Shawnee Elementary School, Louisville Kentucky

Date added: January 23, 2023 Categories: Kentucky School

Shawnee Elementary, like Shawnee High School, was named in honor of the neighborhood in which it is located. This "U" shaped building addresses its neighborhood by facing Herman Street and the neighborhood beyond. The school was built in 1915 with, additions made in 1927 and 1954. The school has been vacant for several years.

Shawnee Elementary plays an important role as an architectural landmark in Louisville's west end neighborhood. It was designed in the Jacobean Revival style by J. Earl Henry, and serves as one of Louisville's finest examples of this style. Henry designed it while serving as the city architect for schools, borrowing architectural elements and detailing from historical sources. The two main entries to the building, for example, are framed by stone Tudor arches and surmounted by a stone parapet adorned with a crest flanked by quatrefoil cutouts and urns with wings. Crossed keys flanked by torches add symbolism to the crest. Educational symbols are in abundance throughout the design. Four human characters holding various decorative elements are located in a band below the parapet and include a book, globe, mortar and pestle and an open book with a torch. Elaborate stone carvings also embellish the parapet walls and side entries. Perhaps the most playful of Henry's decorative motifs can be found above the entrances facing east and west that are adorned with cherub-like portraits in stone, framed by a medallion, that remind us of the days when boys and girls used separate entrances. Henry is also responsible for designing both Male High School, and Brandeis Elementary School. Indeed, the architect has played a significant role in public and scholastic building architecture in the City of Louisville and has greatly enhanced the areas built environment.

Building Description

Shawnee Elementary School is a "U" shaped, two-story, scored brick building with a one story central projection. There is a shed roof and a raised basement. Stone is used throughout as a decorative element including the quoins framing the windows, the entrance surrounds, on the parapet band divisions, in stone panels employing a Tudor motif and in the elaborate carvings adorning the parapet and central portion of the building. The school has a one-story projection in the center with a central entrance framed by a Tudor arch which, in turn is enclosed in a rectangular surround. All of the windows in this portion, as well as throughout the rest of the building, have a nine-over-nine light configuration. The major entries into the building are through two portals that flank the central projecting wing. These entries have stone Tudor arches, a stone parapet with a central crest flanked by cut-out quatrefoils and urns with wings. The crest has crossed keys and is flanked by torches. A band below the parapet has four human characters holding various symbols, all executed in stone. These include; a book, globe, mortar and pestle and an open book with a torch. The projecting ends of the building form the outermost bays. Each has paired, nine-light windows in the raised basement story as well as on the second floor. A stone cast is located just below the second-floor windows. The parapets on both this portion and on the sides facing the east and west have stone carvings composed of two affronted consoles with a central circular opening topped by a spire. Elaborate stone carvings are also present above the two main entrances of the parapet. A stone crest is flanked by engaged stone panels topped with globes. Above this is a decorative arched stone coping flanked and surmounted by spires. The two side entrances that face Cecil Avenue and South 42 Street hark back to the days when boys and girls entered the school through separate entrances. Each has a medallion above the entryway with a stone portrait of a boy and girl carved in relief. The rear facade of Shawnee Elementary has simple nine-over-nine windows grouped in twos and fours with a central exhaust stack in the center of the "U". Shawnee Elementary has two 1927 additions to the original building as well as a 1954 addition to the building's east side.

Shawnee Elementary School, Louisville Kentucky  (1984)
(1984)

Shawnee Elementary School, Louisville Kentucky  (1984)
(1984)

Shawnee Elementary School, Louisville Kentucky  (1984)
(1984)

Shawnee Elementary School, Louisville Kentucky  (1984)
(1984)

Shawnee Elementary School, Louisville Kentucky  (1984)
(1984)

Shawnee Elementary School, Louisville Kentucky  (1984)
(1984)

Shawnee Elementary School, Louisville Kentucky  (1984)
(1984)

Shawnee Elementary School, Louisville Kentucky  (1984)
(1984)

Shawnee Elementary School, Louisville Kentucky  (1984)
(1984)