It’s not an ox-stunner or a coffee table tome, but Larry Dendy’s new guide to the University of Georgia campus is an essential work for anyone interested in history and buildings in Athens.
Published by the University of Georgia Press, the book contains more than 130 photos, along with legends, lore, myths, stories and plain ol’ facts. In addition to buildings, Dendy’s Through the Arch: an Illustrated Guide to the University of Georgia Campus also talks about fountains, sculptures, gardens, green spaces and a bridge.
“It’s a very broad, comprehensive picture of the university today,” says Dendy, who worked as a writer and editor at UGA for almost four decades. “I thought I knew a lot about the university, but I really learned a lot I didn’t know.”
Officials at the press approached Dendy when he retired from UGA’s Public Affairs office in 2009 and talked with him about writing a book. They geehawed about the financing. Press personnel changed. But finally he got started, finishing the book four years—and dealing with an almost completely new University of Georgia Press staff—after the initial contact.
“There are a lot of interesting stories behind the doors of these buildings,” Dendy says. He says his book offers the backstory, with telling details about the people who constructed the buildings or those for whom they are named.
He credits other authors, noting that one reaches heights by standing on others’ shoulders. Especially supportive shoulders belong to Nash Boney, Tom Dyer and Tom Bowen. He also poured over magazine and newspaper articles and used the Internet to great advantage.
Lustrat House, for example, was originally built where the Administration Building now stands, and was later moved to its present location near Old College. Various faculty and staff members lived there, including Joseph Lustrat, for whom it is named. At one time, it was also a house museum, filled with antiques and items that belonged to Ila Dunlap Little, for whom the main library is named.
Does Dendy have a favorite building on campus? Besides Old College, everyone’s favorite?
“One that’s close to my heart is Terrell Hall, where I started working for the university in 1972,” he says. “I spent 15 years of my life in that building.”
Larry Dendy will discuss his new book, Through the Arch: an Illustrated Guide to the University of Georgia Campus, on Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm at the Athens-Clarke County Library. There will be a meet-the-author reception and book signing following the presentation. This event, which is co-sponsored by the Athens Historical Society and the Heritage Room of the Athens-Clarke County Library, is free and open to the public.