In 1904, University of Kentucky engineering senior Stuart M. Morris, whose father worked for a railroad company, built a small-scale replica of a locomotive in the UK shops—just for fun. Later, he and a friend built cars and a track for it and began giving rides to kids across the Commonwealth.
Yes, it actually ran.
After Morris moved to New Zealand, he offered the engine to the College of Engineering. Over time it was encased and displayed in different buildings. Named “Little Sentinel,” the pony engine resided in the Raymond Student Commons of the Ralph G. Anderson Building until its renovation in 2014. Currently resting in the basement of the Oliver H. Raymond Building, it is frequently visited by children attending the annual Engineers Day Open House.
In the December 6, 1932 edition of the Kentucky Kernel, F. Paul Anderson, the first dean of the College of Engineering, shared the story of how “Little Sentinel” became part of the College. In the article, Dean Anderson says that many of the kids who rode Morris’ engine ended up coming to UK, eventually graduating with an engineering degree. Now 112 years old, “Little Sentinel” continues to testify to the power of inspiration.