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How N.C. State’s 1914 Stone Fountain Became a Planter

A forgotten N.C. State University landmark, a 7-foot tall granite drinking fountain, stands hidden behind Primrose Hall on campus. The monument was a gift of the class of 1914 and originally stood in the quad between Holladay and Leazar Halls. Leazar was the dining hall back then, so it made sense to place the 4-sided fountain in a space that was essentially a student hangout. Photos in old year books show the fountain in the center of a well-worn network of paths running through the barren dirt yard. I’m not sure how or when it was moved to its current location, but it has been there for as long as I can remember.

When I first arrived at N.C. State many years ago I spent a lot of time exploring the older part of campus, and the 1914 fountain was one of my first discoveries. At that time it appeared neglected and long forgotten. Moss was growing on it and its four stone bowls were filled with dirt and debris.

At that time the ground floor of Primrose Hall housed the campus police department. One day, as I was cutting through that part of campus, probably on my way to pay a parking ticket, I spotted some unusual vegetation sprouting from one of the fountain’s stone bowls. Ever curious, I approached to investigate. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw an 8” plant of the cannabis sativa variety growing in the bowl. The irony of that little plant growing at the doorstep of the campus police department was not lost on me!

When I got home that afternoon I told my roommate of the discovery, and of course he had to see for himself. So the next day we returned, but by then the sprout had disappeared! Now, I have no idea if the plant was spotted by another student who perhaps liberated it, or if somebody in the campus police department eradicated it. But to this day whenever I walk by the 1914 fountain I always think of that pot plant.

Oh, the stone bowls are now fastidiously kept clear of any sort of growing material.

This is where that special plant took root so long ago.

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