Memorial Arch

Photo fo Memorial Arch
The Memorial Arch in Tappan Square.
Photo credit: John Seyfried

The Memorial Arch was erected on the west end of Tappan Square to honor the 13 missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and five children who lost their lives in the Boxer uprising in China in 1900. Oberlin was chosen as the proper place for this monument because all but four of those killed were Oberlin students or members of their families.

The cornerstone of the arch was laid October 16, 1902, and it was dedicated May 14, 1903. It was designed by J.L. Silsbee of Chicago and constructed of Indiana limestone at a cost of $20,720. Of this amount, $20,000 was the gift of D. Willis James, and the remainder was contributed in small amounts by the students of the college and other friends. Two bronze tablets perpetuate the names of the missionaries and children who were killed by the Boxers.

At the time of its dedication, the arch served as the main entrance to campus from the east. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1978) and was declared an Oberlin City Landmark in 1997.