Graded School Ruins Along the Dawkins Trail

Ivyton Graded School – Ivyton, Ky. Author’s collection.

Harold Ickes said that “the new rural schools, made possible by good roads, are quite as
modern as the best city schools. Where it was necessary to have eight one-room schools in the
past, there is now a single eight-room school.” Ickes would know: he served as President Franklin Roosevelt’s Interior Secretary and was responsible for implementing the New Deal. 

Although a number of New Deal programs were involved in building new schools, the Works Progress Administration was the most active. The WPA channeled “more than $162 million through
thousands of state projects and had as many as seventy-two thousand Kentuckians on the 
payroll in the September 1938 peak.”
(Blakey 1986, 59). 

One of those schools is the old Ivyton Graded School which is located just off the Mountain Parkway in Magoffin County. Perhaps you have noticed the ruins on the northern side of the roadway.

The Mountain Parkway (and Dawkins Trail) at Ivyton, Kentucky. Author’s collection.

The ruins first caught my eye when returning from a court hearing in Pikeville in 2013. It was a cold March and spring had not yet begun to bloom, leaving the ruins exposed. I was immediately drawn to the point that I reversed course so that I could explore. 

The Kentucky Heritage Council surveyed the site nine years earlier, in 2004, for its Inventory Survey, observing that

Ivyton School under construction. UK Libraries.

All that remains of the building is the exterior walls. The structure is constructed of  ashlar sandstone blocks laid in broken range work. The school was a one-story, three-bay (w/d/w), side-gabled structure. The centered, arched entry of the façade, constructed with quoins and a keystone, projected slightly from the wall place of the façade. A date stone directly above the entry states: “WPA 1938”. Stone quoins are found on each corner of the structure. None of the windows remain. Each of the window openings has a keystone. The southwest gable end of the structure has three large window openings, a window opening near the apex of the wall and a stone chimney. The school appears to have been constructed in a “T” shape, with a perpendicular gable-roof section projecting from the rear of the structure. 

Date stone at the old Ivyton Graded School – Ivyton, Ky. Author’s collection.

Above is a photograph, taken in 2013, of the date block directly above the entrance to the old graded school. 

I recently returned from another court appearance in Pikeville and made it a point to again visit the ruins. This time, I knew that the Dawkins Trail (Kentucky’s longest rail-trail) crossed the Mountain Parkway at Ivyton. So I explored further on foot. Within a short walk from what has become a de facto trailhead at Ivyton are two of the most unique locations along the 18-miles of open trail, including a 662-foot tunnel and the bridge trussle over the Mountain Parkway. 

So next time you are traveling the Mountain Parkway, be sure to see if you can spot the old Ivyton Graded School!

The afternoon sunlight hits the Ivyton School ruins in November 2015. Author’s collection

Louisville Elementary School on National Register

Charles D. Jacobs Elementary School (1932) – Louisville, Ky.
Photo: T. Dade Luckett (NRHP Application File)

Earlier this year, the Department of the Interior approved the application of the Charles D. Jacob Elementary School for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Located at 3670 Wheeler Avenue in Louisville’s south end, the two structure elementary school has seen little exterior change since the 1930s.

The first building was constructed one hundred years ago, in 1912. The two-story structure features both craftsman and colonial revival elements and is a fraction of the size of the much larger 1932 addition which is connected to the original school by a breezeway. This larger structure was described upon its opening by the Courier Journal as “a buff brick building of modern architecture” which today exemplifies the traditional  architectural style of educational buildings of the era, i.e., art deco/moderne.

Charles D. Jacobs Elementary School (1912) – Louisville, Ky.
Photo: T. Dade Luckett (NRHP Application File)

The land on which the school sits was formerly owned by Charles Donald Jacob, for whom the school and its neighborhood are named. The 1912 structure was a seven-room schoolhouse originally known as Jacob’s Addition Community School until 1922 when the neighborhood was annexed by Louisville and the school by Louisville City Schools. The name of the school was changed to Charles D. Jacob Elementary when the addition was added in 1932.

Charles D. Jacob was a four-term mayor of Louisville being first elected in 1872. Jacob’s father was the president of the Bank of Kentucky and thus Jacob was raised in a family of wealth. An elegant man, he always wore a yellow rose and sought to beautify and improve Louisville. To these ends, he is considered the father of Louisville’s parks. Iroquois Park was originally named Jacob’s Park after the mayor who envisioned the city’s great parks. Jacob’s administration oversaw the construction of the city’s first Home for the Aged and Infirm, the installation of the city’s first granite and asphalt streets, and the conversion of street lighting from gas to electricity. At the school’s 1932 dedication, a school board member said of Mayor Jacob: “I don’t think that the history of Louisville will show the name of a man who gave more service more unselfishly that that of Mr. Jacob.”

For more on the unique architectural combination found at the Charles D. Jacob Elementary School, be sure to read the National Register application file.

Source: NRHP Application File, courtesy Ky. Heritage Council.

NoD: Pikeville College began in today’s City Hall

Pikeville, Ky.
City Hall – Pikeville, Ky.

In 1887, three men rode into the hills of eastern Kentucky as members of the Ebenezer Presbytery, now part of the Presbyterian Church, USA. These men – Dr. W.C. Condit of Ashland, Dr. Samuel B. Alderson of Maysville, and Dr. James Hendricks of Flemingsburg – were concerned that “some of America’s finest people were being neglected both in educational and spiritual development.” After several trips into the area and upon the urging of the people, it was determined that Pikeville (then a community of about 300 people) should be the situs for an educational facility.

Pikeville, Ky.Ground was broken in 1889 for the Pikeville Collegiate Institute and the Institute held its first classes on September 16, 1889. Using clay from the nearby Big Sandy River, bricks were fired on-site to create this two story structure which rests upon a foundation of locally sourced stone. The building is the oldest educational building in Pike County, even though its purpose is no longer educational. The building is also considered to be one of the oldest within Pikeville’s city limits.

Pikeville Collegiate Institute, in 1909-1910, split into Pikeville College and the Pikeville College Academy, a prepatory institution. The Academy occupied this building, dubed the “Old Academy Building,” until the Academy closed in 1955. When the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, it was used for art classes but had been used over the years for classes, as a community center and as a chapel. After a period of abandonment, the City of Pikeville restored the Old Academy Building as its City Hall.

Cornelius Carroll
Historic Marker
National Register