From Humbl-ish Beginnings
Early Campus Landscape. 1875. Photograph. Photographic Archives, Vanderbilt University Special Collections.
While Chancellor Garland was busy devising the academic curriculum for the school, Bishop McTyeire presented the very first blueprint for the construction of the campus. The bishop settled for a plot of land just west of Nashville adjoining West End Avenue and Hillsboro Pike. By July of 1873, he negotiated for seventy-five acres of residential land and rolling farmlands for $90,000. McTyeire described the location as “west of the city, beautiful for the situation, easy of approach, and of the same elevation as Capital Hill, which is in full view.” Upon seeing that Nashville was near major railroad routes, its central location, and proximity to the Methodist Church’s Publishing House, he immediately sealed the deal.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the campus is not the infrastructure itself, but rather its location in the South. The university’s geography sculpted an identity for the school, in that the location catalyzed each small accomplishment the university makes, setting the university under the national spotlight. Vanderbilt University, a campus built on slopes of hills, was certainly destined for prosperity and growth (much like the seven hills of Rome).