Van Meter Hall
Van Meter Hall is a building on the campus of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Constructed in 1911, this was the first building constructed on Western Kentucky University's campus; also the first campus building designed by Louisville, KY native, Brinton B. Davis.
Backstory and Context
This building, completed in 1911, is designed to look like the Acropolis's Erechtheion Temple. The most notable feature of the structure was a 1,600 seat auditorium for hosting concerts and public events, but Van Meter also contained office space. It was named for Captain Charles J. Van Meter, a local riverboat captain and developer.
Today Van Meter Hall houses the office of Campus and Community Events. The auditorium is heavily used for theatrical performances, musical performances (concerts/symphonies/orchestras), guest speakers, pageants, various dance recitals, and Van Meter also serves as meeting space for large events hosted by the campus' president and other campus constituents. Many famous faces have performed on the stage of Van Meter Hall. Some are: Carlos Mencia (comedian), Anoushka Shankar (sitar player), KISS (rock band), Nancy Cartwright (voice of animated Bart Simpson), Charlie Daniels (country band), and more.
The building has undergone minor renovations numerous times, most notably in 1968, 1969, and 1971. Van Meter Hall is currently undergoing a major renovation and expansion, started in the spring of 2008. More area is being added to the rear of the building, which will allow the music and theatre departments added space. The overhaul of the building will also allow for improvements in lighting structures and seating, which will allow student musicians and actors to stage better performances in the auditorium. The building reopened Spring of 2010.
Western Kentucky University has many ghost stories. In one such story Van Meter Hall is haunted by the ghost of a construction worker who was killed in a fall from above the auditorium stage during a renovation. Popular legend states that construction worker died in 1909 after seeing an airplane for the first time. Other versions of this tale refer to the death of an actress, a hermit living beneath the hall or the one-time president of the university Henry Hardin Cherry. The date of the supposed death is anytime between 1909 and the 1940s. The ghost is credited with moving furniture overnight, turning off lights and causing computer problems.