HISTORY OF THE HARDING SWING

Perhaps no other symbol of Harding University is as recognizable by her alumni as the famous white swing. Truly a part of the history of Harding itself, the inviting Harding Swing has provided rest and comfort for students for nearly six decades.When Harding moved its campus from Morrilton to Searcy in 1934, maintenance employee Harvey Dykes and his wife Bertha moved with it. Harvey, the father of long-time Harding bookstore manager John Lee Dykes, designed and built the first Harding Swing soon afterward. Since that day, thousands of students have enjoyed the romantic squeak of the chains and the side-by-side conversation with a favorite companion.

Those romantic "swing dates" eventually warranted mention among the "Social Regulations Governing Pattie Cobb Dormitory" in 1943: "Sitting in swings, talking, playing tennis, etc., is permissible any time on the grounds during daytime." Couples could not walk in groups with fewer than six people, and they could ride in cars only with special permission, but they could enjoy a Harding Swing.

Alumni Mary Ann Whitaker Harris once wrote about her Harding experience in the mid-50s, "By our senior year, the administration began to relax restrictions somewhat. We were finally allowed to sit in campus swings after dark but only after Dr. [George] Benson and Mr. Elbert Turman strategically located a floodlight in the vicinity of each swing."

 

Plans for the Harding Swing