“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hazel Green in Wolfe County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

Hazel Green Academy

Hazel Green Academy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, October 21, 2019
1. Hazel Green Academy Marker
Inscription.  Organized 1880 by J. Taylor Day, William O. Mize and Green Berry Swango. Only college preparatory school serving this area for years. Many of its graduates have gone on to prominence.
Erected by Kentucky Department of Highways. (Marker Number 175.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Education. In addition, it is included in the Kentucky Historical Society series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1880.
Location. 37° 47.759′ N, 83° 24.757′ W. Marker is in Hazel Green, Kentucky, in Wolfe County. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hazel Green KY 41332, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. USA Gens. Morgan CSA (a few steps from this marker); Swango Springs Spa (approx. half a mile away); Wolfe County War Memorial (approx. 8˝ miles away); Gateway to Appalachia (approx. 8˝ miles away); Swift's Silver Camp (approx. 8˝ miles away); Wolfe County, 1860 (approx. 8˝ miles away); a different marker
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also named USA Gens. Morgan CSA (approx. 8˝ miles away); Wolfe County Veterans Wall (approx. 8˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hazel Green.
Regarding Hazel Green Academy. The school closed in 1983.
Also see . . .
1. Pearl Day Bach Photographic Collection, 1893-1961, at the University of Kentucky. Excerpt:
The Pearl Day Bach Photographic Collection (dated 1893-1961; 0.25 cubic feet; 27 items) contains twenty-seven photographic prints that portray scenes of the town of Hazel Green, the Academy, monuments, faculty members, students, and members of the Former Students Association.

The community of Hazel Green, named for the abundance of hazelnut trees found in the area, was founded about 1850, and is located in the rugged, Big Sandy country of Wolfe County, Kentucky. The town was settled mostly by Virginians, beginning as a trading post supplied with goods carried on horseback from Maysville, Lexington, and other towns, in trade for furs, peltries, and farm products. The town rapidly grew in size and importance soon becoming well known for the Hazel Green Fair and a racecourse, which was the first in the mountains. After the turn of the century, Swango Springs also
Hazel Green Academy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, October 21, 2019
2. Hazel Green Academy Marker
Academy Road, one of the entrances to the former Hazel Green Academy, runs to the right. The white back of the USA Gens. Morgan CSA marker is in the distance.
became a popular vacation spa. These attractions enabled early families to set the stage for an era of prosperity, elegance and leisure, evidenced by the several stately ancestral homes still remaining in a remarkable state of preservation.

The Founders, J. Taylor Day, Greenberry Swango, and W.O. Mize are responsible for establishing the original Hazel Green Academy through an initial contribution of $500 each in 1880. By 1888, the school was transferred to administration by the Christian Women's Board of Missions. Enrollment in the school during this time grew from thirteen to eighty-seven students, and then steadily thereafter. The educational institution is noted for being one of the first junior colleges in the mountains and of which many of Eastern Kentucky's most noted citizens attended. At one time, The Hazel Green Academy had the distinction of having the highest percentage of graduates who enter college, and the lowest withdrawal rate, of any other accredited school in Kentucky. Because of the limited resources of Eastern Kentucky, which comprises 38 counties, Hazel Green Academy was a vital part of a rural development program serving the local population. The school limited enrollment to Eastern Kentucky children with not more than 10% of outside attendance allowed. Because of the Academy's influence, eventually twenty-nine mission-supported schools emerged
Hazel Green Academy 1910 Faculty image. Click for full size.
Pearl Day Bach Photographic Collection, University of Kentucky, 1910
3. Hazel Green Academy 1910 Faculty
to serve the area. However, by the 60's, the eventual shift in population away from the area left only Hazel Green Academy. During this time, a scholarship of $165 provided room and board for one year, with enrollment averaging between 100-125 students.
(Submitted on March 12, 2020.) 

2. Entry in This article has numerous photographs of the abandoned campus. Excerpt:
The school struggled throughout the mid-20th century as enrollment dropped. Public schools were able to offer a comparable education at far less cost while providing higher salaries to teachers. Grades seven and eight were dropped in 1965, along with all farming operations.

The Division of Home Ministries, the branch of the Christian Church that was then overseeing the Academy, began turning over administrative and financial responsibility to local officials. Hazel Green Academy became an independent institution affiliated with the Christian Church in 1971. The school started a major push to strengthen its fundraising and recruitment efforts to lower teacher turnover and to boost enrollment.

It was only a temporary solution to a long-term decline of the school. On June 30, 1983, owing to an increasing fiscal deficit, the Board of Directors voted not to reopen that fall.
(Submitted on March 12, 2020.) 
The Teacher's Class at Hazel Green Academy, 1893 image. Click for full size.
Pearl Day Bach Photographic Collection, University of Kentucky, 1893
4. The Teacher's Class at Hazel Green Academy, 1893
1: Charles Ed French • 2: a Congleton boy – Geo. W. • 3: Cranford boy • A: Prof. Bard • 4: Alonzo Nickell • 5: Clay Laly • 6: Loyd Jones • 7: Logan Hammond • 8: – • 9: Alonzo Jones • 10: Courtney McGuire • 11: Morgan French • 12: Richmond Deburk • 13: Willie Karle • 14: Clay Campbell • B: Hanly • 15: Adam from Magoffin [County] • 16: Anna Pieratt • 17: Monrovia Lestermann • 18: Nannie Field • 19: Ava Swango • 20: Lula Kash • 21: Ida Rose • 22: Sarah Tyler • 23: Nettie Wheeler • 24: Lon Maxey • 25: Vine Poynter • 23: Aunt Nannie Karli
Administration Building and Jot’Em Down Store (extreme right), Hazel Green Academy. image. Click for full size.
Via J.J. Prats postcard collection
5. Administration Building and Jot’Em Down Store (extreme right), Hazel Green Academy.
Artvue Post Card Co. 225 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y.
Your Visit is Not Welcome image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, October 21, 2019
6. Your Visit is Not Welcome
All roads and footpaths entering the former Hazel Green Academy campus are posted. It appears that historical tourists are not welcome by the church that now owns the campus. The signs reads:
This roadway is for the use of property owners to and from their properties adjacent to the former Hazel Green Academy campus. Access and parking privileges are granted to guests of the owner, Hazel Green Christian Church.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 9, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 12, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 309 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 12, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Feb. 28, 2024