The Clover Bottom Cottage is the new home of the Office of Sustainability. Designated by The Kentucky Heritage Council as a Kentucky historical landmark, the building was built on Berea’s campus in 1903; built with repurposed logs from a church in Jackson County, the cottage has a history of using sustainable methods. Original resident Hettie Wright Graham was the head of the weaving industry until 1911. The weaving and dyeing skills learned by students during Graham’s time over the department helped to fund their Berea College expenses.
Anna M. Ernberg took over in 1911 as the weaving industry expanded to more than just weaving. During Ernberg’s time at Berea, she helped establish this valuable craft into a broad business called Fireside Industries which encompassed other aspects of handmade crafts such as making clothes, quilting, chair making, and other household arts. Some of her students went on to make regional and international impacts such as sending missionaries to China, Africa, and Micronesia along with continuing to help mothers and students pay for their education through Fireside sales.
With expanding popularity of Fireside Industry came the renovation of rooms for added class space, the Log House and Sunshine Ballard cabin were built and became the home of these crafts as The Clover Bottom Cottage retired to a residential building, eventually housing Berea’s dentist. The Clover Bottom Cottage and its humble beginnings were a mere starting point for an industry that impacted and spread to so many lives, just as sustainability is being widely incorporated into life here at Berea College today.