Kent State's May Prentice house on the move again

By Thomas Gallick | Staff Writer Published:

The home of Kent State University's first female faculty member moved for the second time in a little more than a year Thursday, as the school continued its work on the Esplanade walkway extension between downtown Kent and campus.

KSU hired Stein House Movers to relocate the 111-year-old May Prentice House from its temporary location on South Willow Street to a spot on the walkway between Willow and Lincoln streets. The Cortland-based firm moved the 44-ton house from its original location at 128 S. Willow St. to a temporary spot located on the other side of the street's intersection with East Erie Street in February 2012.

Since that last move, construction workers have demolished all of the houses that formerly sat on the section of East Erie Street between Haymaker Parkway and Willow Street, along with many on Willow Street. Workers also regraded that section of East Erie Street, which was vacated by the city and replaced by the walkway.

May Prentice was hired by Kent State Normal School, the precursor to KSU, in 1912. She taught English, education and school management before retiring in 1930.

Prentice lived in the South Willow Street home until her death in 1935. KSU's Prentice Gate, located at the entrance to campus at the corner of East Main and South Lincoln streets, is named in her honor.

KSU plans to house its Wick Poetry Center in the May Prentice House, which officials said was in better shape than most homes in the Esplanade area because it was never used as a boarding house. An outdoor "Poetry Park" with an amphitheater and displays will surround the house.

Officials hope the Wick Poetry Center will be able to move into the house by October. At about the same time, KSU plans to start work on a new $40 million architecture building on the south side of the Esplanade opposite the May Prentice House and "Poetry Park."

The extended walkway is scheduled for completion this summer. The construction on the project is scheduled to wrap up at the same time as the work on KSU Hotel and Conference Center, which is located on the opposite side of Haymaker Parkway from the Esplanade.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or tgallick@recordpub.com

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  • Ahhhh the Genesis of the most irrelevant place on campus. A combination women's history/poetry center; "aint nobody got time for that!"