EDINBORO, Pa. – The ageless bond between Edinboro University and its Scottish roots is about to get even stronger when the unique “Standing Stones at the Highlands” monument is formally dedicated Thursday afternoon.
A collaboration between the Edinboro University Foundation, the Student Government Association, Residence Life, the Facilities Department, faculty and others, the “Standing Stones at the Highlands” is a tribute to the University’s and the region’s Scottish heritage, a calming aqua pool with an actual stone map of Scotland that appears to be floating in the water. Surrounding the water feature are Megalithic columns similar to those found throughout Scotland, and plantings native to both that country and our local region.
Inspired by similar stone settings erected throughout Scotland and the British Isles during the period commonly known as the Megalithic Age (3500-1200 BC), Edinboro’s formal dedication ceremony of this residential centerpiece monument will be held Thursday at 2 p.m.
Situated in the pedestrian crossway of the new, $117 million Highlands at Edinboro University student housing project of eight suite-style buildings accommodating more than 1,600 students, and directly across Scotland Road from the Frank G. Pogue Student Center, this uniquely landscaped architectural structure celebrates the strength of Edinboro University and its Scottish heritage and traditions.
The University was founded in 1857 as the Edinboro Academy by the descendants of the region’s original Scottish pioneers, who brought their families across the mountains from Lycoming County in the late 1790s to settle in lush northwestern Pennsylvania. They named their community “Edinboro” after their beloved Edinburgh, Scotland.
The “Standing Stones” monument culminates the four-year Highlands project. Led by a team of individuals representing the University, Foundation, Student Government Association, Residence Life, faculty, staff and Weber Murphy Fox Architects, the concept of a Megalithic monument was developed and brought to fruition.
Megalithic rings are scattered over much of western Scotland in particular, and the circles are widely considered among the most awe-inspiring prehistoric monuments in the land.
At the Highlands, the “stones” standing outside the circle focus a visitor’s attention on a particular sightline – one bisecting Edinburgh, Scotland on the map and aligned in the actual direction to the Scottish capital.
Edinboro University’s incarnation of this Megalithic monument also acts as a compass that orients users to their surroundings (not unlike the Standing Stones of Stenness, an impressive Neolithic monument on the mainland of Orkney) with cardinal directions sandblasted on the four largest megaliths.
The circle also features a spectacular “floating” relief map of Scotland, highlighting relationships between the City of Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands. The map sits in the center of the circle and is accurately oriented to the north, south, east and west.
According to the team that collaborated to create the “Standing Stones at the Highlands,” the project was conceived to provide the sense of way finding and to make an intentional connection between Edinburgh and Edinboro. The conceptual design is to provide visitors, students, alumni and others with an eternal touchstone always pointing home to Edinboro, no matter where their individual paths may lead.