Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sesquicentennial Stories: The Promise of UK #128

For many years a campaign had been carried on throughout Kentucky for funds with which to erect a building to serve as a memorial to UK students, alumni, and faculty who served in World War I.  Contributions came in sporadically, and at one time consideration was given to using these funds in building a gymnasium and a stadium, a plan which was not executed.   Finally it was decided that an auditorium would be built.  

The auditorium, with a seating capacity of 1100, which came to be known as Memorial Hall, was dedicated on Memorial Day 1929 with Under Secretary of War Patrick J. Hurley as the principal speaker.  

The front view is marked by the tower and a Corinthian-columned porch. It was, at the time, the most dramatic building on campus and it was destined to become the most photographed.  The university supplemented private contributions and built the auditorium in New England church style.  With its stage and pipe organ, Memorial Hall filled the long-standing need for a facility for concerts, lectures, and some activities of the music department.  

The Greek semi-circular amphitheater built behind Memorial Hall, was used for concerts, motion pictures and other programs during the warm months.  It was a standard feature of campus beautification in American colleges of the 1920’s.  It is still used today.

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