president, Professor of Geology 1873-1899, and Ohio's State Geologist from 1882 until his death in 1899. Orton Hall is a tribute to this man's dedicated service towards the understanding of the geology of Ohio. From the clay tiles in the entrance hall to its walls and foundations, Orton Hall is built of forty different Ohio building stones. In the outside walls, these stones are laid in stratigraphic order according to their relative positions in Ohio's bedrock and the capitals of the numbered columns in the entrance hall contain carvings of fossils. The bell tower was dedicated in 1915 and contains 25,000 pounds of bells that can be heard regularly tolling across campus in the key of E flat. Encircling the top of the tower are 24 columns with gargoyle-like figures which are restorations of fossil animals. Because of its unique architectural features, which have made it a campus landmark, Orton Hall has been entered into the National Register of Historic Places. It presently contains the Orton Geological Museum, the Orton Geological Library, and School of Earth Sciences research laboratories.