The main campus quadrangle was a fixture on campus by 1905, anchored by New Main University Hall to the north and, in 1908, the Auditorium to the south. The quad as it presently stands measures 203 feet wide by 940 feet long. To facilitate dissemination of campus information by students, three concrete pillars once stood on Quad, known as Illiosks. However, these were frequently vandalized, and by the early 2000's, only one remained.
Students on campus in the late 1960's and 70's may remember the Quad's Illini Forum Area, which designated an oasis of free speech in the midst of the Clabaugh Act's oppression. This little-used relic of a bygone era, with its concrete podium and benches and red brick floor was eventually demolished in the late 1980's or early 1990's. It was located directly south of Harker Hall's eastern-most south-facing window, just past the modern gates that now close Harker's south plaza. The red brick floor of the Area is still preserved, forming the ground of the bike racks just south of the Natural History Building.
The Quad is also home to the "Quad Bench and Light", affectionately known as the Quad Flame, as well as to the 1913 Lincoln Hall Gateway.
The famous "Eternal Flame" on campus was a gift of the class of 1912. The class "adopted as its emblem a Greek monolith, bearing an electric arc at its top", which was to be placed "somewhere near the Auditorium". The $800 memorial was to be a "semi-circular seat placed about the base of the column, and the whole built of Indiana Bedford stone. The column will bear the class numeral near its top, and will be surmounted by a large globe containing an electric light."
The original glass globe was a squat frosted glass container which was later replaced by today's taller globe, which better represents a flame. The pedestal at the top of the column is stamped on three of its sides with the words "Class of 1912", however the north side of the pedestal is mysteriously blank.
The Eternal Flame carries a long-standing campus myth with it that "A lover's kiss will bring eternal bliss". It is rumored that two lovers who kiss under the flame's eternal light will see their relationship last forever. Unfortunately, the bulb is rarely replaced when it burns out and the glass globe is subject to fairly frequent vandalism, so if the length of one's relationship is tied to the longevity of the "flame", then that relationship will be short-lived indeed.
The singular gateway which marks an entrance to quad from the west, is a gift of the class of 1913. Also known as the Lincoln Hall Gateway, and now leaning slightly to the north, the "ornamental arch" is "made of Bedford stone and tapestry brick, with the class numerals carved in the stone". The blooming magnolias which front the arch today were added sometime in the late 1930's or early 1940's, before that, the only greenery adorning the arch were a set of vines which grew across it.
The lawns of campus are taken for granted today, serving as an outdoor lounge to a student basking in the sun of a summer afternoon, or simply providing a quick shortcut for a student late to class. Students do not think twice about treading upon the grasses of campus, yet these lawns were opened to students less than a century ago. It was not until 1908 that:
the custom which was begun last year [in 1907] of allowing students the freedom of the cumpus [sic] between the hours of four and eight p. m. daily, was so successful, and of so much general satisfaction to students, that the Vice-President has this fall announced that until further notice the practice may be continued. The students apparently have taken to the privilege very kindly, and there has been no evident deterioration in the character of the lawn