Located in the Old Crescent area of the Indiana University Bloomington campus, the iconic Rose Well House is one of the oldest remaining structures on campus. It was built in 1908 over a cistern that supplied water to the campus, and for a time it was a major water source for the campus community. The structure’s stone portals are the original portals from the campus’s Old College Building, which was built in 1855 on IU’s original campus, located at the current Seminary Square.
IU alumnus Theodore F. Rose, class of 1875, spearheaded the effort to build the structure and provided funding for its construction, and it is named in his honor.
In addition to serving a practical function, the Rose Well House came to be known as a place for romance. It was a popular spot for marriage proposals, and eventually it became a campus tradition for couples to kiss in the Rose Well House at the stroke of midnight. According to campus lore, a woman was not considered a true coed until she had undergone this rite of passage.
Today the tradition of romance continues, but with a modern spin. Now it is said that if you kiss someone in the Rose Well House at the stroke of midnight, that person will be your romantic partner for life. The Rose Well House also continues to be a popular spot for marriage proposals and weddings.