Dedication of Caldwell High

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Dedication of Caldwell High


At 10 o'clock on the frosty morning of February 11, 1895, a crowd of several hundred persons gathered for the dedication ceremony for the new Richmond graded school building at the corner of Second Street and Moberly Ave.

The building was named for Robert Caldwell, who sold the 1.5 acres to the trustees of the Madison Male Academy in 1816.

The trustees signed the property over to the Richmond public school trustees in 1890, in order that a co-educational, tuition-free, 12-grade public school might be operated in this city. The small brick academy building was torn down in 1894. In order for the much larger Caldwell building to he built on the site.

The people in attendance included many prominent persons of the community, as well as a large number of school children. They were seated in the auditorium or "chapel room" which was formed by the raising of two "drop partitions" between two study rooms for senior students.

Presiding at the dedication program was Dr. W.G. White, president of the Richmond Board of Education. He introduced Major C.F. Burnam who read a scholarly paper which held the attention of the audience at some length because it abounded in historical facts relative to the primitive beginnings of schools in Richmond. He traced their development to the completion of the new building, the fruition of the educational dreams of many prominent citizens.

The Hon. W. B. Smith was called upon to make an impromptu speech, which he did with excellence, reviewing his boyhood experiences at the Madison Male Academy and stirring the memories of a number of older men in the audience who were graduates of that institution.

Dr. L. H. Blanton, chancellor of Central University, next spoke, congratulating the city for its splendid accomplishment of establishing a school that would offer a complete 12-grade education all under one roof. Chancellor Blanton pointed out that there would be no rivalry between C. U. and this public school, for the high school graduates of Caldwell would be able to enter the university. Blanton also chided the Madison Countians for sending only about 60 of its young men to C.U., while Boyle County enrolled about 150 in Centre College, C.U.'s rival at Danville.

A third speech was made by Judge C. H. Breck, the brother of Robert Breck, the first chancellor of Central University. He spoke of his being a pupil in the old Madison Male Academy and then later being one of the trustees who donated the property to the Richmond Board of Education. He predicted that some day there would be schools established for the children in all parts of Madison County, and that school books would be furnished free of charge.

The Richmond Silver Band, which had not gotten to perform when the cold weather had forced the early morning parade to be called off was there to present several selections between the speeches and at the end of the program The crowd then toured the building and as the Climax editor said, "reviewed its beauty and utility."

The Caldwell building met an untimely end when it was destroyed by fire on the night of March 9, 1923.


Dr. Robert Grise




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Dr. Robert Grise, “Dedication of Caldwell High,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed July 20, 2019,