Plans are currently under way to erect a Kentucky historical marker to commemorate the former Bethel College in Russellville.
A planning committee has been formed and is currently in the process of raising the $2,500 needed in order to have the sign forged and erected.
“We have already gone through the process of submitting the eight-page inquiry to the Kentucky Historical Society and it has been accepted,” said Evelyn Richardson, a local historian and member of the committee to have the marker placed near the site of the old Bethel College.
Richardson said that currently, there is nothing in Russellville to signify that Bethel College even existed.
“There is still Bethel Shopping Center and Bethel Street, but newcomers to our town have no idea why it’s called that,” Richardson said. “Logan College has a marker, but not Bethel College.”
Once the money is raised, the historical marker will be placed at the corner of Fourth and Bethel streets, in the green space in front of the new First Southern National Bank.
“That is the ideal spot,” said Carl Foster, who is heading up the historical marker committee. “We are very pleased that First Southern is so interested in this project.”
When the fund was started, First Southern was quick to offer seed money, Foster said.
“We have distributed a letter to several individuals letting them know that we are raising money for the marker, if they would like to be a part of it,” he said. “There are numerous Methodist markers around Logan County – there is at least six, but there are none that are Baptist, and we would like to encourage the Baptists to help get this one up.”
Other members of the committee include Bill Fuqua, Charlie Ray, Rod Owens and Tracy Gilbert.
When the sign is erected, one side will read:
Began as Bethel High School 1854.
Chartered as a college 1856.
Authorized by Bethel Baptist
Assn. in 1849. Educated men for
ministry and other field.
Was 4-year college 1863-1920.
2-year junior college 1921-1933.
Co-ed 1928. Closed 1933.
Buildings razed 1968.”
The other side will read:
“BETHEL COLLEGE CAMPUS
Confederate Conv. met here 1861.
Used as hospital during Civil War.
Campus site, 16 acres.
5 buildings, Brookside Athletic
Field. 16-house Glasigh Court
for married students.
Walls of N. Long Hall dormitory
incorporated in house, @. 7th St.,
original iron and stone yard fence.”
For more information about contributing to the fund to place the marker, call Carl Foster at 270-836-6490, or funds can be mailed to 104 Woodhurst Lane, Russellville KY, 42276.