Lincoln's Legacy in the Cumberland Gap : Lincoln's wish and the University that bears his name

Lincoln Memorial University grew out of love and respect for Abraham Lincoln and today honors his name, values, and spirit. As the legend goes, in 1863 Lincoln suggested to General O. O. Howard, a Union Army officer, that when the Civil War ended he hoped General Howard would organize a great university for the people of this area. In the late 1800s, Colonel A. A. Arthur, an organizing agent of an English company, purchased the area where Lincoln Memorial University is located. His company built a hotel of 700 rooms called "The Four Seasons," as well as a hospital, an inn, a sanitarium, and other smaller buildings. Roads were laid and the grounds planted with a wide variety of shrubs and trees. In 1895 the company was forced to abandon its project when a financial panic swept England. Reverend A. A. Myers, a Congregationalist minister, came to the Cumberland Gap in 1888. He succeeded in opening the Harrow School, established for the purpose of providing elementary education to mountain youngsters. On a visit to the area to give a series of lectures at the Harrow School, General O. O. Howard remembered his commitment to fulfill Lincoln's request and he joined Reverend Myers, M. F. Overton, C. F. Eager, A. B. Kesterson, and M. Arthur in establishing Lincoln Memorial University. That group, along with Robert F. Patterson, a Confederate veteran, became a board of directors and purchased The Four Seasons property. In commemoration of Lincoln's birthday, the institution was chartered by the State of Tennessee on February 12, 1897, as Lincoln Memorial University. (Lincoln Memorial University Homepage)

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Lincoln's Legacy in the Cumberland Gap