Lincoln Grant Scholar House

Great Places Have Great Stories
Rehabilitation of the Lincoln Grant School as a Multi-Use Community Asset

Only by knowing our past do we know our future. Through historic preservation and adaptive reuse we acknowledge and preserve our past while engaging the needs of the present for a viable future. Our present is shaped by what has passed down to us as stories, history, place, and culture. Our identity comes from those memories, as we hold onto, preserve and share those memories. Historic preservation and adaptive reuse can embody the memories with strength and structure, and preserve an identity of a community.

Historic preservation and adaptive reuse has the ability to reconnect and reinterpret the past to the present through the built environment. When the built environment is abandoned, structures are allowed to erode or disappear, or, are forgotten, the stories, significance, meaning and history of a place or structure are debilitated as well. With that debilitation of the physical environment, the collective memory and identity of the place and community erodes as well. Through historic preservation and adaptive reuse we have the opportunity to illuminate and reinvigorate those meaningful stories with revived places. A revived community identity can emerge from this preserved and restored place of meaning.

This project considers the identity of Covington’s eastside community and the generating element of identity for many generations, the Lincoln Grant School. Generations of eastside residents received their state of the art education there, and their descendants: today’s young adults, teenagers and children have only seen a powerful piece of art deco architecture erode through neglect.

The goal of this project is to preserve the story of the school, neighborhood and its inhabitants by reestablishing and strengthening connections between the past present and future. The importance of memory of past upon identity of the community and individuals is a powerful tool in this project to carve meaning and history back into the building and site. The exploration of adaptive reuse of the historic school building can be a fundamental aspect of restoring and communicating this memory while opening a new possibility for sustainability. The adaptive reuse of this building as a multi-family complex can invigorate the park with new families, activity and energy that can regain and maintain the meaning and history being lost. The rehabilitated school auditorium where generations of east side residents enjoyed jazz, theater, fashion, and graduated will be returned to this community as the Carnegie Theater, to meet, gather, celebrate, and enjoy the arts and culture in once again.

The Family Scholar House, the partner of Marian Development, LLC sponsoring this program for the Lincoln Grant School, provides housing for participant families; case management for personal growth in areas of parenting, making wise choices, financial decision- making skills in addition to other areas they feel are needed; guidance and knowledge in pursuing their educational needs; and peer support to strengthen their commitment on their way to educational and economic success. The Lincoln Grant School is situated in the historic working class Eastside Historic District, and it stands as a symbol of the segregation period, as it was the area’s ‘black only’ school, and as a representation of black Kentucky history and heritage for it was a state of the art design in educational facilities for black children. The additional units will complement and celebrate the subtle art-deco style of the historic building, while being attached in a manner compliant with the Secretary of Interiors Standards. Upon rehabilitation of the historic structure, the community, neighborhood, and city will have restored and revitalized a monument to its past operating in the present while creating its future.