Throwback Thursday – When the Cherry Brothers ran BG Business University

Throwback Thursday has told stories of the Cherry family. But hasn’t told viewers of the time the two brothers ran the Bowling Green Business University. Going back to the 1890s, this story is told with the help of J. Lewie Harman Sr., a former student and president whose stories were printed in the Towers yearbook of 1948.

Dr. Thomas Crittenden Cherry, call him T.C., was president of a university in Crowley, Louisiana. Meanwhile, Dr. Henry Hardin Cherry, call him H.H., was new president of the Bowling Green Business University, which had been struggling with attendance. H.H. asked T.C. to come back to their hometown and run the school with him. They started an advertising campaign unlike anything the school had ever seen.

In 1892, T.C. and H.H. covered the southern U.S. with ads promoting a business school with typing classes. Tuition was $18.50 for six month of literary learning, or $45 for five months of strictly business school. There were eight typewriters with double keyboards—no typing instructor and no textbook—but those clever Cherry brothers divided the single typing room into “Northwest” and “Northeast” Typing Departments, making it sound like the next big thing.

T.C. and H.H. prided themselves in growing the school and providing learning opportunities through real-life practice. Their knowledge of education and the law helped set up a mock House of Representatives, where students had the chance to practice debating, intellectual sparring, and stage fights. Legend says they took it too far one night when a student blazed a bicycle wrench thought to be a revolver and the whole place emptied.

T.C. used his influence in Louisiana to recruit students from his former school. There was an influx of French-speaking southern students by the turn of the 20th century. T.C. and H.H. split ways when the university became Western Kentucky Normal School. H.H. stayed as its first President and T.C. became Superintendent of the newborn Warren County Public School System.