Community History – Ludlow – Ludlow Independent School District

Ludlow Independent School District

The State of Kentucky operated the first school in the city of Ludlow. These original classes were held on the first floor of the Christian Church at the corner of Elm and Locust Streets.

When the city was incorporated in 1864, town officials established a school district under the supervision of city government. In 1867, the first school board was elected in Ludlow. The members were: Fred Gottlieb, C.W. Harwood, and Levi Bavis. In the

following year, however, the city decided that the school could no longer be financed. No classes were held during the 1868-1869 school year.

In 1869, Ludlow voters approved a $3,000.00 bond issue to build a school building and to ensure classes would be conducted. In that same year, work began on a new school building, which was on Linden Street in the same year. The brick building had two classrooms measuring 30 by 45 feet. In 1879, an addition was constructed to the building. A nearby cottage was purchased by the board to use as additional classrooms in 1887.

William and Albert Ludlow donated a lot at the northwest corner of Oak and Adela Avenue for the construction of a new school building in 1895. The location was not a popular one with many Ludlow residents. Many felt the site was too close to the streetcar line and would be dangerous for those children walking to school. Others felt the site was too far from the central residential district of the town. Despite these objections, the lot was accepted by the city officials and the members of the school board.

The firm of Fasse and Company was chosen as the architects for the project. Plans called for a building measuring 90 by 120 feet with circular towers at each corner. On June 29, 1895, the cornerstone of the new school was laid with impressive ceremonies. As the walls of the building reached the roofline, several disturbing cracks were noticed in the corner towers. Following the inspection by an independent architect, it was determined that the walls were not properly built. The walls of the towers had to be removed and rebuilt. The building was dedicated on June 12, 1897. A Cincinnati newspaper declared, “The new building has no equal in the State of Kentucky in point of comfort, beauty, and general utility for educational purposes.”

In 1915, a second building was constructed to house the growing number of pupils. That year, Ludlow voters passed at $30,000.00 bond issue to fund the project. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Weber, Werner and Adkins of Cincinnati. The 1915 building was used exclusively for grades 7-12.

The current elementary school building was constructed in 1957. The building was dedicated to the memory of Mary A. Goetz, a long time Ludlow School teacher.

The beginning of Ludlow High School can be traced back to the year 1886. The first graduation class, consisting of nine students, received their diplomas in 1889. In 1932, the district built a separate building on Elm Street to house the high school program. Architect F. J. Porter designed the structure, which was constructed at the cost of $164,000.00.

The new high school building was officially dedicated on April 30, 1932. (The official name of the high school is George Washington Memorial High School). The building contained 16 classrooms, an auditorium and a gymnasium. Each classroom was equipped with a radio.

In 1937, Rigney stadium was constructed on the Ludlow riverfront. The project was funded by the Works Progress Administration. The stadium was officially dedicated on October 8, 1937. The need for more modern sports facilities resulted in the construction of a new gymnasium in 1970. The 1,300-seat facility was built on a site near the elementary school on Oak Street. In November 1975, the Ludlow High School football team defeated Heath High School (7-6) to win the school’s first state title.

In 1998, Ludlow School officials approved the establishment of a middle school to replace the 6-6-grade formula that had been used for many years. A new building was planned for the area between the high school and elementary school buildings. By the summer of 1999, work on the new structure was well underway. The year 1999 also

witnessed the school’s second state athletic championship. That season, the girls’ cross- country team brought home the Class A state championship.

A foundation was established by the district in 2001. The main goal of the Ludlow Educational Foundation was to raise funds to purchase new lighting and a sound system for the school auditorium and to purchase new equipment for the science labs.

Cincinnati Daily Gazette, September 30, 1869; Ludlow Centennial Souvenir Program, 1864-1964, pp. 18-19; Bulletin of the Kenton County Historical Society, August 1990; Kentucky Post, June 16, 1931, p. 13, April 23, 1932, p. 1,April 17, 1932, p. 1, June 15, 1999, p.2k and November 21, 2001, p. 2k; News Enterprise, April 16, 1970, p. 1 and December 4, 1975, p. 1; Kentucky Enquirer, December 13, 1998, p. B1B and October 25, 1999, p. B1.

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