The McGraw Tower is the Cornell landmark. New students lost downtown or across campus use it to orient themselves and aim for familiar ground. Undergrads studying in the libraries nearby mark the hours with the chiming of its 1875 Seth Thomas clock, now computer-operated. And Albert W. Smith, class of 1878, who wrote the lyrics to "The Hill," included the clock tower and its chimes in a nostalgic tune still sung on campus today.
Designed by William Henry Miller in 1891, the tower originally provided storage for overflow library books. Now its seven rooms include practice space and a library of musical arrangements, and a museum.