Dads' Gates

Designer:  Abbot Lawrence


Work on the ornamental Dads' Gates began in August 1940.  They were were formally dedicated on February 8, 1941, as part of the 14th annual Dad's Day celebration weekend. The UO Dads Club was the sponsor and underwriter of the project. The Dads Club was a patron-parent organization established in 1927. The concept for the gates began in 1938 and was supported with funding from the Dads Club with additional support from a PWA program. Abbot Lawrence, a UO architecture graduate and son of Ellis Lawrence, created the design that was executed by metal craftsman Orion B. Dawson.

Orion Benjamin Dawson was a master blacksmith who produced numerous iron works as an employee with the Depression-era Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration. Dawson's work in Oregon can be seen at the University of Oregon's Knight Library and Howe Field, Oregon State University, and Timberline Lodge.  


Books and Parts of Books

  • Dawson, O. B.  (Orion Benjamin).  The Old Blacksmiths.  Reproduction: Photocopy.  [Eugene, Or. : University of Oregon Library,  1987].
  • Force, Rachel Gwen. "Blacksmith: The Significance and Preservation of O.B. Dawson's Ironwork for the WPA." Thesis, Historic Preservation Program. Eugene, OR: University of Oregon, 2004.
  • Sheldon, Henry D. History of University of Oregon (Binford & Mort, 1940), p. 235.


  • The UO Libraries' Special Collections & University Archives department holds some of Dawson's original writings and drawings.

Newspaper Articles (Arranged by Date)


  • "Campus gate fund gains, say dads. University agrees to construct wall from gate to libe if completed." Daily Emerald 10 Jan. 1939: 4
  • "Dad's club to install iron gate. Artistic structure will cost $25,000; location unknown." Daily Emerald 6 Oct. 1939: 1


  • "U of O entrance gates are being installed."  Register Guard.  7 August 1940.
  • "UO dads plan gate dedication; Saturday will see parade, banquet as festival climax." Daily Emerald 9 Jan. 1941: 1
  • "Sun shines as dads present $25,000 gate to University."  Register Guard 8 February 1941.
  • "Gates to campus remain as token from fathers." Daily Emerald 2 Feb. 1946: 6
  • "Dad's Gates." Daily Emerald 2 Feb. 1946: 1
  • "Dads gates to be part of cloverleaf." Daily Emerald 31 Mar. 1949: 8
  • "Dad's gates." Daily Emerald 4 Nov. 1949: 6.


  • "Dad's gates product of depression period." Daily Emerald 23 Jan. 1954: 1


  • "Dad's Gates." Daily Emerald 7 Feb. 1969: 6

Page author: Ed Teague