• Jacobs Hall Museum named one of the '10 Best Kentucky Buildings'

    December 04, 2013

    DANVILLE, Ky. - A beloved historic Danville landmark is being recognized as one of the best buildings in the state.


    Last month, Kentucky Educational Television and the American Institute of Architects named Jacobs Hall, which is located on the Kentucky School for the Deaf campus, one of the "10 Best Kentucky Buildings."


    In April, the public was asked by KET and AIA to nominate their favorite buildings for "50 of the Best Kentucky Buildings." In August and September, the public voted to determine the ranking for the competition.


    Jacobs Hall was ranked fourth, based on number of votes.


    JoAnn Hamm, assistant director of Jacobs Hall Museum, said she and the KSD staff are thrilled with this recognition.


    "We realize this could not have been achieved without the help of the Danville community," she said. "I can't tell you how many people have proudly told me, 'I voted for Jacobs Hall.'"


    According to the KET website, this competition was a statewide effort that explored the impact Kentucky's rich architecture has on residents as they "live, work and play." The competition was part of AIA's 50th anniversary celebration. The public also voted on the "10 Buildings that Changed Louisville."


    The other "Best Kentucky Buildings" included in the listing are:

    1. Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington
    2. The Ascent at Roebling's Bridge, Covington
    3. The Louisville Palace, Louisville
    4. Jacobs Hall Museum, Danville
    5. Old State Capitol, Frankfort
    6. Northern Kentucky University Student Union, Highland Heights
    7. Twin Spires of Churchill Downs, Louisville
    8. Federal Hill (My Old Kentucky Home), Bardstown
    9. Calumet Farm, Lexington
    10. Jesse R. Zeigler House, Frankfort 

    "Because there are only 10 buildings across the state that received this honor, we hope that learning about this designation encourages people to tour our building and learn more about the vibrant history and culture of the deaf that is part of the fabric of this town," Hamm said.


    Bethany Rogers, executive director of the Heart of Danville Main Street Program, said it is a real distinction for KSD and Jacobs Hall to be recognized as one of the most important sites in Kentucky, alongside some of the most iconic buildings statewide.


    "It's another indicator of the unique collection of architectural resources we have in Danville and Boyle County," she said. "Since the standings were determined by public vote, it shows the pride this community takes in Jacobs Hall and KSD."


    Hamm invites the public to take a tour and see the many important architectural features found in Jacobs Hall during the museum's Holiday Weekend. Tours are free and are available every hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 13, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14.


    Jacobs Hall is located at 303 S. 2nd Street in Danville. For more information, call (859) 936-6813.




    Jacobs Hall was designed by Thomas Lewinski - who designed Ashland and White Hall, which are the homes of Henry and Cassius Marcellus Clay - and was built by John McMurtry in 1857. The building originally served as a girls' dormitory for KSD. The school's superintendent lived on part of the first and second floors, with other staff residing on the third and fourth floors. Female students (27 per floor) lived in their own quarters in the building, with separate entrances on all four floors.


    The building's eye-catching, six-story open foyer was not designed, as is commonly thought, to allow sign language communication among the different floors, but was actually a ventilation system. With the two-story octagonal glass cupola open, the foyer drew warm air up and out of the building, keeping it cool in the summer months.


    The building's distinguished past and rich architectural character earned it the designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1967. Kentucky School for the Deaf superintendents resided within its walls until 2002, when it became a museum. As one of the most handsome remaining buildings from the first school for the deaf west of the Alleghenies, Jacobs Hall stands as a distinctive reminder of Danville's and Boyle County's long tradition of progress and innovation.


    For more information about Jacobs Hall, visit www.ksd.k12.ky.us



    • Jacobs Hall's foundation was constructed from hand-cut field stones.
    • Every single one of its bricks was handmade and fired on site.
    • Its ceilings get progressively shorter on the higher floors of the building.
    Kasey Hill, Communications Coordinator
    (859) 236-2361
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