Elkton, Ky. (December 08, 2014) – The Green River Academy’s “Assembly Hall” is back in place after a 130 year hiatus. When the Academy was converted into a private residence in 1891, the large room on the second floor of the building was broken up into multiple spaces. A bathroom was added to the southeast corner, a wall was built dividing the space into north and south portions, and closets were added. The space was again divided in the mid 20th century when a kitchenette was constructed in the southernmost portion of the south room.
While the room has been dubbed the “Assembly Hall” by the Academy’s construction crew, there is not a proper name for this room since the Academy’s historians have yet to discover any mention of it in period texts. Due to its large size and its placement on the second floor (possibly for better ventilation), the room received this title only recently.
The room is completely symmetrical in its restored state, featuring two fireplaces across from two doors, paired windows to the north and south, and three windows spaced equally amongst the fireplace stacks on the western wall.
It was discovered that a large “summer beam” or a large 12″ x 12″ oak beam spans the east and west walls of the room, and accepts the weight of the floor joists above. This summer beam allows the room to have one large span rather than be broken into two halves. When the beams were discovered, the engineers on the Academy project were faced with a complicated task. The summer beam load was never calculated correctly when the building was constructed in 1835, so from the beginning, the beam never structurally performed as it should have, and the ceiling began to sag causing immediate structural problems. Over the years, quick fixes to prop up the summer beam were made, which ultimately led to the room being split into multiple spaces.
The Academy’s engineers introduced structural steel to make the original space of the room possible. When the interior of the building is completed, their expert calculations and feats of engineering won’t be able to be detected by the naked eyed, and while that is unfortunate for all of the work invested into returning this room to its original state, the sensation of occupying a space that was created over 180 years ago should have an equally impressive effect.