Given New Life

Old English Schoolhouse
has new purpose beyond learning

Finleys buy, renovate and
operate it as a banquet facility

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CARROLLTON, Ky. (December 2011) – When David and Willena Finley purchased the former Old English Schoolhouse in spring 2001, David had plans to open a business that would provide jobs for local residents of Carroll County. He changed his mind slightly when he realized how important it would be to preserve this piece of history for everyone to use.
When Finley bought the building, “jobs were beginning to get scarce. Having a banquet hall didn’t come into the picture until later.”

Old English Schoolhouse

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Supplee

The Old English Schoolhouse has
been renovated and is now
available for parties.

The Historic English Schoolhouse officially opened in summer 2010 as a banquet hall for parties, wedding receptions, awards banquets, family reunions and various similar events. “This year has been our busiest,” he said, since wedding receptions and family reunions are frequently booked there, as well as several upcoming holiday parties.
Before buying the building, Finley looked at it several times. “The building was in very bad shape. The roof had holes in it, and water was standing on the floor.”
After extensive renovation work, the first school reunion was held there in October 2009. “People came here from several states, even as far as Florida. There were over 500 in attendance that day,” Finley said.
From the very beginning of the schoolhouse renovation, Finley said, “We wanted to keep the look and feel of the original building. The building was finished in 1929 for that school year.”
When the schoolhouse was brand new, it had pine floors in every room and pine boxcar siding four feet up the walls, painted gray. All of the flooring is made from white oak hardwood, with the only exception being the gym. This flooring is maple and appears to be original to the building when first built, said Finley.
The couple lives in the building and have kept the original boxcar siding along with the flooring which was laid by the Carrollton Cabinet Factory when the company took over the building in the mid-1960s after the school had closed.
David and Willena, both 66, are originally from Louisville. He trained as an electrician and she graduated from the University of Louisville with a nursing degree.
What they have accomplished with the schoolhouse “must be in our blood,” said Finley. The last project they tackled was taking a former century-old church and converting it into a doughnut shop.
The gym of the schoolhouse is the main meeting place and can be rented for events with tables and chairs provided. The gym is approximately 5,000 square feet and includes a stage. In this space, “We have hosted 225 people with a buffet line,” he said. The couple plan to have more rental space available next year.
A variety of options are available including catering. “We do simple to elegant,” said Finley. Dinner wines are permitted, but no other alcoholic beverages. The schoolhouse is a non-smoking facility.
Other amenities include house sound, stage lighting, video projection for presentations and modern restrooms.

• To make reservations for The Kentucky Jamboree or to rent a space for an event, please call (502) 750-2241 or (502) 732-5536 or visit: http://schoolhouse1929.com.

Back to December 2011 Articles.



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