The Green River Female Academy is one of the best indications of early 19th century attitudes towards equal opportunities for women in the United States. The Academy is also prime example of the transition between Federal and early Greek Revival architecture. The building, constructed in 1835, was created for the Green River Female Academy by contributions and subscriptions of southern planters which, eventually organized to become the founding members of the Green River Academy Society. Soon, the popularity of the school grew amongst families of the south and the school expanded to a campus with multiple auxiliary buildings. Kentucky at the time, along with North Carolina, were considered to have the best educational institutions in the nation.
After the American Civil War began in 1861, attendance of the school dropped sharply. In order to regain lost attendance numbers, the school admitted young men. The school held its prominence with many of its male graduates attending Yale, Harvard and Columbia. In the later portion of the 19th century, the perception of Kentucky as a primitive, rough and wild region of the nation became common amongst the national population. As a result, the Green River Academy became defunct and the Academy building was released to the Academy Society member holding the most stock in the organization and the remaining stock was dissolved.
After serving as a public school during the late 1880′s, the Academy was converted into a private residence. S. Walton Forgy purchased the building and made cosmetic updates to the interior and exterior, adding a colossal (two-story height), columnned porch to the facade. Forgy both purchased and renovated the building as a wedding gift to his wife Elizabeth. In the mid 1900′s, the house was sold to the Mansfield family who continued to use the building as a home, converting many of the rooms into apartments to bring in additional income during World War II.
In the 1980′s, the house was sold at auction after the death of Mrs. Mallie Mansfield and the building was purchased at auction. The building was immediately converted into rarely maintained storage space with an efficiency apartment in the former Kitchen ell. The building fell into ruin after two decades of prolonged deterioration.
In 2008, a local donor purchased the building with the intention to create a non-profit organization and restore the building, saving the Academy from destruction. A purchase agreement was arranged and one year later, the building ownership was transferred with a 25% donation included in the transfer agreement to the Green River Academy Preservation Society, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization.
The Academy building and grounds are currently under the control of the Green River Academy Preservation Society. The group invites interested parties to join the organization to share in the restoration effort. Through adaptive-use, the building will be restored and will benefit the community by providing educational opportunities for those seeking new careers in technology based occupations. When completed, the Green River Academy will also provide hospitality assistance to the local business community in addition to operating as a social facility for the Green River Academy Preservation Society. 1http://greenriveracademy.com/?page_id=38