Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
I write a “Where is the Big Chair?” Ask the Gazette about three or four times every year. Each time, we’re sent a panicked e-mail from a concerned student, and each time Vice President of Facilities Stu Hain responds with a reassuring e-mail that it’ll be back soon, that it’s just going under some maintenance work.
But it is with a heavy heart that I report this devastating piece of news. According to Hain, the Big Chair, as we’ve known it for the past couple of years, is not going to appear ever again. “When Jake Beckman [’04] built the chair it was as a piece of art and not built of materials that would hold up under the stresses they received,” Hain explained. “We fixed it many times. It is now beyond our ability to make it safe without changing Jake’s intent.” Readers will recall Hain explaining earlier this year that the chair needed extra maintenance, as well as a longer than usual winter hibernation last year.
Have heart, dear readers. Though perhaps we shall not see the original Big Chair again, Facilities is working with Beckman and a structural engineer to design a new chair built from more sound materials. “We hope Jake will begin that work later this spring as his schedule permits,” says Hain.
Though this may provide some consolation to members of the Swarthmore community, The Big Chair shall always be in our hearts. Big Chair: You will be missed.
Please leave thoughts, prayers, memories, and kinds words in the comments section.