Highbaugh Hall Historical Marker
Written by: Steven Faulkner ('15)
Highbaugh Hall was built in 1861 and documents of the era claim that James Bailey, a freed slave and Georgetown resident, was the designer and architect. Bailey was of biracial decent and was brought to the area from Alexandra, Louisiana in 1826 by Minor B.R. Williams, who was a friend to Captain Litteton Bailey, James Bailey's father. Bailey attended a school in Cincinnati where he learned to be a craftsman and apprentice to architect Taylor Buffington, who is known for many high style buildings in Central Kentucky and Indiana. Highbaugh Hall-originally named the Academy Building- was constructed in the Greek revival style with a two-story pediment portico that was added during a renovation financed by Leroy Highbaugh, a Georgetown College Alumni, in 1954. The building sits on a tooled limestone foundation, the outside walls are laid brick, and four columns line the front of the north side facing Giddings Circle. Highbaugh Hall is named after Mr. and Mrs. L. LeRoy Highbaugh, Sr. and Mr. and Mrs. L. LeRoy Highbaugh, Jr. of Louisville in grateful appreciation for their generosity to the college.
The building has seen many renovations throughout the years, such as the windows being lengthened in the 1870s and the addition of the pediment portico mentioned above in the 1950s to make the north end the main entrance. Originally, the Tau Theta Kappa and Ciceronian literary societies lived in and used Highbaugh Hall to host their debates. Both of the building's entrances on the east and west sides have concrete plaques with the names and the dates the literary societies were founded. Highbaugh Hall was originally a library, and some rooms were classrooms for the Georgetown College Academy during this time as well, giving rise to its earlier name. The Academy was a private schooling option for the community from the 1845 through the 1917 as an alternative to the self-financed system of education and the earliest public school system in the area. Many families from rural areas moved to Georgetown to enlist their children in this Academy in order to provide an advanced education and prep for college. At the time, any education beyond sixth grade was considered advanced.
After the Academy closed, the structure kept the name "Academy Building" and was converted into the Physics building until 1943. Since that time, the building has been used for academic and administrative purposes. Today, the building houses the Business Office and the Office of the Registrar.