"San Marco" 2021  KMI Historical Exhibit


PRELIMINARY KMI EXHIBIT PLANS
Proposed by Michelle A. Harm
July 16, 2019




KMI exhibit installed at San Marco Building
Kentucky Military Institute used building from 1933-1970
(Staff Report-Venice Gondolier - 12/30/2020)
Creative Arts worker Dave Orlik installs an exhibit featuring the history of Kentucky Military Institute
VENICE — An exhibit of Kentucky Military Institute memorabilia was installed recently in the San Marco
Building in downtown Venice.  The three-story building, which opened as a hotel on Dec. 10, 1926, served as KMI’s winter campus from 1933 until 1970. 

The exhibit contains uniforms and other objects used by KMI cadets. Posters outlining the 126-year history of the military preparatory school extend throughout the building’s grand hallway. And a video monitor displays interviews with alumni sharing their memories of cadet life in Venice.

Creative Arts worker Dave Orlik installs an exhibit
featuring the history of Kentucky Military Institute

The exhibit was created by the Clearwater design fi rm of Creative Arts and was funded by the KMI Alumni Association in collaboration with the Venice Centre Association,representing the building’s condominium owners. Michelle Harm, former curator of the Venice Museum & Archives and a staff member with Venice MainStreet, curated the year-long project.

“Venice holds a special place in the hearts of former cadets who were fortunate enough to attend the school during its years here,” said Larry Humes, who graduated from KMI in 1965.

“Alumni are pleased to perpetuate the legacy of the school by supporting this exhibit.”


Founded in 1845 in Frankfort, Kentucky, KMI was one of the nation’s oldest military schools and one of the first to be affiliated with the U.S. Army’s Reserve Officer Training Program. The main campus was eventually moved to Lyndon, Kentucky.

Beginning in January 1933, the entire school would move to its Venice campus, where it would remain until just before the Easter break. The Venice campus included the former Hotel Venice and also the gymnasium and armory, which today serves as home for the Venice Theatre.

The school discontinued its winter trek with its 1970 visit and closed its doors the following year.

Located on Tampa Avenue, the grand hallway is open to the public and the exhibit is generally available for viewing during business hours






 



           Richard Findley '65                                            Jim Flora '62                 Larry Humes '65




KMI Historical Exhibit Dedication
January 15, 2021
VENICE — Kentucky Military Institute alumni returned to their former Venice campus Friday for a dedication of an exhibit at the San Marco building.

Larry Humes, with the KMI Alumni Association, emceed the dedication during a gathering outside the building along a slice of Centennial Park.

Humes thanked the Venice Centre HOA which assisted with creating the exhibit inside the San Marco building.

Now a mix of condominiums and businesses, the building once housed KMI students who would take a 36-hour train ride from northern Kentucky a few days after Christmas every year to spend a semester in Venice.

“Our motto was ‘Character makes the man,’” Humes recalled. He smiled as he spoke about the history and the exhibit that will last far into the future.

Creating the exhibit was a team effort, linking together the Venice Centre HOA, Venice MainStreet and KMI Alumni Association.

The exhibit was created by Creative Arts with funding by the KMI Alumni Association in collaboration with the Venice Centre Association, representing the building’s condominium owners.

Michelle Harm curated the year-long project, Humes said. Harm is with Venice MainStreet and is a former curator of Venice Museum & Archives.

“KMI and Venice Centre are forever linked together,” Venice Centre HOA President Peter Cundari said. “We are very, very grateful to be chosen to house this first-class exhibit.”

Harry Klinkhamer, manager of the Venice Division of Historical Resources, noted what KMI meant to Venice between 1933-1970 — calling the students “the ultimate snowbirds.”

“The time they spent here had an awesome impact on this community,” Klinkhamer said.

KMI alumni appreciated the efforts made.

“I’m glad to see the city is still willing to remember our school as being a part of the history of Venice,” Class of 1971 graduate Brigham Clegg said. “Most (residents) don’t know who we are.”

Clegg, now a Sarasota resident, said KMI taught him respect and how to be a team player — and spoke about the motto “Character makes a man.”

John Bevis, who graduated in 1965, said he was “making a career out of high school” before his father gave him the option of KMI. Aspects of the school taught him about organization. He became a pilot and boat captain, something he wonders if he’d been able to do without the discipline he learned.

And he has to make his bed every morning.

“Things are neat and straight,” he said.

Fred Francis, now a Venice resident and another KMI alumni, said there is something to be said for schools like KMI.

“It gave me an opportunity to grow up on my own,” said Francis, who graduated in 1957. “We matured quickly because we were here.”

KMI was founded in 1845 in Frankfort, Kentucky, and was the first affiliated with the U.S. Army’s Reserve Officer Training Program — then later moved to Lyndon, Kentucky, outside of downtown Louisville. It eventually closed its doors in 1971.

The exhibit features cadet uniforms and other items from their school years.

“Posters outlining the 126-year history of the military preparatory school extend throughout the building’s grand hallway,” Humes noted in an earlier news release.

There are also video monitors giving alumni interviews discussing their Venice memories and their cadet lives, Humes wrote.

“They’ve done a pretty good job,” Francis said.

By SCOTT LAWSON Gondolier Editor Jan 15, 2021
Most photos below by Scott Lawson of the Condolier

Fred Francis, who graduated from Kentucky Military Institute in 1957, speaks to Autie and Barbara Uhlich inside the San Marco building in Venice. The San Marco building was the campus for KMI between 1933-70. An exhibit was dedicated to it on Friday.

Barbara Uhlich, who has a condo in the San Marco building, speaks with Kentucky Military Institute graduate Fred Francis, class of 1957, on Friday. A new exhibit was dedicated Friday for KMI inside the building.                                

EARLE KIMEL / HERALD-TRIBUNE photo



EARLE KIMEL / HERALD-TRIBUNE photo

EARLE KIMEL / HERALD-TRIBUNE photo

Venice Historical Resources Manager Harry Klinkhamer, left, listens as David Farley, one of the developers who renovated the San Marco Building in the mid-1970s talks about how they discovered during the renovation that cadets from the Kentucky Military Institute would use plumbing raceways to sneak out of their dorm.
EARLE KIMEL / HERALD-TRIBUNE photo

KMI Alumni Association's Larry Humes, a longtime journalist and graduate of Kentucky Military Institute, speaks Friday to guests and fellow graduates celebrating a new exhibit at KMI's former Venice campus inside the San Marco building.

Phot by Scott Lawson of the Condolier

EARLE KIMEL / HERALD-TRIBUNE Photo
Kentucky Military Institute alumni and guests listen to a presentation by Peter Cundari, president of the Venice Centre HOA, on Friday. Venice Centre teamed up with the KMI alumni group for a new exhibit for the school that wintered in Venice between 1933-1970.

Kentucky Military Institute alumni pose for a photograph outside the San Marco building, which once served as their winter quarters for the school. A new exhibit inside celebrates the history of KMI.

Larry Humes addresses a socially distanced crowd in Centennial Park Friday, for the dedication of the new Kentucky Military Institute museum display in the San Marco Building.
EARLE KIMEL / HERALD-TRIBUNE photo

KMI Alumni Association's Larry Humes

KMI Alumni Association's Larry Humes

 
 
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