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Title UA1C WKU Archives Photograph Collection Series 2. Buildings Subseries 79. Van Meter Hall
Creator WKU Archives
Description Images of Van Meter Hall
Collection WKU Archives
Object Name Print, Photographic
Year Range From 1911
Admin / Biog History Other Names - Administration Building
Date Built - 1901, 1911
Cost of Construction - $147,000
Architect - Brinton B. Davis
Contractor - J. Bornstein, Louisville

The original Vanmeter Hall was named for Captain Charles J. Vanmeter. He was one of the oldest native citizens of Bowling Green. At the former Normal School, the old Vanmeter Hall was made possible by his generosity.

Capt. Charles J. Vanmeter, who died recently at his home, in Bowling Green, Ky., was a man widely known for his broad-minded philanthropy. He was one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of the native citizens of Bowling Green.

After being educated in the schools of his native town, Captain Vanmeter began life as a clerk under his father. Soon becoming tired of a mercantile life, he went to and conducted one of his father's farms. In 1886, together with his brother and Captain Leiter, he built a steamboat. On its maiden trip the boat was frozen up at Carrollton for seven weeks. But the business soon became a very remunerative one, Captain Vanmeter having charge of the office in Bowling Green. The business grew, and subsequently the Bowling Green Navigation Company was formed. This old company is well remembred by the older citizens, and they often speak of that period as the halcyon days of the city.

Captain Vanmeter had been living a retired life for a number of years. He was much interested in educational work, and it was through his generosity that old Vanmeter Hall at the former Normal school was made a possibility, he furnishing the funds for its erection. When the State took charge of the school and bought the Potter College property and erected a handsome, stately building, it was named in his honor. It is one of the most substantial buildings in the State. In all public enterprises Captain Vanmeter had always been a leader, and many projects through his untiring energies have been made possibilities.

Obituary printed in Confederate Veteran, Vol. 21, March 1913

The existing Van Meter Hall was named after Vanmeter Hall which was part of the Southern Normal School & Business College in order to show the continuity of the Southern Normal School in the newly established Western Kentucky State Normal School.

The current Van Meter Hall is the second so named in WKU's history. It was dedicated on Friday, May 5, 1911, The building as first built had an auditorium with a seating capacity of 2,000 wherein WKU students attended chapel daily. Van Meter also contained classrooms and administration offices.

The orginal Vanmeter Hall was constructed to replace the main building of the Southern Normal School & Business College which burned on November 16, 1900. It was a castle-like structure and was completed in 1901 using remains of the burned building. Vanmeter Hall was located between College and Center Street and was over 15,000 square feet. The building contained the President's Office, a library, classrooms, the Business Hall, Chapel Hall, College Reception room and living quarters for the college president, After the creation of WKU in 1906, the building was part of the Bowling Green Business University until 1963.

Van Meter Hall Vertical File - available upon request

Additions - WKU Van Meter Hall

1954 - $25,000 new seats, lights and curtains for auditorium

1957 - addition of room for business office

1967 - auditorium stage made larger, air conditioning in offices
System of Arrangement Images are arranged alphabetically and numerically.
Subjects Western Kentucky University
Search Terms Van Meter Hall (WKU)
Finding Aids TopScholar -
Related Materials Images with UA1C2.89 prefix
UA30.1.2 - Planning, Design & Construction, Building File
Catalog Number UA1C2.79
Copyrights Check individual images for copyright restrictions.
Dates of Creation 1911-present
Caption WKU Archives Logo
Credit line WKU Archives
Extent 11 folders, oversize, 6 glass plates, 8 negatives, 32 negatives
Number of Images 1
Access Conditions no restrictions
Parent ID UA1C2
Level of Description Subseries
Disciplines Photography
Containers Van Meter - Construction
Van Meter - Exterior
Van Meter - Exterior, details
Van Meter - Interior
Van Meter - Postcards
Van Meter - Drawing
Van Meter
Van Meter - Interior
Van Meter - Construction
Van Meter - Interior
Van Meter
Van Meter
Van Meter - Interior
Van Meter
Van Meter
Van Meter
Van Meter
Van Meter
Van Meter - Exterior
Van Meter - Exterior
Van Meter