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Archive for Friday, August 12, 2005

Rock Chalk’ birthplace confirmed

August 12, 2005

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Shelley Hickman Clark was never sure whether to believe that the "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk" chant was created in her 150-year-old home in south Lawrence.

The house at 1743 Kent Terrace is the chant's birthplace, according to the written reminisces of a former Kansas University professor - and confirmed by the granddaughter of the chant's creator.

Hickman Clark's house was built in 1855 by Jim Savage, who came from Vermont with the second New England Emigrant Aid Society party. KU's science club would hold summer parties at his house, located on 160 acres of land known as Spring Hill Farm.

The "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk" chant was conceived by a former KU chemistry professor, E.H.S. Bailey, who wanted a cheer for the science club. The Kansas University Student-Athlete handbook credits Bailey with creating the chant, which then was "Rah, Rah, Jayhawk, KU."

Bailey was friends with Savage and liked taking students to the farm, said Carolyn Bailey Berneking, Bailey's granddaughter. The house at that time was still in the country, and chant-screaming students were no bother to neighbors.

Hickman Clark said her family moved into the house about 25 years ago. But it wasn't until about 14 years later that she and her husband began researching the home's history as the couple's daughter, Kelley, was working on a research paper for a high school class.

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