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Happy Valentine's Day, Spiders!

The Gazebo Legend

A small, wooden structure on an island in Westhampton Lake has a storied mythology that still leaves some students wondering if kissing their college sweetheart is a bridge too far.

The story goes that if you kiss someone at the gazebo, you’re destined to marry them. The only way to break Cupid’s curse, the legend says, is for the receiver of the kiss to push the kisser into the lake.

The gazebo legend is a relatively modern love spell, but one that has many believers. In fall of 1975, the University built two footbridges to span Westhampton Lake and meet in the middle on an island. Shortly afterward, the gazebo was added as part of the lake beautification effort.

First, came lore. Then, came marriage. Reports of the gazebo’s kissing myth emerged in The Collegian within the first decade of its construction. Many alumni from then and onward attest to the legend’s truth, citing first kisses, carefully avoiding the area on dates, marriage proposals, and weddings on the island itself for the couples who found love on the lake.

Around 5,000 Spiders are married to fellow Spiders. Some of them found each other well before a bridge connected Richmond and Westhampton to the island. Today, students still hear about the gazebo legend on campus tours or through their first-year orientation groups.

The gazebo — whether you believe the myth or not — gives Spiders one more reason to love the campus you called home and the people who got tangled in your web while you were here.

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