Nittany Lion Shrine

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Nittany Lion Shrine
Nittany Lion Shrine (2).JPG
The Lion Shrine after renovation, March 2014
Artist Heinz Warneke
Year October 24, 1942 (1942-10-24)
Type Sculpture
Condition Renovated
Location University Park
Owner The Pennsylvania State University
Accession October 24, 1942

The Nittany Lion Shrine is a large mountain lion sculpture made by Heinz Warneke located at the main campus of the Pennsylvania State University. The shrine is the second most photographed landmark in Pennsylvania, behind the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.[1]


Lion Shrine s.JPG

The Nittany Lion Shrine at Pennsylvania State University was dedicated on October 24, 1942 during Homecoming. Animalier Heinz Warneke and stonecutter Joseph Garatti created it from a 13-ton block of Indiana Limestone. The shrine was chosen from six models submitted by Warneke.

The shrine is a gift of the class of 1940 and rests in a natural setting of trees near Recreation Building.[2]

In 2013 the shrine was renovated to improve the lighting, add a sidewalk, and add large decorative stones. The improvement was the gift by the Penn State's class of 2012.[3]


In 1966 Sue Paterno (wife of football coach Joe Paterno), and a friend secretly splashed water-soluble orange paint on the Nittany Lion statue the week of the Syracuse game. Later that week Syracuse fans covered the statue in oil-based paint, which was tougher to remove. Since then, students guard the Lion Shrine every homecoming.[1]

In another football weekend incident in 1978, the Lion Shrine was vandalized when a blunt object was used to break off the statue's right ear. The original sculptor - Heinz Warneke - was alive at the time and, with some difficulty, was able to match the stone and repair the damaged ear. This incident led to the site being guarded during home football games.[4]



  1. ^ a b Rozen, Leah (May 18, 2001). "WEEKEND EXCURSION; Penn State Without All the Penn Staters". New York Times. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  2. ^ Reed, Tom (October 25, 2007). "IF U. GO: Penn State". Cleveland Plain Dealer (Dispatch Publishing). 
  3. ^ "Renovated Nittany Lion Shrine once again open for visitors". September 5, 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "Nittany Lion Shrine suffers damage to limestone ear". Retrieved 2012-07-26.