Lawrenceburg Schools from an Earlier Time

1915, Miss Lee Cambell's School.

Here is the students from Miss Lee Cambell’s private school. Circa 1915 

With school beginning here in Anderson County next week, curiosity lead me to do some research of the early schools of Lawrenceburg. Although Lawrenceburg was officially formed in 1827, the first public school wasn’t built until 1904.

Back in the early 1800, education was not a big priority and little effort was made to educate the children. The schools at the time were put together privately and were held anywhere they could find the space. Some classrooms were no more than the shade under a large tree or an abandoned house or cabin. There was even a time, in 1830, when there was a school room in the lower level of the first courthouse.

The first private school is thought to have been built in the Ninevah area. A one room log cabin school house was used in this area of Lawrenceburg because it was the first area of the county that was settled and had many wealthier people living there. This school, along with the others that came soon after, never had a professional teacher but was taught by anyone who passed by that had the ability to read and write.

Soon, more private one room schools were built throughout the county. As many as forty schools at one time were being used. In 1839 the first larger private school was built in the downtown area. The Anderson County Seminary was built where the school buses currently are on Woodford Street. This school was a brick structure and was two stories high with two large and two small classrooms. This building was used as a school until it burned down in 1887.

First Public School on Woodford Street. Circa 1904

In 1888, the Kentucky Normal College and Commercial Institute was built in this location. This small private college had eight departments and fifteen professors. This college was for high school graduates looking to further their education in the field of teaching. In 1894, the Lawrenceburg Graded School Board, which was just recently organized, decided to purchase the building and land the college was on.

After examining the condition of the building, the school board decided to condemn it and build a new large brick building in 1904. This building had multiple classrooms and accommodated all the grades from elementary age children to high school. This building eventually became too small, and the high school was then merged with the private school, Kavanaugh Academy on Woodford Street in 1909.

Lawrenceburg High School on North Main. Circa 1926

Lawrenceburg High School on North Main. Circa 1926

As the population of Lawrenceburg increased, the need for more school buildings became a priority. In 1926 the County Board of Education purchase a large home on North Main Street from a family known as the Witherspoons.  The County Board of Education then sold the house to the City High School Board in 1929. They remodeled it and built a gymnasium onto the back and added a football and baseball field to the large tract of land that the house was on.  As time went on, more modern schools were built that eventually turned into the school system we have today.

Source: A History of Anderson County  by Major Lewis WeMcKee And Mrs. Lydia K. Bond

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Posted in History & Heritage, School & Education.

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