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The Great Pumpkins Are Back

The Mystery of The Clock Tower Pumpkins Continues

By Nichole Currier: Assistant Features Editor
On October 28, 2015

The mysterious envelope addressed to me from "The Great Pumpkin"

The Great Pumpkins Are Back

The Mystery of The Clock Tower Pumpkins Continues

Nichole Currier

For The Clock

Since freshman year, I have been intrigued by the many traditions of Plymouth State University. From catching the plague, midnight trips to Keith’s, to attending First Fire, I have loved the community that Plymouth students have built for themselves. However, none of these traditions have captivated my atten- tion more than the pumpkins on top of Rounds Hall.

I remember the day that pumpkins appeared on the clock tower my first year at Plymouth State. At first, I did not even notice them. When students began pointing to the sky throughout the week, however, I found myself wondering more and more how they made their way to the top of the building. After questioning everyone who I thought might have information about this mystery, though, I came to the realization that nobody knew the details on this reoccurring event. All anyone could tell me was that the pumpkins appeared, without fail, every fall on top of Rounds. As the month went on, I simply accepted this fact and the pumpkins moved to the back of my mind behind homework, classes, and the upcoming midterms.

This year, the tradition of the pumpkins was brought back to life for me in a whole new way.

As I was heading to my office hours for The Clock about a week ago, I decided to stop by the mail center and check for a package I had been notified about a few hours prior. I was a bit put off by the fact that the padded manila folder was addressed to my name at ‘The Clock Office’ as opposed to my mailbox number, but this was a small detail that I quickly overlooked as I headed into the office. However, after opening the package, my confusion only grew stronger.

Inside the folder was a hand written letter, a typed short story, and a blue piece of fabric that I quickly realized was a flag. Not understanding where any of this had come from, I quickly checked the return address. In faded sharpie, on top of the four lines intended for an address, were the words ‘The Great Pumpkin.’

Well, the Great Pumpkin sure had a knack for extravagance, as his short story told me all about the first time he himself encountered the tradition of the pumpkins on Rounds his first year at Plymouth State. His last year as an undergrad, for the twentieth anniversary since the pumpkins began appearing on Rounds, he and his roommate created a banner to hang along with the two pumpkins. This, I soon realized, was the flag that was now in my possession. A faded blue triangular flag with an orange pumpkin on one side and a white ‘20’ stitched into the other. I was in awe. After turning to the accompanying letter, I was sent on a mission that brought me to Lamson Library to meet with the Archives Librarian, Alice Staples, and her assistant, Susan Jarosz.

As expected, both women were as fascinated with this strange package as I was. We spent a few hours backtracking the dates mentioned in the short story through yearbooks to see what matched up. Sure enough, a picture of the first pumpkins to adorn Rounds was found dating back to the year 1976; twenty years later in 1996 there were two strange banners accompanying them in the picture. This year will mark twenty more years since those banners went up; the fortieth anniversary for the pumpkin tradition.

Many students, myself included, have been watching the clock tower daily this month in anticipation for the tradition to return again. On October 20, The Great Pumpkin came through and two bright orange pumpkins could be seen sitting proudly on top of the clock tower spears. While the mystery of who manages to help these pumpkins find there way to the top of the building each year remains to be solved, it can be safe to say that the tradition will not be dying any time soon. I am certain the Great Pumpkin would be proud to see these pumpkins up there today, knowing that the traditions of Plymouth State will continue to be carried out for years to come. 


This strange letter also came in the envelope.

It asks that the flag be given to Alice Staples in Lamson Library.


The old flag from inside the envelope.

On one side, a pumpkin, on the other, the number 20




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