Simpson’s best kept secret locations

by Steffi Lee

In order to fulfill the “Simpson Experience,” students must go beyond internship opportunities and classroom sessions.

They need to explore the best kept secrets of Simpson College: the places on campus that go unnoticed.

With the transition to Kent Campus Center, Hopper Gym isn’t necessarily in high demand by Simpson students anymore. One of the places often empty is the basement of Hopper Gym.

“It’s like something from Silence of the Lambs,” said Nicolas Proctor, professor of history.

Proctor credits his curiousity over the past 14 years in finding these little to unknown spots on campus.

Hopper’s basement isn’t the only location overlooked. There’s also a crawl space on third floor of Kresge Hall, which according to urban legend, was the site of a female student’s suicide.

And no student can forget the bell tower stairs in Smith Chapel.

“[The bell tower stairs are great] because you go up to one level and you think you’re all the way up,” said Proctor. “But then you go up another level and it’s just this succession of secret places as you climb higher up. You don’t really have a sense about how high up you are because they’re all interior spaces.”

College Hall also has bell tower stairs, but Proctor explained how Mildred Hedges’ old bedroom holds a creepier vibe. In 1935, Mildred allegedly fell to her death after falling from 35 feet above, and as a result, her ghost stories are notorious among Simpson’s community.

“There’s like a bedroom up on third floor,” Proctor said. “I love that bedroom. It’s so incongruous, you know. You’re in there, in the Red and Gold room, and you’re at some kind of lunch meeting or something, and there are boxes around and awards around, and then you open this door and there’s this sort of little, perfect, tiny bedroom there. There should be a little, old lady living in there or something.”

Beyond the creepy urban legends, faculty and students alike sometimes forget to realize there’s a greenhouse on top of Carver Science Hall.

“Well, I think that people just don’t realize that there’s a greenhouse on top of Carver,” said Proctor. “I think probably 9 out of 10 people have no idea that it’s up there, but then you’re up there and it’s one of those things where you have to go through another room to get to it. I think that’s part of what turns it into a neat space.”

For Human vs. Zombies fanatics, the [Amy Robertson Music Center] may just be the perfect spot to increase the intensity level of the game.

“The music building tunnel is great,” Proctor said. “I think especially if you’re playing Human vs. Zombies, because the number of times I’ve ducked into the music building or [Smith] Chapel when fleeing zombies, for whatever reason, they don’t know that the tunnels are there, so you can get halfway across campus in those tunnels without people knowing that you’re there.”

Some mysterious aspects of Dunn Library are definitely worth exploring. Beyond the “floating door” leading to the school’s archives, there’s something concealed that at first glance, wouldn’t appear to be what it really is.

“[The concealed metal book in Dunn] is one of the best hidden in plain sight things,” said Proctor. “It looks like it’s a metal plaque that’s on the wall of the second floor of the library, but if you reach your fingers back, you can pop it open. There’s actually a metal book that’s built into the wall. It’s totally one of those things that you don’t expect to be there.”

Proctor said the book lists the donors’ names at the time of the dedication in 1964. The book is located on the second floor of Dunn on the north wall.

“It’s got this great Lord of the Rings vibe, because it’s a metal book built into the wall,” Proctor said.

To top it all off, the full “Simpson Experience” can only be achieved by knowing which bathrooms are considered to be the best on campus.

“Also important are the two best bathrooms on campus,” said Proctor. “The best women’s bathroom is the bridal restroom in the basement of [Smith] Chapel, which is sort of like this mega-women’s bathroom. It has couches and stuff. The best men’s bathroom is on the ground floor of Hillman Hall, which is like where Don Draper goes to do his business.”

Proctor said it’s essentially a rite of passage for every Simpson student to use these restrooms.

“The urinals are like, bigger than today’s toilet,” Proctor said. “That [bathroom] is the one where I’m like, ‘I hope they never renovate this,’ because it’s just the best ever. No male should graduate from Simpson without using the men’s bathroom on the ground floor of Hillman. It’s like a rite of passage.”

So for every student, the Simpson seal isn’t the only legend they should actively seek out. Hidden locations and materials on campus will also help to build the “Simpson Experience.”