Records of public schools throughout the area have been preserved by the Jefferson County Public Schools District. The information provided here is a product of efforts to compile basic facts about schools past and present from those records. The primary purpose is to place the schools and give brief historical notes, such as information about their origins and names. Information about what may have happened to previous sites and/or facilities is also provided, if known.
Profiles provided on the JCPS web site give much more information about the current programs of the schools now operated by JCPS, so links to those resources are included. In many cases, further links to web sites operated by the schools themselves may also be found in the profiles.
As the oldest schools and others in the District each trace an unbroken history under a given name, even if they have been located at various addresses, these entries use school names as the criterion to differentiate one from another. Thus, schools under specific names are considered closed when their facilities were reopened under new titles. There are a few exceptions to this rule where more than one name is associated with a particular school and it is undetermined when or why one name was used instead or preferred to the other. Names were documented from official school directories or historical material produced by the District. Some school names from previous eras include characterizations which would not be used today.
Schools sometimes bore temporary names during construction phases, prior to their openings. These names might be cited as other names for schools, with explanatory references, but separate entries do not exist for names not associated with schools during their actual operations. A few schools opened under particular names and were quickly renamed for various reasons; entries are included for the schools under the first names they used when they opened.
These entries intend to document schools (with the exception of night schools) throughout the history of JCPS. (The Louisville Public Schools, known as the city school system, and the previous county system also known as the Jefferson County Public Schools merged in 1975 to form the present District. Several other smaller districts were also absorbed over the years.) As records are sometimes sketchy and incomplete, however, this is not definitive. Many dates are not precise.
The period of early school development in what became the city system illustrates the difficulty in establishing what schools existed. Minutes document the hiring of teachers for up to eighteen schools at a time in the 1840’s. What might be considered individual classes today under the tutelage of separate teachers were frequently called separate schools in these records and thus multiple schools could be found at one address. Frequently these early schools are grouped in this publication at their particular addresses. The schools also used rented facilities and moved often. The adoption of a new city charter in 1851 ushered in an era of construction of new schools in Louisville’s twelve wards and the closing of most of the schools established since 1829. Where it seems indicated, tracings and linkages between early schools and successors are attempted but the scarcity of records frequently prevents such connections.
In order to limit the scope of the project, night schools were not included, since more than 500 schools have been identified and because many night schools were extensions of the conventional schools.
Information on dates of first and last graduations is provided as appropriate for high schools.
For information about current or former private schools in this area, contact the schools, their successors, or related organizations such as local churches.
The information provided here is chiefly derived from minutes of the boards of education of the Jefferson County Public Schools and the former Louisville Public Schools, newspaper clippings, school directories, publications, dedication programs and other ephemera from schools, and additional documentation compiled in history folders kept at the JCPS Archives and Records Center. Other sources include early histories of Louisville, The history of Louisville, from its earliest settlement till the year 1852, by Ben Casseday, (1852), History of the Ohio falls cities and their counties (1882), and Memorial history of Louisville from its first settlement to the year 1896, by J. Stoddard Johnston (1896), as well as the recent Encyclopedia of Louisville (2000). The valuable collection of Louisville city directories held at the University Archives and Records Center at the University of Louisville also served as an important reference, as did the map collection at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort.
Sources sometimes conflict so this is as accurate as could be determined. The JCPS Archives and Records Center is interested in any further information about public schools in the Louisville Metro area.
Entries include a “school common name." This is the name usually used to describe the school in a short reference by the community at large. Official names are listed for schools currently operated by JCPS. “Other Name” entries may include full names of honorees for whom schools were named, e.g., Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School for Eisenhower Elementary. The “Other Name” field may also include names of other schools operated prior to or after the school identified in the particular entry or schools otherwise associated with the school itemized in the entry.
Images provided here are from District publications or photographs held in the Archives and Records Center, unless otherwise noted.
This resource is provided by the Jefferson
County Public Schools Archives and Records Center, Louisville, Kentucky. See JCPS
History Wiki and Blog Information for contact information.