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The Pikeville Collegiate Institute, the "Old Academy Building"
Photo Courtesy of the Pikeville Public Library, the Paul B. Mays Collection.
118 College Street
Built in 1889, this Italianate Square structure is significant in Appalachian educational history and is an Eastern Kentucky landmark. It is the birthplace of Pikeville College. Six years prior to its construction, the Reverend Paul Hendricks established a Presbyterian mission church in the village of Pikeville. In his travels through the mountainous counties in and around Pike County, he observed that the many Common Schools taught younger children basic reading, writing, and arithmetic, but there were no high schools for those who wished to continue their education beyond the rudimentary basics. When Reverend Hendricks reported this condition to the Ebenezer Presbytery in Ashland, he presented his vision for improving the continuing educational opportunities for the mountain children. A committee was appointed to assess the situation and the Reverend W.C. Condit was sent to tour the mountains to locate a place for an outreach school. Reverend Condit determined that Pikeville, the county seat of the largest county in Kentucky was the best site for the new institute. He reported back to the Presbytery in Ashland that Pikeville was not only a village of over 300 inhabitants, it was the largest and most prosperous in the region and was strategically located with access from the mountain counties of Virginia and West Virginia where the same paucity of educational facilities existed. Ground for the school's building was purchased on November 1, 1888. The first classes were taught on September 16, 1889. The brick for the building was fired on site, and the building incorporates an incredible amount of intricate brick detailing which challenges that of any building in the state. The structure was built in three sections. The left sections was built first, then the right section, then a flat roof was added between the two sections to connect them and make the central hallway.