Transylvania University tracing down roots of historic badge from the '50s

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Posted at 5:33 PM, Jun 10, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — There's a bit of a mystery at Transylvania University.

It dates back to when it was Transylvania College. The problem is, nobody seems to have an answer.

It started when the police chief got an old piece of mail. Inside was a police badge, which he thinks is from the late 1950s.

"It reminded me of the stories that you see where you get a piece of mail and 50 or 60 years later," said Chief Joseph McClure.

McClure has a different kind of investigation up his sleeve. It's something that's still a mystery.

"Once I got to the bottom of the crate, there was something that immediately caught my eye and it was a small box there, with two Monticello twenty-cent stamps," he said.

The box was found in a vault where crews were recently working on a construction project. The historic box had a separate mystery inside.

"It was a badge from Transylvania College, which would have been the university's name from the early 1900s through mid-1960s," he said. "Immediately knew we had something special."

Transy's history is already well documented, dating back to when it was founded in 1780. Now they have this piece of history with an unknown story behind it.

"I knew there was a period in the '70s where we didn't have an established department," McClure said. "So this was something new that really kind of added a mystery to everything."

"When we look through the campus yearbooks and annuals, we don't find any mention of them from that period in the late 50s and early 60s," he added.

There are still many questions unanswered.

"So it makes you wonder, was there an established department? Did it ever get on its feet? Was it one or two officers or did it never make it into existence?"

"I think the most interesting thing for me is just looking at an unknown portion of history, especially for our department," he said. "You know when you're the head of the department, you think you got all the knowledge that you'd know about one's department but now, it added a whole new dimension to that."