WKU from the 1920’s to now

Big Red urges the crowd to rise to its feet in support of WKU during the second half of WKU’s game vs MTSU in Diddle Arena. 

Katelyn Latture

WKU has been a school for over a century now. As we begin a new decade, let’s look at nine things that have changed since 1920.

  1. In 1920, World War I had only been finished for two years, and WKU was still under the name Western Kentucky State Normal School. It changed to Western Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College in 1922, and it kept the name until it was changed again in 1948. Two name changes later and WKU is, as people know it now, Western Kentucky University.

  1. In the 1920s Hilltoppers needed student tickets in order to attend a sporting event, according to photographs in the WKU archives. Now all they need to do is flash their student ID at the door. 

  1. Henry Hardin Cherry, WKU’s first president, was still serving in the 1920s until his death in 1937. Today, WKU is on its 10th president, Timothy Caboni. 

  1. Prohibition was instituted in 1920 and amended in 1933. Nowadays, there is quite a bar scene in Bowling Green, as speakeasies are no longer a necessity. However, the city does now have a speakeasy-themed bar, Brew Co. Underground.

  1. The first campus store was opened in September 1920, according to Lowell Hayes Harrison’s book “Western Kentucky University.” Hayes wrote that it was built because there were no other book stores near campus, and most didn’t carry the required textbooks. They certainly didn’t have an Apple section back then. 

  1. The Snell Hall students and staff know today is not the original. WKU’s archives revealed it was previously home to Ogden College before it was joined to WKU, and the original building was in an Italian renaissance style. In the early 2000s the building had to be torn down because it would have been too expensive to renovate. What students see today is certainly not the Italian renaissance building of old. 

  1. E. A. Diddle, for whom the basketball stadium is named, became the head basketball coach in 1922 and served WKU for over four decades.

  1. The Ogden Hall located on campus now is not the first WKU building by that name. The college had its own building from 1873 to 1966, according to the WKU archives. The original building no longer stands. 

  1. 100 years ago, the Hill’s beloved Big Red did not yet exist. He didn’t come on the college campus scene until 1979. 

Features reporter Katelyn Latture can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]