A 100-pound concrete rabbit was discovered in a ventilation tunnel beneath Eliot Hall, wedged against some deteriorated wooden shoring.
A 100-pound concrete rabbit was discovered in a ventilation tunnel beneath Eliot Hall, wedged against some deteriorated wooden shoring.
Reed Community

Construction Crew Finds Concrete Rabbit Beneath Eliot Hall

Despite tantalizing clues, lagomorph’s origin and mission remain a mystery.

By Chris Lydgate ’90 | July 17, 2018

A construction crew repaving the sidewalk leading to Eliot Hall today made a surprising discovery inside an underground ventilation chamber—a large concrete rabbit.

The rabbit, which weighs more than 100 pounds and stands roughly two feet tall from ears to tail, was wedged against some decaying boards at the mouth of the chamber, which lies directly beneath the building’s main entrance.

Excavator Justin Hibbs of Traxx Underground and his crew were demolishing the sidewalk as part of a project to resurface the entrance with granite pavers. They knew that the sidewalk lay on top of a chamber, and were carefully excavating around it. As their backhoe scooped up dirt and rubble, however, they noticed something strange—some dirt was disappearing into a sinkhole. Further inspection revealed some ancient planks of wood piled across the entrance to the chamber. And behind the planks, lending crucial support, they discovered... the rabbit.

“That rabbit was holding up the whole wall,” says Hibbs. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve never seen that before.”

It was not immediately clear how long the long-eared lagomorph had been performing this feat of architectural prestidigitation. The tunnel also contained a brown fedora, some scraps of clothing, a scattering of beer cans, and graffiti about “Lord Humongous,” possibly a reference to the hockeymask villain from the cult classic The Road Warrior.

The warren of steam tunnels beneath Reed’s oldest buildings has attracted all kinds of simulacra over the decades, including owls, robots, and an impressive selection of garden gnomes. Longtime campus denizens report hearing rumors of a rabbit, but its precise location was always elusive. 

The statue—which looks suspiciously like a purloined lawn ornament—was transported to a secure location so the construction work could continue. It was promptly captured but was returned the next day.

If you have any information about the historical, archaeological, or cosmological significance of the find, please email the editor at clydgate@reed.edu.

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