Given to the University of Kentucky by the class of 2003, Historical Marker #2106 commemorates Patterson Hall. When women finally obtained campus housing in 1904, twenty-four years after the first woman enrolled at UK, this hall was opened. It was built specifically as a woman's dormitory and was the first building constructed off of the main campus. It housed 139 women. Built during the administration of James Patterson, his brother, Walter, sought funding for the building and oversaw construction. UK's second president, Henry Stites Barker and his wife, who was the dean of women, lived in the dormitory during his presidency (1911-1917). In the fall of 1993, Patterson Hall opened to male students for the first time, except for a brief period during World War II, when it housed soldiers. It is now co-ed and the oldest UK dorm still in existence.
The building was named for UK's first president, James K. Patterson. His family emigrated from Scotland to Indiana in 1842, when he was nine years old. He graduated from Hanover College with a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts. He briefly taught at Stewart College in Clarksville, Tennessee, but left the area when the Civil War forced the college to close. He became the principal at Transylvania Academy (part of what is now Transylvania University) in 1861. When they merged with Kentucky University and the newly formed Kentucky A&M College in 1865, Patterson became a professor and eventually in charge of the A&M College. In 1908, he oversaw its transition to university status and it became known as State University. Patterson was president until he retired in 1910.
The UK Senior Challenge Historical Marker Project, administered by the Kentucky Historical Society, began in 1994 as a way for the graduating senior class to leave a memorial to the university. Every year since then, the UK historical marker committee has decided on the topic, raised the money, and written the text for the markers.