Kilgour School is named after John Kilgour, an early resident of Hyde Park. His wife, Mary Kilgour, donated five acres of land to the Board of Education for the school to be built and stipulated the school be dedicated in memory of her husband. His picture hangs in the main school entry. In 1922, the first eight rooms of the beautiful brick and stone Kilgour School building with its lovely white colonial pillars were opened. Pupils filed into their new school. Those in the upper grades turned left at the front door and the younger children turned right.

But, it wasn’t long before the growing Mt. Lookout outgrew its eight room school. Two colonies were built. One faced West, where the kindergarten is today. And the other faced North. One of the colonies served pupils for only a few years because by 1928, a fine new addition to the school was opened. Now Kilgour became its own “master.” We had remained a colony of Hyde Park after the opening of the 1922 building. Miss Ellen B. Andrew served as “teacher in charge” under Mr. E.M. Sawyer and later Mr. E.P. Reeve while these two gentlemen busied themselves at Hyde Park School.

It was time to do something about that school yard, so bare and unattractive! The PTA planted three pin oak trees in honor of the first three principals, for now Miss Andrews was appointed principal of Kilgour. All of the other beautiful trees were given by the children under the direction of one of our teachers who came here as a young woman and stayed 40 years – Miss Mary E. Bennett. Set among the beautiful trees near the North end of the building you will find a plaque honoring Mess Bennett for her efforts.

As early as 1928, our school became known as one of the finest in Cincinnati. We had a school orchestra and baseball team as well as a boys and girls choir and a library (which for some time became a branch of the Cincinnati Public Library). In 1946, a young Navy officer, Mr. Chester Heery, returned from the war and became principal. He held that position until his retirement in the Spring of 1968. In 1954, another addition to the school was opened, due in large part to the post-war baby boom.

After being out of our Mt. Lookout building from August 2005 – June 2008, Kilgour has returned to Herschel Avenue! As part of Cincinnati Public Schools Master Facilities Plan, Kilgour received a complete interior facelift, including new windows throughout and refurbishing and refinishing existing doors and woodwork. Kilgour received a new roof and the building’s existing brick was cleaned and refurbished. In addition, the old colonies were removed and a 23,630 square foot addition was built with 8 classrooms, 2 extended learning areas and a full-size gym. A new sunken courtyard area brings natural light into the basement-level lunchroom and creates a plaza entrance into the new gym. A new driveway entrance off Herschel Avenue with a turn-around space and a 31-space parking lot was added. The school was also equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Today, Kilgour is a K-6 school with an enrollment of approximately 650 students.

Many children attending Kilgour today are children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren of Kilgour students of past generations. The Kilgour of today looks toward the 21st century, with the strength from the past and goals for continued excellence.

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