Friday, May 17, 2013

Sesquicentennial Stories: The Promise of UK #95

As part of the College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering’s Silver Jubilee celebration on May 30th 1916 at 10:00 a.m. a monument to American railroad development was erected. The monument consisted of a restoration of a portion of the original track of the Lexington and Ohio Railroad, the first railroad built west of the Allegheny Mountains.  About 25 feet of the original track was to be set on a concrete base on the campus of the University, in front of Mechanical Hall.  

A bronze tablet was to be set at the base, containing the following inscription:  “This restoration of a portion of the original track of the Lexington and Ohio (now Louisville and Nashville) Railroad laid at Lexington in 1831, is dedicated to those men of forethought and courage who were pioneers in railroad development in America.”

Left of center is the Railroad Memorial. The building near the center is Mechanical Hall. The Science Building (now Miller Hall) is on the left.

The dedication was presided over by Dean Anderson.  The dedicatory program had three speeches: “The Development of Railroads and the Locomotive,” by Dr. D.F. Crawford; “The Railroad Builder” by Major James Poyntz Nelson; and the dedication speech by Judge Samuel M. Wilson.  A history of the “First Railroad of the West,” by Maude W. Lafferty was printed in pamphlet form and distributed as a souvenir.

The Railroad Memorial can still be seen on campus today. It is located behind the Carol Martin Gatton Business and Economics Building and the plaque faces the Anderson Buildings.

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