FLORENCE - The Maud Lindsay Free Kindergarten was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. The listing is the result of the work by University of North Alabama public history students, Brian Murphy, Carrie Keener, and Cait Monroe that began in 2016.
The kindergarten was established in 1898 and still is serving Florence children.
The students delved into the nomination process as part of their course work for a historic preservation class with Dr. Carrie Barske Crawford.
They researched the school’s background and its place in Florence history, photographed the structure, drew a floor plan of the building and mapped the several different sites where the school has been located through the years. During the process, they worked with kindergarten director Dianna Hawk.
“I have always felt that Maud Lindsay Free Kindergarten is a special part of our local and state history. Being recognized at the national level is a great honor,” Hawk said. “I appreciate Dr. Carrie Barske Crawford, her students, and staff for taking on this project and the work required for the school to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”
A group of women led by Lulie Jones in 1898 organized the Pioneer Free Kindergarten of Alabama Association for the children of industrial east Florence. The school opened in the home of Mrs. R. Price on Wood Avenue on Sept. 3. Jones was friends with Tuscumbia-native Maud Lindsay and knew of her desire to teach young children using a progressive system of education. She recommended the group ask Lindsay to teach at the school. Lindsay agreed and remained at the school until her death in 1941. The beloved teacher also wrote 13 children’s books and several children’s stories for magazines.
“It is always exciting to see student projects come to fruition,” said Crawford. “Brian, Cait, and Carrie learned so much about historic preservation and how the National Register process works. They also helped recognize an important part of Florence’s history. The Maud Lindsay Kindergarten provided early childhood education opportunities to children living in industrial east Florence who might not have had them otherwise.”