Lowry Hall

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Lowry Hall

Post by kimerajamm on Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:33 am

In 1863 the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad was constructed through Franklin Mills, due largely to the efforts of local businessman Marvin Kent, son of Zenas Kent. Marvin Kent had started his own railroad company, the Franklin and Warren Railroad, in 1851 after Franklin Mills, already home to several Kent family ventures and properties, was bypassed by the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad that same year. Kent was also successful in getting the village named as the location of the railroad's maintenance yards and shops in 1864. The geographic location along the railroad and being home to the shops reinvented and revitalized the village as an important stop on the east-west line between St. Louis and New York City. The shops would open in 1865 and the railroad would play an important part of Kent's industry and development through the early 20th century before the shops were completely shut down in 1930. To honor Marvin Kent, the village was renamed Kent in 1864, although this change was not official until the village was incorporated on May 6, 1867.[10]

John Davey came to Kent in 1881 as head grounds keeper at Standing Rock Cemetery, and planted several trees, landscaped the cemetery, and performed experiments on trees. In 1901, he published his theories on tree surgery with his book The Tree Doctor, and later established the Davey Tree Expert Company in 1909. The efforts of Davey and the presence of Davey Tree led to the establishment of "The Tree City" as a nickname for Kent, which is reflected in the city's seal.[11][12] The company continues to be headquarted in Kent and serves as the city's largest private employer.[13]
Lowry Hall, one of the original campus buildings of Kent State University

After a fire destroyed the Seneca Chain Company in 1909, one of the city's main industries at the time, city leaders created the Kent Board of Trade in 1910, a forerunner to the Chamber of Commerce. The new Board was successful later that year in having Kent selected out of twenty northeastern Ohio cities as the site of a new teacher training college, which became known as the "Kent State Normal School".[14] The site for the school was on 53 acres (21 ha) of land donated by William S. Kent, son of Marvin Kent, on what was then the eastern edge of town. By 1929 the school was renamed Kent State College after the establishment of a college of liberal arts and degrees in the arts and sciences and in 1935 was renamed Kent State University after it was given authorization to grant advanced graduate degrees. The bill giving Kent State university status was signed into law by Ohio governor and Kent native Martin L. Davey, son of tree surgeon John Davey.[15] During the 1950s and 1960s the growth of Kent State University combined with the effects of suburbanization resulted in significant population growth for the city, rising from just over 12,000 residents at the 1950 census to over 28,000 by 1970.[16] Black squirrels were brought to the campus from Canada in 1961 by Kent State University head groundskeeper Larry Woodell. The squirrels have become an icon for both KSU and the city and are often used as unofficial mascots and symbols.


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