LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 13, 2012) — In celebration of the University of Kentucky's upcoming sesquicentennial in 2015, the 36th of 150 weekly installments on the university remembers Patterson House, the institution's first home for its president.
In 1880, President James K. Patterson proposed the construction of three buildings at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky: a classroom building, dormitory, and a president's house to cost no more than $4,000. It was reported that some "50 hands" were on campus making the two million bricks, from campus soil, needed for the three buildings that were to become the Main Building, White Hall Dormitory, and the Patterson House.
The Patterson House, or the president's house, was a 5,400 square-feet structure made of red brick and was described as a "beautiful little building, complete in every particular, containing eight rooms, a pantry, store-room, and bathroom." President Patterson lived there with his wife and their son, William Andrew Patterson. President Patterson continued to live in the house after the deaths of both his wife and child, continuing to live there after his retirement in 1910, until his death in 1922.
Patterson's brother Walter continued to live in the house until his death 10 years later. During Walter's occupation, he fenced an area in the backyard where he kept hogs and other animals.
From 1932-1939, the house became the Woman's Building, and during that period it housed the offices of the campus YWCA and other women's organizations. In January of 1930, the house became the University Faculty Club, which had been crowded into a corner of the top floor of McVey Hall. When the University Club moved to quarters in the Student Center, the house was remodeled and became the new home of the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and his staff in 1964.
In 1967, Patterson House was vacated for demolition to make room for a new classroom building, White Hall Classroom Building. Patterson House was razed along with White Hall Dormitory and the Carnegie Library.
Patterson House bore a plaque dedicated to President Patterson "to commemorate his life and services to the university.
This story on UK's history is presented by UK Special Collections. Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. The mission of Special Collections is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
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