Throwback Thursday – Life at WKU in 1920

Last week we shared an overall history of what life in southern Kentucky was like a century ago. This week we take a closer look at the regional institution that had only been established for just over a decade. This is life at Western Kentucky Normal School in 1920.

We base our portrait of the decade on excerpts from the Normal Heights, the school’s bi-monthly newspaper that was published in the years before the College Heights Herald student paper. It was requested that all student inquiries be addressed directly to President Henry Hardin Cherry.

Students and faculty had options to live in dormitories. For the first time, it was encouraged that students bring their own bedding from home to save the school’s budget. Boarding rent was $3.50 a week for a shared room, plus an extra $4.50 a week at the campus cafeteria. If a student wanted a private room, rent started at $6.00 a week. 

A new Cherryton Village with small homes and cabins was under construction next to campus. Students could purchase the cost of the one- and two-room homes at construction cost, starting at $200 for a single studio. 

According to the paper, the number of women and men enrolled in the school was nearly the same for the first time in several years. The presidents of all four classes posted calls to action for students to get involved in activities. The school held a “Clean up Campus” day, where students picked up trash, cleared the halls, and fixed up their dormitories.

An S.O.S. was addressed to any alumni, as large sections of the paper covered what school alums were up to after graduation. The staff charmingly pleaded with readers: “Our alumni list isn’t what it might be and nobody’s to blame but members themselves. Don’t let your address on our mailing list grow stale.”