Belmont Predecessor Run by Lesbians?

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com December 07 2010 9:30 AM ET

Historical records indicate that Belmont University, the Tennessee school at the center of controversy over the departure of a lesbian women’s soccer coach, may have be run by lesbians in an earlier incarnation.

Last week, news broke that coach Lisa Howe may have been forced to leave her job at the Nashville school after she informed athletic director Mike Strickland that her partner is pregnant. Howe has declined to comment on the matter.

As for Belmont, according to Nashville Scene, a gay rights controversy involving the school’s Harpeth Hall in 1996 produced evidence to suggest that Ida E. Hood and Susan L. Heron, the founders of Belmont College, may have been lesbians.

The Scene reported on the possibility 14 years ago: “Actually, it seems appropriate that there should be some discussion of lesbianism on the Harpeth Hall campus. The school’s predecessor, Ward-Belmont School for girls, which closed the same year Harpeth Hall was founded, was started by two women some historians speculate were lesbians. Ida E. Hood and Susan L. Heron are buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in a grave with a double marker. Documents and paperwork found in the Nashville Room of the public library paint a picture of two lifemates who very likely shared much more than a devoted “friendship.” (One oft-repeated anecdote tells of the two women daily pushing the sofa in front of the door when it came time for their afternoon nap. They lived in the house where Vanderbilt University chancellor Joe Wyatt lives now.)”