Home / Featured / Auburn students (or someone) planted a giant winter grass ‘WAR EAGLE’ behind Denny Chimes before the 1961 Iron Bowl

Auburn students (or someone) planted a giant winter grass ‘WAR EAGLE’ behind Denny Chimes before the 1961 Iron Bowl

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We were getting some traffic yesterday from Reddit on a post from early 2011 (with an uncannily accurate prediction in the comment thread) about that time someone went to Alabama’s walk of champions of whatever it is and planted rye grass (AKA winter grass) in a pattern that happened to look exactly like the score of the 2010 Iron Bowl, which was the most newsworthy eco-prank in the state of Alabama for, like, a week.

And for a second, I thought someone was reading my mind, or hacking my computer or something, because I was looking at that post, too, but not (just) for a laugh. I was getting ready to link it to another post… about, what do you know, that time 50 years earlier where pretty much the exact same thing happened.

Here’s a Montgomery Advertiser story that appeared in both the Plainsman and the Crimson White—not sure why Bama’s student newspaper couldn’t do its own reporting on this—in early December, 1961:

Ingenious Auburn students have scored a success at the University of Alabama. Now adorning a section of the quadrangle behind Denny Chimes are two sets of grass letters each plainly spelling “War Eagle.”

The sewing of winter grass seed in block letters was timed so the grass would sprout bright green during the week preceding the Auburn-Alabama football classic. The smaller words measure approximately eight feet high and 48 feet long, with the larger stretching 15 feet high and 110 feet long.

There is an agreement between the two schools that there will be no defacing of property due to the rivalry, but as one Student Government Association official remarked, “Who can argue that planting grass defaces property?”

OK, a few things: First off, “ingenious Auburn students” is redundant (I mean, my gosh…). Secondly, despite the ingenuity, when it comes to a question of any possible Auburn-ish defacement of the area around Denny Chimes in the week preceding the Iron Bowl, we probably shouldn’t just automatically assume it’s the work of Auburn students, am I right, Bama PD?

And lastly, OK, so it wasn’t exactly the same—it was way better, not only for being on a seemingly much larger scale (110 feet long?!), but the timing. Because as it turned out, the week before the Iron Bowl, would also be the week before Alabama was named national champions of 1961 by the Associated Press. Sure, that part sucks. But it technically means that in the midst of the many pep rallies held the following week in the iconic heart of Bama’s campus celebrating not just any old Tide national championship, but what the Crimson White called its first national championship, there was a giant “WAR EAGLE.”

Now do your thing, Reddit. Please. We love it when you do your thing.

Related: Bama students vandalize their own campus before the Iron Bowl, try to frame Auburn students.

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* Pompadours on the Plains: the 50s revival at Auburn
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About Jeremy Henderson

Jeremy Henderson is the editor of The War Eagle Reader and co-host of Rich and Jeremy in the Mornings on Wings 94.3 FM in Auburn. Follow him on Twitter: @wareaglereader / @jerthoughts / @RichandJeremy

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