Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Graham Cottage Alumni House

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Institution Name: Transylvania University
Original/Historic Place Name: Graham Cottage
Location on Campus: 469 N. Broadway
Date(s) of Construction:
1863original construction
1980smajor reconstruction
Designer: unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Victorian (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Walls: brick
1863-1905private residence
1905-1976president's house
1976-present (2006)alumni center (and training center for students in the hotel, restaurant and tourism administration program)

Described by noted architectural historian Clay Lancaster as an "interesting antiquity," Graham Cottage has long been a gracious presence on the campus of Transylvania University.

It currently functions as the ideal alumni house (for meetings and receptions), with historical ties linking it to Transylvania for almost 140 years. The house was built in 1863 for J. M. Hocker, the founder and first president of Hocker Female College, later known as Hamilton College, and once part of Transylvania University. In 1869, it became the home of Rev. Robert Graham, the first president of Hamilton College. Graham, who was also a carpenter and cabinetmaker, served as President of the College of Arts of Kentucky University (now Transylvania University) from 1866 to 1869, and from 1875 to 1895 as the second president of the College of the Bible at Kentucky University (the College of the Bible is now known as the Lexington Theological Seminary).

Transylvania bought Graham Cottage in 1905 and used it to house various presidents. In 1976, the University began using it as an alumni house, which continues to this day. Graham Cottage underwent major restoration and renovation in the 1980's.


Lancaster, Clay. Vestiges of the Venerable City: A Chronicle of Lexington, Kentucky. Lexington, KY: Lexington-Fayette Historical Commission, 1978.

Wright, John D. Transylvania, Tutor to the West. Rev. ed. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1980.


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Last update: November 2006