Mt. Vernon Register-News

August 21, 2013

Historical Society working to preserve sign



When the former Horace Mann Grade School was slated for demolition by the city, one part of the property was earmarked to be saved — the limestone school sign.

"This past summer, Mt. Vernon City Schools District 80 offered the Horace Mann School sign to the Jefferson County Historical Society, as the school was torn down this summer," information from the Jefferson County Historical Society states. "The Society was honored to be chosen to preserve and protect this important piece of history."

The final pieces of the school were removed from the property in June, and the city gave the limestone sign to District 80 due to its local historical significance. Now, the sign is at the Historical Village, waiting on a proper display.

"At present, the sign is lying on the ground at the Jefferson County Historical Village," information states. "In order to preserve it for its own safety and the safety of the village visitors, the Society will need to erect an extensive permanent framework."

But, there is a cost to creating a permanent place for the sign, estimated at $4,000.

"The Historical Society plans on re-creating the sign to look just as it once did and will permanently display the finished product at the Historical Village for all to see and enjoy," information states. "The Society is looking for individuals who would like to make a donation to help re-create the Horace Mann School sign."

The school was built in 1914, as evidenced by the date on the sign, and was closed in 2002 by District 80, when the district consolidated students to the Primary Center, J.L. Buford Intermediate Center and Casey Middle School. The city was given the property for $1 and the building was used as a community center for the next 12 years. Friable asbestos and black mold, along with the deteriorating condition of the building prompted city leaders to initiate the demolition.

Anyone who would like to help the Jefferson County Historical Society erect the framework for the sign may contact the Society office at 246-0033 for more information.