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Old photograph of simple white buildings
A view of the original Asbury College campus

When John Wesley Hughes began to pursue a location for his college, the first offer came from a Mr. Slicer, who owned a brick school building in Nepton, Kentucky, but Hughes did not like the location. Methodist pastor Rev. W.S. Grinstead invited Hughes to consider Wilmore, then a quiet community on the Q&C Railroad. Hughes liked the place immediately, describing it as “a good country, fine citizenship, thrifty farmers, healthful, easily accessible, a quiet country place, no town, only a few scattering houses, away from all the whirl, confusion, and wickedness of city life… The magnificent climate, with picturesque surroundings with all their charms would be the very place to develop character.” The original Asbury College campus was located near where the Wilmore United Methodist Church now stands.

Smoldering remains of a brick building
Pictures from the day of the fire

In the early morning of March 18, 1909, a fire began in the Music Hall and quickly spread to the Administration Building. Both buildings were a complete loss. Tragically, the college had just gotten out of debt, but was now deeply in debt once again. The college seriously considered moving to another town, and Paintsville, Kentucky, made a strong push to attract the school. But the town of Wilmore managed to raise $15,000 to keep the college there.

In 1906 Asbury College had purchased Bellevue College, a Presbyterian secondary school that had gone out of business.  Bellevue was located where the current campus of Asbury College stands. The two remaining Bellevue buildings were used from 1906-1909 as boarding for female students.

Old photograph of brick buildings
Bellevue College

With the main building of the old campus was destroyed, Asbury relocated to its current location, the old Bellevue Campus. A new administration building (still in use) and boys’ dormitory (Wesley Hall) were quickly constructed.

 

Old photo of a wide-view shot of a hillside with simple houses and buildings
A view of the new campus from the old campus (1910)