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New Book Chronicles History Of U of L’s Belknap Campus

Courtesy U of L

Over nearly a century of existence, the University of Louisville’s Belknap campus has grown with the school. Tom Owen and Sherri Pawson have between them nearly 80 years of experience working at U of L and have combined their talents to tell the story of the campus in a new book titled simply, “University of Louisville, Belknap Campus.”

I spoke with Owen and Pawson about their work and you can listen to our conversation in the audio player above.

Tom Owen on the land that would become Belknap Campus:

"It was a cemetery, a city owned cemetery. There were some burials, it was a short-lived cemetery and then it was designated and buildings were built for a reform school and orphanage owned by the city, but the only problem was that as soon as they got the buildings ready to go, the Union Army said we need this campus for an expanded military complex out there. And so they did not have an orphan or a delinquent or a vagrant young person until 1865. And then, that house of refuge, later Louisville Industrial School of Reform, it survived there until 1923."

Sherri Pawson on why much of the book's focus is on the 1950s:

"That's the age were the campus grew, that's were it became a destination for students to come. They became both invested in their social life, but in their education all at the same time. And it was a boon for us as far as expanding as well. We added buildings, we added programs, all the way around."


Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for LPM. Email Bill at bburton@lpm.org.