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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Kemp P. Battle (1831-1919) and Battle Park

Kemp P. Battle (1831-1919) Battle Park

Battle Park was named for Kemp Plummer Battle, university president from 1876 to 1891. The park, part of the university’s original land holdings, is now home to the Forest Theatre. Since July 1, 2004, the North Carolina Botanical Garden has managed the 93 acres of Battle Park's forest and trails. Battle grew up next to this forest and was responsible for turning it into a park. Son of a faculty member, he became a successful antebellum attorney and businessman. After the university closed in 1871, Battle led a campaign to reopen it under conservative leadership. The effort succeeded in 1875, and the next year Battle became the new president. He began to modernize the campus by hiring faculty with doctorates, reforming the classical curriculum, and expanding the library and science laboratories.