The president’s home at Kentucky Wesleyan College has housed numerous college presidents and their families, it’s hosted students from across the country, and it has been a welcoming center for the entire campus community.
Currently, the home is decorated for the holiday season and exudes warmth and coziness throughout its walls.
Chandra Prater, assistant to the president, said the president’s house is a staple in the Kentucky Wesleyan College community.
“It brings students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members together through various events throughout the year,” she said. “The college is eternally grateful for the generous donors that have decorated, furnished and donated to the house, making gatherings possible.”
Various events throughout the year are held at the president’s house, including Alumni Board and Student Leader Receptions, Alumni, Faculty, and Staff Christmas Open Houses, Bridal Showers, Chamber After Hours, Fraternity Cookouts, President’s Circle Receptions, and Student Government Association Retreats.
“The mark they (the donors) have left on Wesleyan is The Wesleyan Way, shining for future generations to appreciate our rich history,” Prater said.
The original president’s house was built for Robert E. Massie, a wealthy tobacco dealer in the early 1920s. His son later retained ownership of the house, and eventually sold it and the 70 acres from the original track surrounding the home to KWC in 1951.
Dr. Oscar Lever was the first president to occupy the house from 1955-59. In January, Dr. Thomas Mitzel — the school’s 35th president — and his wife, Rhonda, will occupy the current president’s house.
The original house sat at the end of a long driveway with trees on either side. The driveway led off from Frederica Street and was flanked by decorative gateposts, which were later moved closer to the house. The house was constructed of yellow brick, and included 5,500 square feet on the first and second floors.
An F-3 tornado blew through Owensboro in January of 2000 and damaged the original estate beyond repair, and the current house was built in its place.
The miniature Victorian settee was in the former residence. The tea table, pier mirror and sconces also survived, but required some repair.
Nearly every piece of furniture throughout the home is either refinished or reupholstered. The custom wood blinds throughout the home were donated by Hunter Douglas through Dick and Sally Anderson. All 56 windows in the home were manufactured by Sun Windows of Owensboro. This residence has been selected by Hunter Douglas’ New York advertising agency to be featured in a national trade magazine, Window Designs.
Most of the furniture in the living room, except the secretary, the curio cabinet and the rugs, were from the original home. The rugs are new, as are the gold gilt chairs that were a gift to Kentucky Wesleyan. The mantle was in the second-floor master bedroom in the former home, and it was saved and restored. The library table and the painting “Lady in Waiting” survived the storm, too.
The kitchen has dual functions – it’s for the president’s family and it also meets the entertaining needs for KWC. There are two dishwashers, two sinks with disposals, two oversized ovens, a microwave, a warming drawer and a five-burner cooktop. The refrigerator is a 48″ built-in and there is a second refrigerator in the entry area coming in from the garage. The island is granite and the counters are laminate with granite backsplashes. The cabinets were built by Phill’s Custom Cabinets of Owensboro and are maple with a cherry finish.