Simpson Secrets: The library staircase to nowhere

Every set of stairs has a purpose of leading to another level of a building. Or so one would think.

But have you ever seen a flight of stairs that just stops and goes nowhere? If you’ve ever been on the second floor of Dunn Library, more than likely you have.

The flight of stairs that has no purpose is just past the classrooms on the second floor of the library. Built in 1964, the intention was to add a third floor to Dunn. At that time, the area that now houses the Hawley Center and the college archives was just a cement floor. This set of stairs was built in anticipation of connecting with the third floor.

“That third floor may have been a wire grid to hold more book shelves; you might have seen these floors in older libraries,” said librarian Cyd Dyer. “Those grids are no longer used.”

Since the Hawley Center is the closest there is to having a third floor, it’s obvious the plan for a third floor was never completed, leaving the set of stairs without a purpose.

So if the stairs have no purpose, why they are still there? When the library was built 45 years ago, the stairs were precast in concrete. Needless to say, they are going nowhere, and have remained embedded in the wall.

“Who knows? They might be used sometime in the future,” said Dyer. “But for now, they are one of Dunn’s unusual features!”