Early Schoolhouse

Historical Marker #1730 in Highland Heights describes the symbolic schoolhouse log cabin located on the campus of Northern Kentucky University and gives a brief history of that educational institution.

The log structure on the campus of Northern Kentucky University was originally located in the Grant's Lick area. The importance of the cabin lies not in the function it served in the past, but in what it represents.

Until the mid-twentieth century, Kentucky students were largely educated in cramped one-room school houses that served a varied age range of children. Since then, an emphasis has been placed on the importance of the learning environment; therefore, school buildings have evolved drastically over time. Now, students are divided into elementary, middle, and high schools. In addition, throughout the twentieth century colleges and universities have become more accessible. These institutions of higher learning were once only available to the elite. Colleges and universities now provide educational opportunities not imaginable to earlier generations. The log cabin at Northern Kentucky University serves as a symbol of the progress that Kentucky has made in education since its humble beginnings.

In the 1940s, northern Kentucky lacked a center for higher education. In order to attend college, local residents either had to pay out-of-state tuition to attend Cincinnati schools or had to travel a considerable distance. To rectify the situation, the University of Kentucky opened a location in Covington called the "Northern Center" where students could receive a two-year degree. As the campus thrived, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce lobbied for the establishment of a larger four-year college, which was granted in 1968. Originally in Covington, the overcrowded campus was relocated to Highland Heights in 1970, where it opened as Northern Kentucky State College, eventually expanding to its current title Northern Kentucky University.

Images

Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University

The Frank Steely Library at Northern Kentucky University is shown here. Photograph courtesy of Katie Crawford-Lackey. View File Details Page

Renfro School

Renfro School

Until the 20th century it was not uncommon for schools in Kentucky to be more than one-room log structures such as this school in Renfro Valley. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Bowman School

Bowman School

During the early 20th century Kentucky schools in rural areas were largely one-room frame buildings like this one in Kenton County. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Katie Crawford-Lackey, “Early Schoolhouse,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed March 26, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/523.

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