NASHVILLE, Tn., (February 18, 2013) – Notable author Pearl Buck wrote in her Virginia plantation house, “One faces the future with one’s past.” Pearl knew, as do we, that you cannot ignore your past while building your future. From our history, we learn who we are and we learn how to improve upon our future using our past as a guide. Equally important is our representation of the past. When we present history, it’s important to articulate the most authentic representation of our past without embellishment, exaggeration or disregard for truth. To do so, we must enlist the assistance of talented professionals to cipher the puzzle pieces of our unique cultural history back into discernible order for posterity.
The Green River Academy represents a pivotal moment in the history of the Commonwealth and is an example of changing attitudes in favor of equal opportunities for women in the United States. When the original Board of Trustees formed in 1834 under the guidance of local community leaders and Congressman Francis Marion Bristow, a notorious liberal Whig, a goal was established to create a female academy that offered to women the same advanced academic opportunities afforded to men. According to early receipts, the Academy offered courses in foreign languages, astronomy, mathematics, and chemistry. These courses established an unusual curricula for female academies during the time period, making the Green River Academy particularly unique.
Since the Green River Academy represents an important moment in the history of our Commonwealth, it is our duty to preserve this historic site accurately so that future generations may be able to interpret the building authentically. The Board of Trustees recognizes this importance and has enlisted the services of preservation professionals Stanley Lindsey & Associates Structural Engineers and Preservation Architect Michael Emrick of Nashville, Tennessee. These firms are currently forensically researching and accurately piecing together the Academy while honoring the many significant events that took place during the building’s 178 years of history. These plans will guide a meticulous restoration and preserve a building that represents a period in Kentucky history that championed equal opportunities for women in a relatively new nation.
Over the next few months, we face exciting times for the Green River Academy. The process of bringing back one of our region’s oldest and most precious gems will be a milestone moment for our community. When completed, visitors will experience the Academy as many did during the building’s earliest years and better understand the context in which great ideas formed that ultimately led to a nation of equal opportunities.
We look forward to keeping you involved in the process. For updates, check our website often, and as always, we will keep you in the know through our email newsletters. Thanks for your support, and here’s to a better and brighter future.