This week we’re at Western Kentucky University near the top of the hill. Built in 1927 to be the original home of WKU football, the Colonnade is one of the oldest structures on campus.
According to the WKU archives at the Kentucky Museum, architect Brinton Davis designed this classic Greek revival entryway. It was built at a hefty price of $50,000 and its official dedication ceremony was in October of 1927.
This Colonnade was the grand entrance to the university’s athletic stadium at the time, mostly just football games. Before the Colonnade, WKU used a limestone quarry on the northeastern side of campus for athletic events.
The new stadium seated 7,500 people and modern amenities were added over the next couple of decades. New lights were installed in 1946 to allow for evening play. The current metal bleachers replaced the original wooden ones in 1963.
The Colonnade was constructed of limestone by the Raymond Construction Company. The stadium itself was never given a specific name.
Notice a marker on the colonnade named in honor of W.L. “Gander” Terry. He is a Hilltopper who wore many hats in the athletic department—former football player, assistant and head football coach, and athletic director. Terry played on the field where the Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center currently sits.
Though the Fine Arts Center replaced the field, the stadium seating continues to serve as an amphitheater to special events on campus. You may catch freshmen students here during a M.A.S.T.E.R. plan ceremony kicking off their college experience, or you may hear some outdoor performances from the WKU music department on a warm evening.
The Colonnade is a perfect spot for students to study, have a picnic lunch, or just hang out on a pleasant day. You’ll often see graduation photos or even engagement or wedding photos taking advantage of the scenic view.
The university shows dedication to one of its most precious gems. Over $250,000 in renovations have been made to the colonnade over the past ninety years.
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