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Louisville in Jefferson County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
 

Kentucky School for the Blind

 
 
Kentucky School for the Blind Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, May 19, 2017
1. Kentucky School for the Blind Marker
Inscription.  
Founded on May 9, 1842, the Kentucky School for the Blind became the sixth school for the blind in the United States. The Kentucky Legislature approved the founding of the school by charter on February 5, 1842.

Two of the most important Kentuckians involved in the school’s establishment were Dr. Theodore Stout Bell and Judge William Fontaine Bullock. These men were zealous in their efforts after seeing exhibitions by blind students from the Perkins School for the Blind. Perkins students were brought to Kentucky by Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe and were instrumental in starting the school.

The school operated in a house in downtown Louisville on Broadway with five students, under the direction of the first Superintendent, Bryce Patton. On Monday, September 20, 1851, a fire destroyed the school. The school was move to Green Street. On January 8, 1852, $10,000 was appropriated to purchase a 25-acre lot on Frankfort Pike, now Frankfort Avenue. The building was completed in 1855 and students moved the new location in the fall of that year.

It has been noted that architect Francis Costigan designed the building. However, historical
Kentucky School for the Blind Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, May 19, 2017
2. Kentucky School for the Blind Marker
Click or scan to see
this page online
research does not show any connection between Costigan and the construction of the building. The structure had fives stories with massive walls and twenty-foot ceilings. The crowning point was its cupola. The cupola stood on wooden pillars and had a copper dome.

From the cupola, a person with good vision could see the Ohio River to the north and had a wonderful view of the downtown skyline to the West. It was one of the highest points in Louisville, and could be seen from any point in the city limits.

In September 1938, lightning struck the cupola, starting a fire. No one was injured, and the damaged cupola was repaired. However, by 1967 the building had been condemned and razed. The cupola was removed and set next to the Gregory Gym and later moved to the Governor’s Mansion in Frankfort. KSB alumni and staff maintained interest in the cupola and kept alive the hope of returning the cupola to the campus.

Kentucky First Lady Judy Patton contacted KSB about returning the cupola to the campus. The offer was accepted and the Cupola Committee was formed to begin the process. Funding was crucial. Committee member and KSB Alumnus Betty Niceley was highly successful in getting assistance from Mrs. Patton. Through her tireless efforts, the Cupola was returned, renovated, and dedicated on May 7, 1999.

The cupola stands on a concrete platform with lighting
Kentucky School for the Blind Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, May 19, 2017
3. Kentucky School for the Blind Marker
Behind the Marker is the Cupola from the 1855 Building
to make the dome visible at night. It is located on the front entrance of the campus overlooking Frankfort Avenue near the tree-shaded amphitheater. No matter what the building was called, or how you pronounce cupola (cupoluh, cupolah, or cupolo), it will continue to be the symbol of service and a Louisville landmark of the Kentucky School for the Blind.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Education. A significant historical date for this entry is May 9, 1842.
 
Location. 38° 15.356′ N, 85° 42.803′ W. Marker is in Louisville, Kentucky, in Jefferson County. Marker is at the intersection of Frankfort Avenue and Stoll Avenue, on the right when traveling west on Frankfort Avenue. Located on the campus of the Kentucky School For The Blind. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1867 Frankfort Ave, Louisville KY 40206, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Since 1842 / Since 1858 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Frances of Rome School / Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (approx. 0.4 miles away); St. Frances of Rome Church / Catholic & Clifton History (approx. 0.4 miles away); Col. Frederick Geiger / Early Butchertown (approx. 0.4 miles away); Murray Atkins Walls Civil Rights Pioneer (approx. 0.6 miles away); A National Cemetery System (approx.
Kentucky School for the Blind image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, May 19, 2017
4. Kentucky School for the Blind
0.6 miles away); Cave Hill National Cemetery (approx. 0.6 miles away); Augustus E. Willson (1846-1931) (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Louisville.
 
Also see . . .
1. Kentucky School for the Blind. (Submitted on June 17, 2017, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
2. Kentucky School for the Blind on Wikipedia. (Submitted on June 17, 2017, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 17, 2017. It was originally submitted on June 17, 2017, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 150 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 17, 2017, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.

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Apr. 16, 2021