According to dusty archive files and whispers of oral tradition, the Bench was bequeathed by the Class of 1912. Originally anchored in front of Blanchard Hall, it was intended for seniors only, but over the decades envious underclassmen soon coveted its prized status. A great rivalry began in 1949, when juniors from the Class of 1950 stole the top two by seven foot section while the seniors were away on their annual retreat.
Many ingenious, inventive, and sometimes illegal methods have been employed by rival classes in their passionate pursuit of securing the nearly 800-pound stone slab. The Class of 1959 is heralded for one of the most amazing bench showings, suspending the bench from a helicopter and flying it over the Homecoming football game.
The current rules surrounding the possession of the bench were enacted after seniors from the Class of 1966 showed the bench in chapel and were greeted by slashed tires and cut ignition wires in the parking lot. Henceforth all Bench activity has been limited to the junior and senior classes, the Bench must remain within a fifteen-mile radius of Blanchard Hall, half of the Bench must be visible at all times, and the Bench must be shown twice a year and never in chapel.
In subsequent decades the passionate rivalry has ebbed and flowed as soil analysis kits, airplanes, wiretaps, high-speed car chases, Billy Graham, wishing wells, and even eBay have all been employed in pursuit of this elusive prize for all Wheaton students.
Courtesy of the Wheaton College Archives and Special Collections