UPIKE History
Laughlin Cottage

by Edna Fugate, Archivist, University of Pikeville

Last month’s article about the Webers received a great deal of feedback, which I love. One of the most common responses was, “I’ve always wondered where the art gallery got its name!” This started me thinking. Are there other places on campus that are mysteries to students and alumni? Since becoming the archivist here, I have learned a great deal about our campus buildings, and this month’s article will discuss an often overlooked building on campus, Laughlin Cottage.

Many of you may know this building as the Baker House, but that was never actually an official name. The cottage was rented by Carol Baker, longtime professor of education, for many years. Over time, the cottage began to be called by her last name. It began life as the Laughlin Cottage, or the Model Cottage, and it was considered a very important asset for many years. It appears, however, to be the only building on campus to be left out of all of the published histories of the university.

In 1921, Henry A. Laughlin of Philadelphia provided Pikeville College with funding to build a model cottage. The purpose of the cottage was to train young women in homemaking. Construction of the building began immediately, but delays in construction postponed its opening for almost two years. This makes the cottage the second oldest building on the upper campus.* The following is a description of the cottage from the November 26, 1924 edition of The Record:

The building is a three-story brick structure including basement. The first story is divided into a large living room, dining room and kitchen and the second floor consists of bedrooms and bath.

When it first opened, Jean Nash, the domestic science teacher, was in charge of the cottage and the young women who lived there. The year after, Margaret Kern took the responsibility.
A play from one of the first Founder’s Day festivities, while not specifically referring to the cottage, counts the college’s home economics model program as an important part of the “School of the Future,” which they placed in 1962. James Record, in a 1932 article explaining the available campus facilities, mentions Laughlin Cottage and its use in home economics. It was featured in the early catalogs, usually with an accompanying photo. The 1926-1927 Pikeville College Catalogue says:

The Laughlin Cottage, erected in 1922, is a commodious brick house, modern in all of its appointments, and is used in connection with the work of the home economic department.

Senior women that completed the theoretical course in cooking would take turns spending six to eight weeks in Laughlin Cottage. The small group moved into the cottage and was provided with a stipend. With that stipend, the group had to maintain the cottage, arrange meals, and host parties. At the end, they had to present a clean cottage and a balanced budget.

During their stay, the group would provide a report that would be included in The Record. It contained daily activities and humorous side notes from their activities. The following is the report from November 15, 1923:

Monday, the 29th, the second bunch of girls were installed in the Cottage. They are as follows: Ruth Stone, Serilda Huffman, Hilda Beran and Ruth Harmon. Tuesday, Esther May Williams arrived and Friday, Joe Ratliff joined us.

Work was given for the week to the girls. Ruth Stone became supper cook and made many of her chocolate pies. We are glad to say that all survived the effects of them.

Miss Schramm took dinner with Mrs. Johns Wednesday. She said a wonderful dinner was served but – could it beat the one Hilda cooks:

Thursday night Miss Kern and Miss Schramm starred as basketball players. The “bunch” is proud of them. Miss Schramm says the reason she did not make a single foul was because she didn’t know how. After the game Mr. Stansbury and Mr. McClelland stopped in for a piece of pie. We were agreeably surprised to see them at school next morning.

Wednesday the “bunch” ate supper at home and met at prayer meeting; then we all came to the Cottage. A very good ghost left us a box of apples that night, and the very good ghost turned out to be Mr. Harman. After going up stairs we were entertained in Ruth Harman’s room by ghost stories and apples. That night, in a mysterious way, Miss Schramm and Miss Kerns were tied in their rooms with a rope. The joke turned. They got out without our hearing it.

Taffy, Jinkins up, boys and girls, a good time! Just after Literary Society eight little maids appeared in the Model Cottage to await the arrival of eight gallant knights. When all were there they gathered around the dining room table for an hour and played “Jinkens up!” while the taffy was cooking. The remainder of the evening was spent pulling candy. John Beran said that Miss Schramm’s and Mr. Stansbury’s joke did not pull off so well. (?)

Saturday was spent in house cleaning by the girls, Miss Kerns and Emmet, and in hearing book reports by Miss Schramm. About noon all packed and went home ‘till Monday leaving the house clean for company.

Dr. Dixon was entertained at the Cottage during his stay in Pikeville. A number of the faculty members were invited in for Sunday dinner.

After the home economics department was discontinued, Laughlin Cottage became a dormitory for six faculty women. However, by the 1950s, it was known as the Dean’s House and was home to various deans, administrative members and faculty. In the 1980s, it spent a short time as the “Honor’s House,” where five junior or senior women could live, provided they had a 3.0 GPA and no social or academic penalties. Currently, the residence is used to accommodate guests of the university when needed.
Laughlin Cottage has been part of the University of Pikeville for more than 90 years. While its role in the institution has changed over that time, it is still a valued piece of our campus history.

*Derrianna, dedicated in 1908, is the oldest building on the upper campus. The Administration Building was opened in 1925.

“Cottage.” 11-15-1923. The Record. Pikeville College, Pikeville, KY.

“History of the Model Cottage.” 11-26-1924. The Record. Pikeville College, Pikeville, KY.
                     Pikeville College Catalogue, 1926-1927. Pikeville College, Pikeville, KY.

Record, James. 1932. [College History]. 92-00 Pikeville College Collection, Special Collections, University
                     of Pikeville, Pikeville, KY.

[Founder’s Day Play]. ca.1932. 92-00 Pikeville College Collection, Special Collections, University of Pikeville, Pikeville, KY.

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