Today the old Frances Elementary School in the village of Frances, Ky., sits vacant and neglected. Once a proud new building, a valuable asset to the children, family and community, everyone source of pride for their community.
This cream colored brick school was built in 1961, replacing an old wooden structure. It held grades 1-8 for the first years. Later the 6-8 would be transferred to the new Middle School at Marion.
In Jan. 1961, Superintendent of Crittenden County Schools, Louis Litchfield told of the news of the plans for the new school building. The new building would consist of eight classrooms, a library, cafeteria, kitchen, offices and storage. The building would handle approximately 250 students from the southern end of the county.
The school continued to be a vital part of the community until April 1997. I think we all knew it was coming, for it has been predicted from many years before, that at a later time, all the county schools would be consolidated into one school with the central location at Marion. I had heard this prediction as early a date as in the 1970's, but still one is never ready for such a drastic change to take place.
Frances and Tolu, the last remaining county schools, were voted by the board to be closed in 1997. The year 1998 would be the last school year for the Frances Elementary School. A sad day for the community.
After the school was closed, there were high hopes of the building still being available to the community, several ideas were talked about how it could be used. It was even purchased by a local man from the community. Nothing ever materialized for the school, as it sits today, a tattered shell of it's former days. Windows broken and boarded up, weeds and grass taken over the lawn.
But good memories remain for the students that attended here and families that were apart of the school and the activities that made the school the center of the community and everyone was it's family.