Preservation Alliance of Owensboro-Daviess County Inc [Kentucky]


LONGFELLOW SCHOOL1931-2008 ▪ 1716 Frederica St

2009-01-14 | Unfortunately, Longfellow School was demolished during the summer of 2008, after many years of efforts by preservationists to save this landmark.  When it was clear that the Owensboro school board was determined to expand OHS with a massive new gymnasium addition, Preservation Alliance turned its focus on recommending the creation of a salvage committee to assess artifacts from the building that might have value to attendees and/or could be used in an installation as part of the new OHS construction to point to the significant cultural history of the Longfellow School.  A walk-through of the building was conducted in May 2008 in conjunction with a groundbreaking ceremony for the OHS expansion.  It has not been announced how the salvaged items will be displayed.  You can read the report of the salvageable items here: It includes photographs and prioritizes items recommended for salvage and incorportation into the Owensboro High School expansion project.

2007-07-26 | At its meeting on this date, the city school board voted to approve the Schematic Drawings for the $22 million Owensboro High School expansion project, which will include demolition of Longfellow School. The architects say that renovation of the 76-year-old school would cost at least $3 million and still would not satisfy program space needs specified by the OHS expansion planning committee. After demolition, "Longfellow Hill" can be cut down, providing space for a unified parking area for 500 cars. The parking lot will lie behind the new arena-type gymnasium, which will attach to the north wall of the current cafeteria. According to Owensboro Pubic School officials, major safety and security objectives will be satisfied by keeping the high school facilities connected internally and having all parking located within the same block; all student drop-off and pick-up for both parents and school buses will be internal to the block, avoiding dangers for pedestrians from the large volume of vehicular traffic on Frederica Street. The architectural design of the exterior of the two-story gymnasium and other building additions is anticipated to emulate the design character of the original high school (main building).

Longfellow was formerly occupied by Western Kentucky University, Owensboro. OHS ROTC still holds classes within the building. OPS hired the architectural firm Sherman-Carter-Barnhart, Lexington, KY, to help it develop a campus expansion plan for Owensboro High School, which adjoins "Longfellow Hill" on the south. The architectural firm has extensive experience with school projects -- new, renovation, and additions, including projects that involve historic structures.

Many people who attended Longfellow when it was a grade school have expressed regret over the impending loss of the 1931 structure. All of Owensboro was excited about the school and its "modern" features upon its erection. Read the local news article about the January 1932 opening of Longfellow School and read about Longfellow's famous architect, William Butts Ittner of St. Louis. Or, download a PDF version about Longfellow's opening and architect.

2006-05 | The Public Life Foundation of Owensboro's May 2006 issue of the Public Life Advocate includes a wonderful article by Benjamin Hoak about Longfellow School, other historic building projects, and an overview of broader issues related to historic preservation in Owensboro. Here is an authorized excerpt of the Longfellow article. You can download the entire May 2006 issue -- which includes the Longfellow article -- from PLFO's Web site at