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7. New Dormitory

Photo of new
dormitory

The vines have not overtaken the New Dormitory as it has many other buildings. Mechanical Hall stands to the left of the building. The detail of the picture is so fine that the ground floor windows in the center of the photograph show items setting on the window sill. One of them is a candle holder. Unfortunately, this can not be discerned in the scanned image as presented on this home page.

The New Dormitory, the second building added to the original three buildings, was constructed in 1890 at a cost of $14,500. It was remodeled for classes in 1918 due to a report in June of 1917 that described the New Dormitory and the Old Dormitory as "public nuisances." In the 1930s, the building housed the departments of Hygeine, Psychology, and Dispensary. The doctors at that time "charg[ed] no fee even for professional visits to [student's] homes when called upon (Lafferty, 193?)."

Also in the 1930s, the Board of Trustees recommended that the building be abandoned. The 1 January 1961 Lexington Leader reports that the building was not structurally sound. The south wall was out of line. There was a visible bulge on that side of the building. Braces were placed on the third floor in an attempt to rectify the situation. In the Board of Trustees' report taken from the 25 April 1955 Lexington Leader, they also cited several other problems: "various wood members were infested with termites, plaster was loose, wiring [was] in dangerous condition, and the lighting and plumbing facilities [were] obsolete." Despite this long list of problems, use of the building was continued. Similar reports in 1942 and several years later, also went unheeded.

The 10 January 1961 Lexington Herald reports that the building was used until a fire destroyed it beyond repair on 9 January 1961. The wood of the building burned away along with the research of several psychology graduate students. The metal stairways were the only part of the building that survived the fire. The 10 January 1961 Courier Journal reports that the building was valued at $68,703 and was insured for $61,000. It was the first serious fire since the 1956 fire at Frazee Hall (Education Building). The land was used for a parking area and lawn.

INTERESTING NOTE

  • The building was named after John Henry "Jack" Neville. He taught Greek and Latin at the University and was known as a character around campus. "He was seldom seen without his umbrella and generally read a book as he walked along" (Cone, 1989).