Ruddles Mills School - Abandoned by Sherman Cahal

Ruddles Mills School

The Ruddles Mill School is located rural Bourbon County, Kentucky was dedicated on October 1, 1923 to serve the small community of several hundred that was named for Isaac Ruddell.1 A teacherage was constructed but burned and subsequently rebuilt in 1937. The school originally housed grades one through nine because there were no other high school students except for freshmen, and an auditorium. The school graduated only 14 high school classes with 148 students between 1927 and 1940.

In 1937, the auditorium was converted into classrooms that were used as a study hall and band room, and as class space for the agriculture department.2 A gymnasium was constructed in 1939.3 4

In 1940, the school was reduced to eight grades, with students in ninth through twelfth grades being sent to Millersburg.1 In 1969, grades seven and eight were sent to the new Bourbon County Junior High School in Paris.1 Finally, in 1988, the sixth grade class was sent to Bourbon County Middle School.1

As a result of only having five grades remaining at Ruddles Mill, the school was closed on May 27, 1989.1 5

The Closing of Ruddles Mill School

By: Nina Welch

We have come today to close the door.
The buses will return no more.
This class is the last.
An era is past.

We’ll never all be here again,
but wherever you are, you have a friend.
This school is full of ghosts and memories,
cherished forever by you and me.

We’ll join in singing one last song.
It is time for us to go on.
Did the children do their best?
They go now to meet the test.

Did we always give them more?
Too late to wonder:
Close the door.



  1. What ever happen to Mr Brown the principal he made my sixth grade year the best along with Mrs Gabler I want to thank them we were poor and they paid for me to go on the school trip

  2. Beginning around 2010, the Ruddles Mill School building was restored and apparently was being used for apartments. In December 2013, it appeared to be abandoned again. Does anyone know anything about these developments?

  3. Is the School currently in use? is it for sale? Thank you.

  4. I’m pretty sure the poem was by “Mina” Welch, not “Nina.” I have a copy of it somewhere, along with a drawing and final all-school photo from the last days in 1989.

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