The McKinley School, located along Eastern Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio, was constructed in 1876 along Tennyson Street in the Italianate/Jacobethan style.1 2 Significant features included red brick walls with vertical accentuation, pilasters, tall 12/12 windows and a gable roof.2 A framing plan for the roof was drawn by H. Siter in the 1890s, and plans for the alteration of the toilet rooms were made by E.H. Dornette in 1909. Stage lighting in the gymnasium was installed by the Kliegi Brothers Lighting Company of New York.

A two-story addition was built in 1919 along Eastern Avenue that contrasted sharply from the Italiante design.1 The new wing featured light brown brick, a limestone water table, terra cotta trim with a heraldic motif over the main entry and at the top of the square entry tower.2 The kindergarden doorway featured an art glass transom, and small Florentine glass windows flank the doorway. Total square footage equaled 44,326, and the combined buildings featured 21 classrooms, a cafeteria, three offices, a child care room and gymnasium.1 Improvements included new boilers in 1972 and 1981.

In December 2005, the McKinley School was closed.1 The Cincinnati Board of Education selected McKinley among nine other schools that were authorized for sale in March 2009.3 An auction was held on June 8, and a developer selected the school for redevelopment although the school district rejected their bid for the school. In July, the Irish Heritage Center, founded by Maureen Kennedy and her husband, Kent Covey of Hyde Park, submitted a sealed bid that was accepted, only to discover that the city had actually owned the land, not the Board of Education. After months of discussion, the city transferred the land to the Board at no cost without any conditions, and the real estate transaction to the Irish Heritage Center was completed on November 24. The accepted bid was $180,000, and spent about $20,000 in improvements to the physical structure.4

The mission of the Irish Heritage Foundation is to “founded to promote the Irish Culture through the study of customs, dance, education, film, genealogy, history, language, lectures, literature, music, mythology, poetry, social interaction, song, sport, theater and the visual arts.” Events are held weekly.