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Driving Tour of Pikeville, KY
Item 8 of 12
The Pikeville Academy Building was constructed on College Street in Pikeville, Kentucky, in 1890. The building is the oldest surviving educational building in Pike County, Kentucky. It was constructed after a group of men, affiliated with the Presbyterian church, noticed the need of a place where Pike County residents could learn both academically and spiritually. Though used primarily for educational purposes, the building has also been used as a theater and hosted religious and social gatherings. Today, the building sits on the main campus of the University of Pikeville.

  • Front view of the original building
  • Historical maker for the building
  • A plaque, commemorating the building's significance
In 1887, a scouting party, consisting of Dr. W.C. Condit and Dr. Samuel B. Alderson, arrived in Pikeville. They departed from their respective homes in Ashville and Maysville, both of which are also located in Kentucky, and traveled across the southeast portion of Kentucky on the behalf of their church, Ebenezer Presbytery, part of the U.S. Presbyterian Church, because their fellow members were concerned that the area's people were not being offered the proper spiritual and educational opportunities available to others. After their survey of Pikeville, Condit and Alderson felt that these concerns were valid, and were soon joined by one of their peers, James Hendricks, before being welcomed into the homes of the area's people and informing them of their decision to fund and build a Christian school for the people of Pikeville, which they considered to be the center of the area as well as the area with the most rapidly growing population. 

By 1889, a site had been secured as had the funding, construction materials, and the educational facility's board of trustees, which consisted of Condit, Alderson, and Hendricks as well as Rev. W.S. Fulton, W.M. Connonly, John Simpson, James Hatcher, Charles M. Parsons, and Mrs. F.B. Trusell. The building, then named the Pikeville Collegiate Institute, was erected at the center of what is now College Street in Pikeville, Kentucky. In the fall of that same year, the school, under the guidance of Rev. David Blyth, the leader of the Presbyterian church and the school's acting principal, was open for student enrollment, with the first day of classes taking place on September 16th, 1889. Under his guidance, the institute flourished, even expanding a year after its opening when Blyth arranged for the construction of another building, now known as Hendricks Hall. Blyth continued his role as principal for three years following the schools establishment before falling victim to typhoid fever rendered him unable to continue to work. 

The Institute, a four-room brick building, functioned as both a church and a school in addition to a meeting place for those who resided in Pikeville, and was, initially, not meant to be degree-granting university. After Blythe's initial expansion of the Institute with the construction of Hendricks Hall, however, the Institute continued to grow. By 1909, the Institute had split, with the original building being  renamed the Pikeville Collefe academy and being opened as a private school for primary and secondary level education, with Hendricks Hall and becoming known as Pikeville College a public and accredited junior college which offered associates degrees to students.  In 1955 the school became a degree granting four-year college in its own right, and in 1957 the academy closed.

The original Institute building has since become a state landmark and still sits in its original location along College Street in Pikeville amid other buildings from the current college's campus. It is the oldest educational facility still standing in Pike County, Kentucky, and is open for visitors. 
Historical Designation Nomination Form - Pikeville College Academy Building. National Park Service. August 24, 1972. Accessed June 24, 2019.

Pikeville Collegiate Institute. Roadside History. February 18, 2011. Accessed June 24, 2019.