Top 100 Best High Schools 2013 – duPont Manual High School – Newsweek – 50/100
duPont Manual High School
duPont Manual High School is a public magnet secondary school located in the Old Louisville neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, USA and serving students in grades 9–12. It is a part of the Jefferson County Public School District. DuPont Manual is recognized by the United States Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School.
120 W Lee St, Louisville, KY 40208, United States
Manual opened in 1892 as an all-male manual training school. It was the second public high school in Louisville. Manual merged with its rival, Male High School, into a consolidated school from 1915 to 1919. Manual permanently merged with the Louisville Girls High School in 1950 and moved into their Gothic style three story building, built in 1934. In 2004, after conducting a poll, Louisville’s Courier-Journal newspaper listed Manual as one of Louisville residents’ ten favorite buildings. As a coeducational school, Manual experienced a decline in discipline and test scores in the 1970s. In 1984, Manual became a magnet school, allowing students from throughout the district to apply to five specialized programs of study, or magnets.
Manual and Male High School have the oldest football rivalry in the state, dating back to 1893. Manual’s football team has won five state titles and claims two national championships. In the 1980s and 1990s Manual became a prominent academic school and has been included several times in lists of America’s top high schools in Redbook and Newsweek magazines.
duPont Manual Training High School
In 1892, Louisville factory owner Alfred Victor du Pont donated $150,000 to the board of Louisville Public Schools to establish a training school to teach young men industrial arts (“manual") skills that would fit them for their duties in life. The Victorian building was built on the corner of Brook and Oak Streets by the firm of Clark and Loomis, which also designed the Speed Art Museum and Waverly Hills Sanatorium. After Manual moved out of the building it was used as a Middle School until 1974 when it was converted to apartments. Manual’s first principal, Henry Kleinschmid, was a favorite of du Pont but was unpopular with the school board, which conspired to replace him in 1895. Despite a summer of controversy and protest from the du Pont family, Manual’s first two graduating classes and the four major local newspapers, the board replaced him with Harry Brownell on July 2.
Manual was initially a three-year school with some general academic classes and an emphasis on mechanical and industrial training. Although graduates recall the school being viewed as blue-collar and academically inferior to Male High School in its early days, numerous early graduates went on to become medical doctors, and students published a literary magazine called The Crimson from 1899 to 1955. In order to accommodate newly added French and Latin classes, Manual was expanded to a four-year school in 1901. In 1911, Manual became the first school in Kentucky to serve lunches to students.
In 1913, Louisville Public Schools announced a plan to merge Manual and its rival Male High School into Louisville Boys High so that the two schools could share a new $300,000 facility. The plan took effect in 1915. Industrial training classes continued at the old Manual building. Parents objected to their children having to travel between the two buildings and the consolidation did not save the school board any money, so they voted to end the experiment in 1919. The new building became Male’s home for the next 70 years and Manual returned to its old building at Brook and Oak. In 1923 an expansion added new laboratories, a cafeteria, and the largest gym ever built in Louisville at the time. The addition eventually burned and had to be destroyed in 1991.
Manual’s enrollment numbers, which had hovered around 400 since the 1890s, soared from 429 in 1919 to 1,039 in 1925. The Manual Crimsons football team, which had also been consolidated with Male’s from 1915 to 1918, had great success in the 1920s, beating Male two years in a row for the first time in its history. Manual shared athletic facilities with Male for many years, but in the early 1920s alumni raised funds to construct Manual Stadium. The stadium opened in 1924 with 14,021 permanent seats. It was one of the largest high school stadiums in America at the time. The original structure was condemned and closed in 1952 after years of heavy use and minimal upkeep, and was reopened after being rebuilt in 1954. Its modern capacity is 11,463.