Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sesquicentennial Stories: The Promise of UK #112

Construction of Shawneetown Apartments. Cincinnati Enquirer, 1946
 UK became the first university to provide housing for married students during the post World War II period when war surplus buildings were purchased and erected.  Cooperstown and Shawneetown were assembled as quickly as possible to provide around 500 temporary units.  Over an 8 year period these units afforded housing for over 3,000 students families and during this time 700 children were born there.

Construction of new Shawneetown Apartments, 1957
 Where once stood 51 one-story converted barracks, construction of the new six building Shawneetown was begun in September 1956. The housing shortage for married students and faculty at the University of Kentucky was the impetus to build Shawneetown.  It contained 84 efficiency apartments, 84 one bedroom apartments and 18 two bedroom apartments.  The two bedroom apartments and 42 of the one bedroom units were reserved for faculty and staff members and the remaining two thirds for married students.

340 square feet efficiency.  Maximum of living in a minimum of space. Convertible sofas provide sleeping.
 The efficiencies were furnished for basic living.  The kitchens were equipped with sinks, electric stoves and refrigerators.  The living rooms had a divan hideaway bed, dining table with four chairs, a chest of drawers, and a lounge chair.  The three piece bath and shower was finished in ceramic tile and all apartments were provided with ample closet space.  The units reserved for married students were rented for $69.00 and included all utilities – electricity, water, and heat.

680 square feet one bedroom unit.
 One bedroom apartments were furnished with electric stoves and refrigerators.  The bedroom was furnished with a modern bed.  The one bedrooms were equally divided between faculty and students.  Rent for students was $79.00 and faculty/staff was $89.00 for a fully furnished apartment or $82.00 for unfurnished.

Ben Johnson reading in his living room at Shawneetown, 1958.
 At the time, one unique feature of Shawneetown apartments was its full cross ventilation system – there were no center corridors and each apartment had its own exterior entrance.  The doors were equipped with jalousie windows.  Each unit was heated by forced circulating hot water with individual controls. Each apartment contained an outlet for a TV and a phone plug.  Each of the six buildings had a central laundry with coin operated machines and a vehicle storage room for bicycles, tricycles, and strollers. Shawneetown was contracted with concrete and structural steel with red brick exterior walls.  The interior walls were soundproof and the only wood in the building was used for doors and shelving.  The buildings were considered fire resistant. 

Dr. Dickey addresses a crowd at the Shawneetown Apartments dedication, 1958.

The new apartments were made available for occupancy in January of 1958.

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