May 4 site could become landmark

Kristyn Soltis

State history board to review location’s nomination today

Kent State professors and Ohio officials will go before the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board today to discuss the possibility of making the May 4 site a historical location.

The professors have nominated 17 acres on Kent State’s main campus to the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of May 4, 1970.

Kent State professors Mark Seeman (anthropology), Laura Davis (health and human services), Carole Barbato (communications) and Jerry Lewis (professor emeritus of sociology) drafted the nomination, which was approved by the Board of Trustees in September.

The 17 acres include the Commons, the area below Taylor Hall, the parking lot and the practice field across from Taylor Hall. This is the site where Ohio National Guard members killed four students and wounded nine others during Vietnam War protests.

The Ohio Historical Society acknowledged May 4 happened less than 50 years ago but noted the event was nationally significant.

The May 4 nomination is one of five up for review today. Others include a portion of Logan in Hocking County.

Davis said it is possible all five nominations could be chosen as historical sites.

Also in attendance at the hearing this morning are Tom Neumann, associate vice president of university communications and marketing; Michael Bruder, director of design and construction for the Office of the University Architect; 20th Century American history scholar Renee Romano, of Oberlin; State Representative Kathleen Chandler; and former State Senator and Kent State alumnus Leigh Herington.

Seeman began thinking about the nomination three years ago, and the process of researching the exact location to be nominated began about two years ago.

Kent State’s front campus near Hilltop Drive is already declared a historical site. This area served at the original Kent Normal School campus in 1910.

Contact administration reporter Kristyn Soltis at [email protected].