Abandoned school in Kentucky


Lebanon Junior High School and Lebanon High School, Lebanon Kentucky
Date added: April 24, 2023 Categories: Kentucky School
West facade of Lebanon Junior High School looking east (1999)

1918-1939 is the time in which the Lebanon High School and Lebanon Junior High Schools developed into the present-day complex. The beginning date 1918 constitutes the construction of the Lebanon High School, and 1939 signifies the completion of construction and opening of the Lebanon Junior High School.

During the first half of the 20th century, attitudes toward public education in Kentucky and United States changed. Education became a necessity, not a luxury. With the enactment of compulsory attendance laws in the early 1920s, Kentucky schools experienced growth in school population and greater demands and need for improved educational facilities. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Kentucky's educational system continued to experience changes and demands for improved facilities. By 1941, 144,000 students were enrolled in the state's 592 white and 74 black high schools, and over seventy-nine percent of the school-age children attended Kentucky schools.

Besides the changes in attitude and school population, the Kentucky's system of public education also changed. In the early 1900s, Kentucky's educational system reflected the socioeconomic differences of rural and urban areas. However, the shift in attitude and policy resulted in the "ending of the dual educational standards and opportunities existing in town and in the country". In the 1930s, Kentucky schools began a trend of consolidation in order to afford greater educational opportunities and to provide improved facilities. Over 8,000 one-room schools were closed, and larger schools were constructed in convenient locations in towns and county seats. The demand for improved facilities and consolidation resulted in changes in school architecture. "Instead of the one-room schoolhouse, consolidation provided the two-story, multi-room stone and brick structure, both imposing in appearance and suggestive of the power of county seat and state politics. In poor counties, Depression-era programs paid for a proportion of building costs; between 1930 and 1939 the WPA and PWA were involved in 1,758 school construction projects. In wealthier counties, the issuance of bonds did.". The early 20th-century school architecture reflected the importance of education, and the imposing structures were honored institutions and focal points in Kentucky cities.

Construction on the Lebanon High School on North Spalding Avenue began in 1918. Designed by C.C. & E.A. Weber Architects of Cincinnati, Ohio and constructed by contractor J.C. Miller of Campbellsville, Kentucky, this new high school was described as ". . . one of the most modern school buildings to be found in any of the smaller cities of the state and one that every citizen of the community may point to with pride". Lebanon citizens also commented that "the plan of the building meets all the regulations of modern school architecture, and when erected it will be a lasting monument to the enterprise and culture of the citizens of Lebanon". This Georgian Revival style building was designed to provide adequate educational facilities for nine teachers and two hundred fifty to three hundred students. The building possessed modern mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. The building was financed through a bond issuance of $40,000, and the total cost of construction was $80,000.

The Lebanon High School provided facilities for secondary education from 1919 to 1970. All city students, tenth through twelfth grades, attended the Lebanon High School. Until the consolidation of city and county school systems in 1964, county students could attend the Lebanon High School but were required to pay tuition. The Lebanon High School was the only public high school in the City of Lebanon, and it was one of six high schools in Marion County from 1938 to 1964. Holy Cross and St. Francis were two parochial high schools in Marion County. Holy Cross closed in 1951, and St. Francis still operates as a private parochial school. Bradfordsville High School and St. Charles High School were two county high schools. Bradfordsville High School closed in 1954, and St. Charles High School closed when the city and county school districts consolidated in 1964. Finally the Rosenwald High School was the African-American graded and high school, and it served the African-American school populations in Marion County and surrounding counties until 1961.

Lebanon High School records indicate average enrollments of 200 students between 1945 and 1957 (Marion County Board of Education). With the provision of transportation to and from school and the consolidation of the city and county school districts in 1964, the Lebanon High School experienced increases in school population throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In 1970, the Lebanon High School was closed, and the new Marion County High School opened. The Lebanon High School building was then utilized for additional facilities for the Lebanon Junior High School. With the relocation of the Lebanon Middle School in 1995, the Lebanon High School building was vacated.

The Lebanon Junior High School was constructed between 1938 and 1939 as a Public Works Administration (PWA) project. Designed by architect Thomas J. Nolan of Louisville and constructed by Skilton Construction, the Lebanon Junior High School building was dedicated in 1939 in the memory of James Reid Sterrett, Sr., Lebanon school superintendent from 1909 to 1935. This school was designed specifically to match the architecture of the adjacent Lebanon High School. According to the architect Thomas J. Nolan in 1938, "The structure will be of architecture corresponding to that of the high school and will be full two stories high with a basement which protrudes above the ground level about six to eight feet". The total cost of construction was $63,000, and the PWA funded forty-five percent of the total cost of construction. The remaining construction costs were funded by city revenue bonds.

The Lebanon Junior High School was the only junior high facility for the city and county school systems. Prior to the consolidation of the school districts, county students also were permitted to enroll at this city school; however, the county system or parents were required to pay tuition. Between 1939 and 1986, the junior high school included seventh, eighth, and ninth grades. With the relocation of the high school in 1970, the junior high school expanded its facilities into the high school building. In 1986, the Board of Education moved the ninth grade to the high school and incorporated sixth grade classes into the Lebanon Middle School. The Lebanon Middle School occupied both the high school and junior high school buildings until July 1995. In 1995, the new Lebanon Middle School opened, and the Lebanon Junior High School was vacated.

In 1998, the City of Lebanon purchased the school complex and adjacent Johnston Athletic Field and Drye House. The City of Lebanon intends to renovate the historic structures for reuse as the Lebanon Community Center.

Building Description

The Lebanon High School and Lebanon Junior High School are located in Lebanon, Marion County, Kentucky. These schools face west on North Spalding Avenue. The schools are typical of public architecture in the first half of the 20th century and are examples of the Georgian Revival style of architecture.

The Lebanon High School was designed by C.C. & E.A. Weber Architects of Cincinnati, Ohio and was constructed between 1918 and 1919 by contractor J.C. Miller of Campbellsville, Kentucky. This building underwent alterations throughout its existence as a school. The alterations were minimal, and the Lebanon Junior High School is intact and retains its integrity. This three-story building is constructed of brick in a common bond pattern. It has a rough-cut limestone foundation and limestone and brick ornamentation. The structure has a simple entablature, vertical brick band courses with diamond-shaped limestone insets at the first and second story lines, and a rough cut limestone belt course at the ground story line. The school building has a galvanized iron cornice crowning the roof-wall juncture and a brick parapet capped with galvanized iron coping.

The west facade of the Lebanon High School includes a two-story portico and entrance. A series of four Roman doric columns support the portico, and these columns are brick covered with plaster and have stone caps and bases. The west facade features a simple entablature with an inscription panel that reads "Lebanon High School." Concrete steps, with an arch opening underneath, lead up to the main double door entrance which has a transom composed of a series of six verticle panes. Consoles, or upright stone scroll brackets, project from the wall to support the stone entablature crowning the doorway. The west facade windows on the first and second stories are 12-over-1 double-hung windows with brick lintels and limestone sills in sets of three and four, and the west facade basement windows are 6-over-6 double-hung windows in sets of three and four. The west facade also has a cornerstone with the inscription "Erected A.D. 1918" and a list of the Lebanon Board of Education members.

The south and north facades include two sections. The main section features four sets of two 12-over-1 double-hung windows on the first and second floors and four sets of two 6-over-6 double-hung windows. The auditorium section has three sets of two 12-over-1 double-hung windows that have cut stone sills and are topped with wood panels, arched windows, and brick arches. Both south and north facades have concrete steps leading to the auditorium. The rear facade of the main school building has sets of four 12-over-1 double-hung windows, and the rear facade of the auditorium section is a plain brick wall with no fenestration or ornamentation.

The Lebanon High School contains three floors. The first floor features two 28' x 30' classrooms on each end of the 12' x 67' corridor. The 10' x 16' vestibule has double doors with a five-paned transom and sidelights. The vestibule is flanked by an 8.5' x 16' teachers room and 16' x 20' classroom on the north side and an 8.5' x 16' office and 16' x 20' classroom on the south side. Stairways are located on each side of the auditorium, and the 40' x 48' auditorium has a stage flanked by two dressing rooms. The stage is adorned by rope and decorative molding and vertical boards. The second floor of the Lebanon High School includes a 28' x 60' classroom on the north end, two 28' x 30' classrooms on the south end, and a 16' x 18' 11" classroom, 16' x 20' library, and 16' x 28' 11" classroom on the north side. The second floor also includes the auditorium balcony flanked by two stairways. The basement of the high school originally included a 46' x 60' gymnasium; however, this gymnasium was later converted for use as a kitchen and cafeteria. The basement also contains locker rooms, utility rooms, and classrooms. The basement has exits through the west facade and on the north and south sides of the auditorium section.

The Lebanon Junior High School was designed by Thomas J. Nolan, architect and constructed between 1938 and 1939 by Skilton Construction as a PWA project. It is also an example of Georgian Revival style and typical of school and public building construction. It was designed specifically to match the architecture of Lebanon High School. According to the architect Thomas J. Nolan in 1938, "The structure will be of architecture corresponding to that of the high school and will be full two stories high with a basement which protrudes above the ground level about six to eight feet".

The Lebanon Junior High School is constructed of brick in a common bond pattern and has a rough-cut stone foundation. The main school building has a brick parapet wall with cut stone coping and cornice and a simple entablature crowning the top of the facades. The Lebanon Junior High School also has a vertical brick bandcourse with diamond-shaped limestone insets at the second story line, and a cut limestone belt course at the ground story line.

The Junior High's west facade has a two-story projecting entrance. This projecting entrance features double doors with a semi-circular fanlight and sidelights and a stone pediment with an inscription panel, swag, rosettes, floral corner blocks, and urns. The central projecting entrance also has a central 9-over-1 double-hung window with 3-over-1 sidelights and a stone panel with a festoon panel and two corner blocks on the brick parapet. The first and second stories of the west facade have 9-over-1 double-hung windows with stone sills and vertical brick lintels and two sets of five windows on each side of the projecting entrance. The basement level has a set of five 6-over-1 double-hung windows on each side of the projecting entrance.

The main section of the south facade has a brick paneled wall with stone corner blocks, a double door entrance with an entry porch on the first floor, and a multi-paned steel sash window topped by a brick panel and small corner blocks on the second floor. The main section of the north facade also has a brick paneled wall with stone corner blocks; however, it only has one 9-over-1 double-hung window on each floor. The gymnasium section of the north and south facades have sets of six multi-paned steel sash windows with cut stone sills. Each window is divided by brick pilasters with cut stone caps. The east facade features the two-story gymnasium and a one-story team room section. The rear facade of the gymnasium has two multi-paned steel sash windows and two brick pilasters, and the team room section has a set of six 6-paned windows between two entrances.

The Lebanon Junior High School also contains three floors. The first floor has one 23.5' x 30' classroom on each side of the 12' x 23' 5" stairhall and a 12' x 27' 2" corridor flanked by a 12' x 21' stairhall on the south end and 12' x 25' 2" boys restroom on the north end. The first floor also includes a 74' 2" x 94' gymnasium, two 16' x 20' 5" team rooms and two 16' x 16' 2" shower and toilet rooms. The second floor of the Lebanon Junior High School mirrors the first-floor plan and includes classrooms and the girls' restroom.

The Lebanon High School and Lebanon Junior High School are situated on the corner of North Spalding and Hood Avenues. The original school complex was situated on approximately five acres and included the two schools and the Johnston Athletic Field. The Johnston Athletic Field was located directly behind the junior high and high school. The athletic field included a v-shaped entrance designed by architect Thomas J. Nolan in 1939. This entrance had two ticket offices connected by a 12-foot board and batten wall and a central entrance with arched signage and sliding gates. The original athletic field included a baseball diamond and later a football field. Since 1939, the athletic field entrance has been altered, and today only the arched signage with new brick columns, the football field, and the concrete block building used for storage and seating remain. The west frontage of the school complex faces North Spalding Avenue and features a limestone retaining wall and columns constructed during the last quarter of the 19th century.

Lebanon Junior High School and Lebanon High School, Lebanon Kentucky West facade of the Lebanon Junior High School (left) and Lebanon High School looking southeast (1999)
West facade of the Lebanon Junior High School (left) and Lebanon High School looking southeast (1999)

Lebanon Junior High School and Lebanon High School, Lebanon Kentucky West facade of the Lebanon High School, limestone retaining wall, sidewalks, and steps looking northeast (1999)
West facade of the Lebanon High School, limestone retaining wall, sidewalks, and steps looking northeast (1999)

Lebanon Junior High School and Lebanon High School, Lebanon Kentucky North and west facades of Lebanon High School looking southeast (1999)
North and west facades of Lebanon High School looking southeast (1999)

Lebanon Junior High School and Lebanon High School, Lebanon Kentucky East facade of Lebanon High School looking southwest (1999)
East facade of Lebanon High School looking southwest (1999)

Lebanon Junior High School and Lebanon High School, Lebanon Kentucky South and east facades of Lebanon High School looking southwest (1999)
South and east facades of Lebanon High School looking southwest (1999)

Lebanon Junior High School and Lebanon High School, Lebanon Kentucky Two-story portico and Roman Tuscan doric columns on west facade of Lebanon High School looking east (1999)
Two-story portico and Roman Tuscan doric columns on west facade of Lebanon High School looking east (1999)

Lebanon Junior High School and Lebanon High School, Lebanon Kentucky Main entrance steps of Lebanon High School looking southeast (1999)
Main entrance steps of Lebanon High School looking southeast (1999)

Lebanon Junior High School and Lebanon High School, Lebanon Kentucky Lebanon High School's main entrance doors ornamented by scroll brackets and six vertical transom windows looking east (1999)
Lebanon High School's main entrance doors ornamented by scroll brackets and six vertical transom windows looking east (1999)

Lebanon Junior High School and Lebanon High School, Lebanon Kentucky Stage of Lebanon High School's auditorium looking east (1999)
Stage of Lebanon High School's auditorium looking east (1999)

Lebanon Junior High School and Lebanon High School, Lebanon Kentucky South staircase and arched window from the first floor of Lebanon High School looking south (1999)
South staircase and arched window from the first floor of Lebanon High School looking south (1999)