University of Michigan

PAINTING THE ROCK

On the corner of Washtenaw and Hill St. sits a chunk of Canadian limestone that was commemorated in 1932 as a memorial to George Washington on his 200th birthday.   Buried deep within the foundation of The Rock is a box containing its origin and history.  Originally, The Rock was painted grey and had a copper plaque in honor of President Washington.

Sometime in the 1950;s, Michigan State University fans painted a large green “S” on The Rock before a football game, which started the tradition of “Painting The Rock”.   Every year since, The Rock has been subject to gallons of layers of paint either through sneak attacks by MSU and OSU students, or by UM student groups refurbishing The Rock back to Maze and Blue.   The Rock’s true size has become a mystery, and, according to the Michigan Daily, the plaque was last seen in 1982 and is now buried under at least a foot of paint.

The Rock is located inside a park run by the City of Ann Arbor, so if you plan on sneaking in to paint The Rock, be aware that all City Park rules apply and fines will ensue for those who disobey!