merion green

Wordy Wednesday: Cow Path

Do you know what the cow path is? Well, we wouldn’t, were it not for a comment submitted by one of our followers! We’ve all encountered the cow path, whined and joked about it, but very few people have a name for it.

Most people refer to it as the muddy path on Merion Green.

When Vaux and Olmsted designed the campus in the late 1800s, they probably ran on the assumption that if you make a sidewalk, students will always prefer it to cutting through grass, and maybe once upon a time that was true. However, the increase of sneaker-wearing, space-savvy, time-efficient Mawrters has lead to what we know now as the cow path: a grass-free line from the Campus Center entrance, cutting straight across to the end of the road through Pem Arch.

Every year the grounds crew rolls out a line of new grass, trying to cover up the hideous streak of muddy, squishy brown, and every year (within days) Mawrters wear it down to what it once was. The whole campus wonders why we even both covering up the cow path. Why not pave it? Or at least put a cobblestone walkway across it? Aside from maintain the asthetic, there doesn’t seem to be a reason. But there also doesn’t seem to be a reason to have that nub of a sidewalk paved from in front of Merion to about 5 feet into the green (and that’s it). Why Bryn Mawr? Why?