Monday, September 22, 2008

Golf in the Bluegrass

Kentucky golf fans had plenty of reasons to celebrate the American Ryder Cup win over Europe Sunday – not only was the event held in Louisville on the Valhalla Course, but Kentuckians Kenny Perry and J.B. Holmes were on hand to contribute to the win. Golf may not be the first thing that comes to mind about Kentucky, but the state does have a long history of enjoying the sport. As immigrants from Ireland, England and Scotland made Kentucky their home, they brought their love of the Scottish game with them. Middlesboro Country Club (below) is the oldest continuously played course in the U.S. and the second oldest course in the nation. 200 year old oaks and the Cumberland Gap serve as a natural backdrop.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the FDR-created WPA (Works Progress Administration) created golf courses all over the state including McCracken County, Jefferson County, Harlan County, Pike County and Kenton County. Many of these are documented in the Goodman Paxton photograph collection (see Noble Park Golf Course dedication in McCracken Co., 1940, below).

The UK men’s varsity golf team began in 1935 and the women’s varsity team followed 40 years later in 1975, although both maintained “minor sports” teams before achieving varsity status. The golf team's home course is the University Club of Kentucky off of Leestown Rd. in Lexington. (Men's varsity golf team, 1939, below)

To see more photographs of golf in Kentucky, search “golf” in the images database of KDL.
-- JC

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Campaign trail

With less than two months left before the presidential election, both candidates are hitting the campaign trail with renewed intensity. At present, there don’t appear to be any further stops from either candidate in Kentucky. This may not seem unusual in the age of mass media which allows candidates to focus on target areas of the country and still get their message across to the rest of us, but in the past candidates did sometimes make stops at the University of Kentucky or Lexington.

Dwight D. Eisenhower campaigned at UK twice, in 1953 and 1956. On October 1, 1956, Eisenhower addressed issues of concern to Kentuckians at Memorial Coliseum during his re-election bid. Click here to read what he had to say.

This photo from October 8, 1960 of John F. Kennedy’s campaign stop at UK captures a scene eerily reminiscent of the later footage from Dallas minutes before his assassination. Kennedy was on campus to generate support for his presidential bid that year (and pay homage to Kentucky politician Henry Clay). Click here to read his speech from that day.

Then (California) governor, Ronald Reagan, made a brief stop in Lexington during his unsuccessful 1976 bid for the Republican nomination against Gerald Ford. The contents of his campaign literature from that year can be found here.
-- JC

All photos from University of Kentucky Special Collections and Digital Programs.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Stoll Field Historical Marker Dedication

Imagine for a moment that it is the 1880s. The original President’s home stood near the east end of White Hall classroom building. There were only three campus structures, 318 students, and 17 faculty. To supplement President Patterson’s $2000.00 salary he was allotted pasturage for his cows. In between the slope of the President’s house and what was then Winslow Street was the land where Patterson kept those cows. By 1892, students began scheduling football games with neighboring colleges. In 1893, Kentucky beat Tennessee 56-0, beginning a long-standing rivalry. The lure of football soon overtook Lexington and a spectator sport had begun. So it was on this spot, where the cows were eventually evicted, where wooden stands were erected, and the first football fans cheered.

From 1908-1915 every football season was a winning one. In 1916, Stoll Field was officially dedicated in honor of Richard C. Stoll.

By 1918, World War One had changed campus culture and the University acted quickly to become a combined military post and academic institution. Stoll Field took on a new persona during this time and held army barracks for the soldiers.

During the 1924 football season, McLean Stadium was built around Stoll Field. Though modified, the stadium was used for football games through the 1972 season after which they were moved to Commonwealth Stadium. There are many places on campus where our history is apparent, but this spot inspires images in my mind and the sounds once associated with this place. As university archivist, it is my obligation to preserve the collective memory of UK. With that said, for this moment, imagine a house-lined street bordered by a field of cows, the early cheers of football fans, soldiers’ yells, the resonance of a stadium crowd, and the contemporary sounds of the marching band. Lasting longer than these words, I hope that this marker will serve as a reminder and symbol of this important piece of campus landscape and culture.

Text modified from the Historical Marker Dedication speech by Deirdre Scaggs - images from the University Archives