Stairway to nowhere

One of the many great things about working at this library is that we are located just two blocks from a certain world-class university. If you don't know which one I will give you a hint: it's the first word in the phrase "Princeton Public Library." When the weather is nice and I have some time, I like to explore the incredibly beautiful campus. Since I have been doing this for some time now, I have gone a little beyond looking for gargoyles and have instead been searching for architectural oddities.

Just one that I found recently is this staircase that seems to lead to nothing. It is housed in a  gothic building that (in the context of the other stunning gothic buildings) seems unremarkable. But tucked at the end of a wide hall there is a short staircase that makes a quick 90 degree turn and disappears.

If you climb this staircase you find yourself in a tower looking up at an incredibly narrow and steep staircase.

From the side you can get an idea of how acrophobia-inducing this thing is.

At the top there is some graffiti (mostly quotes from the great poets…this is Princeton, after all) and this bit of art…or graffiti. I guess this is debatable.

And then…it ends. There is just a rail and a black plastic cup.

Why was this staircase built? Was it supposed to end in a door? Or lead to the roof? It was obviously custom-built and installing it could not have been easy. These and other mysteries might be answered in one of our tomes in the Princeton Collection.

If you know anything about this stairway please let me know in the comments below. I will also give away a Bent Spoon cupcake to the first person who can tell me which building houses this spooky staircase.

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