Remembering Central University

Dublin Core


Remembering Central University


This article presents interesting items from the 1963 manuscript, “I Remember Richmond,” written by Arthur K. Akers of Gulfport, Miss. His father was a professor at Richmond’s Central University, the Southern Presbyterian school which preceded Eastern and provided the original buildings and grounds for the state school that became Eastern Kentucky University.

Dr. J. Venable Logan was president of Central University. Akers says he had a “wonderfully mellow speaking voice. He taught Latin, Greek and Bible.”

Dr. Lewis Green Barbour taught mathematics and astronomy. Professor Charles Crooks also taught math, including the widely dreaded calculus. Dr. Howe taught chemistry. Most of Central’s faculty members were Presbyterian ministers.

Akers pointed out that the university operated medical and dental schools in Louisville. Clinical experience was available in that city, but not in Richmond. Dr. Lindsay Hughes Blanton was chancellor of the University. He lived in the house that is still in use — Blanton House. Blanton had the hardest job on campus — raising funds for the private school.

Akers’ father was paid $1,500 a year to teach modern languages. He was paid quarterly. Like today, the country had a financial panic in 1893 and Professor Akers’ salary was cut to $1,200. That is a 20 percent cut in pay. Most of his father’s salary was spent at Covington and Arnold’s Grocery. The Akers family had an account there and they settled their account balance four times a year as per their salary.

Central University had a military training program. The program was mandatory and there were four infantry companies. They had two field artillery cannons. Captain Wygate was the commanding officer and military instructor. This tradition reminded me of my days (1947-1951) in Eastern’s R.O.T.C. program. For awhile, Eastern required two years of military science for all males, complete with uniforms issued, parades and mock tactical operations. Back in the Central days, the brass left after the two cannons were fired off was collected by Akers and other local boys and sold to Mr. Neff, Richmond’s junk man. Were there any “junkyard dogs” in Richmond at this time?

More another time on interesting bits about Richmond in the era of 1886 to 1901, as recalled by Arthur K. Akers.

Feedback about lost schools

Readers continue to call about my “Lost Schools” column. Jane Bogie called and told of her father, George O’Donnell, attending Buffalo School on Jack’s Creek Pike at Shallow Ford. The O’Donnell family boarded the teacher at their home. She could not remember its name, but she said there was another school near the Mt. Nebo Church. It was located near the creek.

Diana Ross told me there was a school on Jack’s Creek Pike called Shallow Ford. It burned several years ago. Lillian Ramsey and Bill Ward called and said they remember Shallow Ford school and that it was a school for African American students.

Thank you Mrs. Bogie, Mrs. Ross, Ms. Ramsey and Mr. Ward for sharing your recollections with us.


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “Remembering Central University,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed May 26, 2022,