The cornerstone of every neighborhood is a school. The case is no different than for Parkland, a middle-class neighborhood on the west side of Louisville, Kentucky that was built out in the 1890s.
Parkland School, constructed in 1891 at the corner of Catalpa – today’s South 28th and Dumesnil Streets, was one of those cornerstones. The words “Public School” are etched into stone on the front of the Victorian-styled two story brick building, along with a subscript “1891” beneath it. Tall windows grace the building, and in the front, where the former entrance was, stained glass evokes colorful symbols inside.
As the neighborhood grew, so did the school. A two story addition was built to the south in 1910, followed by a large three level addition in 1968. The latter included a gymnasium, a new front entrance and cafeteria. The design of the addition, brutalism with brick, was a stark contrast to the careful design of the past.
In 1997, a new elementary school was built across the street. Soon after, the adjacent Baptist Fellowship Center attempted to reuse parts of the 1968 addition by converting some of the space into a daycare, but fire code violations – some of which dated to 2003, forced the church to close the doors on the school. In the original buildings, some renovation work was attempted – marked by a construction trailer in the front and construction lights inside. But mistakes were made, and some first floor supports were undermined, causing the second floor to sink in places.
Today, the school has been ruthlessly picked apart. Nothing of value remains in the complex of buildings, and even the construction trailer has been cleaned out.