The Higginsport School is located in Higginsport, Ohio along the Ohio River. The first school for the Brown County village came in 1807, when a one-room log cabin was constructed near the banks of the river.1 The school was relocated to Robert Higgins’ warehouse in 1822, but due to the growth of the village, a larger log structure was built in the public square in 1828.
The first brick school in the town was completed in 1845 on the same lot where the current vacant structure stands today.1 The new building, designated within a special village district on May 6, contained four departments. But the growth of the community once again strained the school. As early as 1868, measures were undertaken for a bigger facility but no action was taken until the spring of 1880 when an election was held that resulted in the citizens voting for a larger building.1 The estimated cost of the new Higginsport school was $15,000, although it was completed for $3,000 over budget.
The new two-story school was modeled after a similar structure in Maysville, Kentucky, although Higginsport’s was considered “much handsomer and commodious.”1 The gothic-inspired building was constructed entirely of brick and contained six rooms with 16-foot ceilings. The cornerstone contained a copy of each newspaper published in the county, along with sketches of the schools in Higginsport’s history, coins, portraits of county officials and Presidents of the United States.
Attendance in 1881 was 250 students, and its population was segregated.1
Growth and Closure
The Higginsport school was expanded in 1930 with a gymnasium to the west and again in 1932 with a cafeteria. It was at this time that indoor plumbing was installed.1
In 1952, the Higginsport school was consolidated into the Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington School district.1 Elementary students continued to use the facility until 1987 when it was closed. The property was sold to the village of Higginsport for $1. While the gymnasium was initially used for dances and other functions, the cost of heating and cooling the building proved to be a financial burden to the village.
The school was, for all intents and purposes, abandoned until 1997, when it was used as an emergency shelter for Higginsport residents when the Ohio River flooded. But it was the flood that provided the school with attention and support, especially from the Higginsport Community Improvement Group. In less than one year, the organization applied for a State Historical Building designation, and in 1999, it was awarded the status as a historic site.1 A grant was obtained to help defray the cost of a new roof.