The Richmond Register

December 31, 2012

Eastern’s Training School was predecessor to Model Laboratory


By Fred Engle

RICHMOND — The Eastern Training School, originally called the Model School, opened four months before the Eastern Kentucky Normal School in 1906.

The Model School took over the facilities and program of Walters Collegiate Institute. That earlier school had come into being with the closing of Central University, the Southern Presbyterian college.

The purposes of the Model School included providing a place where Normal School students could observe expert teaching in action, and to provide superior education for children whose parents desired an alternative to some of the area church schools. The tuition was $30 per year for the elementary school, $40 per year for the grammar school and $50 per year for the high school. With my grandchildren presently attending Model, I know the fees are much higher today.

Some 156 students were enrolled the first year. Early teachers included J.A. Sharon, Wren J. Grimstead, Virginia Spencer, Wesa Moore and Lena Gertrude Holing.

Col. E.H. Crawford was the Model School’s director. Soon after his arrival on campus Col. Crawford organized the high school into a cadet corps. There was a formal agreement between the corps and the Kentucky Assistant Adjutant General for the National Guard. Military uniforms, equipment and arms were issued. There was a drum-and-bugle corps.

Besides Walters and Model, there were two other high schools in Richmond at the time – Madison Female Institute and Caldwell High. Caldwell was the Richmond city school located on North Second Street. When the city school was destroyed by an act of arson in 1921, the city’s board of education took over Madison Female Institute and brought into existence Madison High School.

As a result of all this, Model High abolished it final four grades (9 through 12) and became the Training School (grades one through eight). Madison High became where you attended high school. In 1925, a junior high was established at Model, made up of grades 7, 8 and 9.

Model High was housed in the old Central University building. Some of the school’s administrative offices occupied parts of Eastern’s Memorial Hall. In 1910, Model moved to the Roark Building. In 1918, it was moved again, to the Cammack Building. The first six grades remained in the Cammack Building. In 1930 the high school moved to the old Central University building, that’s the way things were organized during my days at Model – 1935-1947.

Over the period 1906-1922, Model High fielded athletic teams in football, baseball, basketball and track. Model’s R.A. Edwards helped organize the Kentucky High School Athletic Association in 1916-1917.

Mr. Edwards was my grade school principal. Upon retirement this interesting man kept bees and repaired/rebound books for the library. His daughter lives in Denver.

The high school had an orchestra – in which I played the cornet – and a drama club (I am not an actor). There was, of course, physical education and military training.  The school always had a summer term. Some students attended to do make up work, others went to summer school simply to get access to the indoor swimming pool located in the Weaver Health Building.

Student observation of Model teaching techniques and student teachers were always key components of the training-school curriculum. Teaching in a one-room, two-room or even three-room school, still prevalent in many rural counties in Kentucky at the time, required special training. This training was provided by Eastern in the so-called Rural School, which sat on a bluff overlooking Lancaster Pike.  Does anyone remember where that school was located?

More than 100 years later, the Model training school is still in the top group of school in the commonwealth, as is reflected by its high ranking on statewide achievement measurements.

PUBLICATION NOTE:  Readers are reminded that a compilation of some 60 Richmond Register articles from over the last 40 years written by Dr. Grise and myself are now available in the paperback book “Madison’s Heritage Rediscovered.”

Combined with relevant photographs selected from Eastern’s Archives by my granddaughter, Kathryn Engle, who edited the volume, this book is available for $19.99 plus tax. Autographed copies may be found at the Richmond tourism office (Irvinton) on Lancaster Avenue, Clearsight Optometry and Baldwin CPAs on Main Street in Richmond.  

Autographed copies are also available by calling Kathryn Engle at 893-0947 or 623 1150.