12 Aug Historic Points
UofL has a long, long history. In fact it goes all the way back to 1798 when it was chartered by eight Louisville citizens. Obviously a lot of cool things have happened over the last 216 years—lots of academic and research achievements. But we wanted to share a few fun pieces of our history that will hopefully satisfy your inner trivia buff.
As the first Jewish person named to the U.S. Supreme Court, Louisville native Louis Brandeis is one of the city’s most famous historical figures. Brandeis graduated from Harvard Law School in only two years, with the highest GPA in the school’s history. Many landmarks throughout the city bear the Brandeis name, and his legacy also lives on with the donation of his many scholarly works to UofL’s Law Library. The ashes of Brandeis and his wife are buried beneath the portico at the entrance to the law school, which is named in his honor. Law students place coins over Brandeis’ final resting place before finals in the hopes of conjuring up his legendary wisdom and passion for their own work.
Eastern Parkway is one of the busiest roads around campus. But the pavement that separates the Speed School of Engineering and the Natural Sciences building has its own place in architectural history. The original design for the roadway was by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same man who designed New York City’s Central Park and many of the parks in Louisville. The roadway was completed, but the full scope of Olmsted’s vision wasn’t completed until 2010, when the area was renovated to include fencing and more.
People should know by now to never mess with the Cards. In 1980, the Red Barn hosted a Derby Eve party that was featured in the ABC-TV broadcast, “Friday Night Live from the Kentucky Derby.” Jack Klugman, an actor and owner of Derby contender Jaklin Klugman, was apparently miffed by the crowded space, saying “If my horse wins the Derby, I’m going to buy this garage and then I’m going to burn it to the ground.” Students booed. And the bathrooms in the facility were nicknamed “Jack” and “Jaklin.”
Martin Luther King
Lots of dignitaries and famous folks have come to UofL to speak. Both Bill and Hillary Clinton. Mitch McConnell. Joe Biden. Mikhail Gorbachev. But if you could go back to 1967, you’d get to hear Martin Luther King Jr. speak to an overflowing crowd in the Allen Courtroom about open housing legislation. The civil rights leader made the speech about one year before he died.
Sir Isaac Newton is said to have discovered gravity by watching an apple fall from a tree. It’s disputed as to whether the apple actually hit him in the head. However, there’s an apple tree behind the Urban Studies building that’s believed to have been propagated from Newton’s tree. There’s even a framed certificate to vouch for it.