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University of Missouri

Towering Tribute

Memorial Tower contains many mysteries.

Memorial Union tower construction

Photo courtesy University Archives c:0/47/12.

Memorial Union Tower archway

Photo by Rob Hill.

Completed in 1926, Memorial Tower was built to honor students who died in World War I. The names of 117 men are carved into the tower’s archway. The bell tower was the first phase of Memorial Union’s construction. The north wing was completed in 1952, A.P. Green Chapel in 1959 and the south wing in 1963. Today, Memorial Union honors fallen Mizzou veterans from all wars.

Archway Artwork

Two decorative bands adorn the tower’s archway, one with animal and floral imagery and another with Christian symbols, including faces representing humanity and distorted creatures representing sin.

Memorial Union gargoyle

Photo by Mary Fama.

Tipping the Cap

When walking through the arch, tradition calls for tipping your cap — or nowadays, speaking in hushed tones — to pay respect to MU’s fallen soldiers.

Grotesque Gargoyles

Each of the tower’s four spires features eight gargoyles — stone carvings that also serve as gutters to carry water away from the building. Each of the 32 gargoyles is unique.