August 15, 2013

Traces of Laurel: Laurel Seminary, Part 2



Fortunately, the war finally came to an end and the people once more looked to the future.  At Laurel Seminary, the trustees began to repair and replace what had been lost and the school reopened with a “competent corps of teachers.”  Faris concludes:  “The cause of education was again prosperous and Laurel Seminary . . . . did greatly assist in elevating the people from the degradation into which the evil influences consequent upon war had lowered them.”

Laurel Seminary existed until it became part of the London Common School District around the turn of the 20th century.  By that time, Sue Bennett Memorial School had been established, marking a new chapter in Laurel County’s educational history.  The Baptist Association briefly used the buildings of Laurel Seminary as a Christian school but that organization closed after two and a half years.  The Laurel Seminary site and its buildings were then used by the graded school.

Did I say that the site of Laurel Seminary was roughly where London Elementary stands today?  Parts of the original building remained throughout several renovations of the graded school, disappearing completely by the time the elementary school that most of us remember was built.

In Russell Dyche’s booklet, “The Laurel Seminary,” you will find more on the financial struggle of the school during the time it was run by a Board of Trustees, as well as lists of the names of teachers over the years.  It’s very interesting .

 * * *

The Laurel County Historical Society is located at 310 W. 3rd St., London, (formerly the Laurel County Health Department).  The library is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 12 noon.  For further information, contact 606-864-0607 during library hours, or 606-224-3767 at other times.  Visit the historical society’s website:  Email the society at or Jan Sparkman at

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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