Museum program to focus on Becknerville school history

A limestone tablet adorned the original Becknerville Community School entrance around 1923 and did so for some time.

Even after 95 years, the tablet is in excellent condition thanks to Glenn White, a Becknerville School alum, who saved it from destruction.

The tablet is a reminder of the significance of the Becknerville Community School and other education hubs and their impact on the community, Jerry Cecil, a trolley tour guide at the Bluegrass Heritage Museum, said.

The crossroads of Water Works and Combs Ferry roads was called Hayden’s Corner in the early history of the county; people now refer to the area as Becknerville. The name Hayden’s Corner is from Samuel Hayden, an early landowner, according to the Kentucky atlas. The name Becknerville came from Judge Morgan Beckner of Winchester.

The Kentucky River Pike, later called the Combs Ferry Pike, bisected this western area of the county, and was surrounded by fertile agricultural lands that remain to this day, Cecil said in a news release.

In the early settlement of this area, education held a prominent role among its residents.

Edward Hickman, brother of Gen. Richard Hickman, was a noted educator in this area for many years. Residents and landowners supported the local one- and two-room school houses that dotted the countryside, according to the release.

Schools with names like Rock Hill, Bean, Locust Grove, Salem, Martin and Becknerville were among some of the most prosperous and productive schools in the county, Cecil said in a news release.

“These little community schools were the hub,” he said.

That part of the county valued education from the beginning. It had private schools, district schools and common schools. When the state began pushing for consolidation, almost all of the one- and two-room schoolhouses closed.

The Becknerville School was the first brick school in the county and acted as one of the first attempts at consolidation.  

White, who preserved the tablet, attended the Becknerville School as well as Bean School.

“He had the foresight to preserve it all these years,” Cecil said.

White gave the tablet to Cecil a few years back as White was moving to another area in the county.

Cecil will discuss the tablet’s significance as well as the history and development of the Becknerville area more in-depth at a museum Second Thursday program April 12.

The program is free, and doors open at 6 p.m. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. The museum will offer refreshments.