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'You can see all of Macon': Mercer students climb the tower as a campus tradition

It's not a journey for the claustrophobic, but the payoff is worth it.

MACON, Ga. — The Mercer University tower is an iconic landmark in Macon, and it comes with a lot of history.

Construction crews completed it in 1874. It came with a price tag of $100,000 and it's the oldest building on campus today. 

It also comes with some classic traditions that every student gets to enjoy.

The bottom floors of the Godsey Administration Building are standard fare, and things didn't start to get interesting until we got the keys and took an elevator up to the fourth floor.

Once you unlock the doors and start the climb, you'll see thousands of signatures on the walls.

"The students that come here as freshman...they can come up and can sign at some point before they graduate to sign and show that they went up to the tower," said director of campus life, Carrie Ingoldsby.

The autographs reach all the way to the top, and there is another interesting tidbit of lore that comes with the journey.

Back in time in a spacious room, many sororities and fraternities used to meet to conduct business. The Kappa Alpha Order still has a room inside the walls that they use today.

It's anchored with a stunning stained glass circle paying homage to their founding date, plus they've designated one wall as a place where only their folks can sign the pine.

Even still, that's only about halfway to the top.

"Yeah, this is a steep incline. We make sure those that are willing to go up are able to go up and we make sure there are people watching," said Ingoldsby.

It's not a journey for the claustrophobic, but the payoff is worth it.

"You can see all of Macon and it's just gorgeous. It's a great view," she said.

It's a great view, but Ingoldsby says it's an exclusive adventure for kids that call Mercer home.

"[We] can't open it up to everyone, unfortunately. It is beautiful but if you're a Mercer student you can take the tower tour," she said.

That means the rest of us will enjoy the stately spire as it dots our landscape; standing as a beacon of history of the past and the present.

The architect of the tower, G.P. Randall, also designed the Macon-Bibb Courthouse.


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