Proposed names for new Lexington schools honor historic neighborhood, inventor

The new Fayette County elementary school under construction at 2550 Georgetown Road.
The new Fayette County elementary school under construction at 2550 Georgetown Road.

The names of two Lexington schools opening this fall could be Coventry Oak Elementary and Garrett Morgan Elementary, according to school board documents released Thursday.

The Fayette County Board of Education on Thursday discussed the names, recommended by two committees of parents, staff and community members. They will vote on the names Dec. 14.

Community members suggested several names for both schools, including Isaac Murphy, a black Hall of Fame jockey in the 1800s.

The rationale for naming the property located at 2550 Georgetown Road as Coventry Oak Elementary “was to consider the geographical and historical significance of the Georgetown Road area,” according to documents attached to the school board agenda.

After researching historical information, committee members discovered that the Oakwood Subdivision along Georgetown Road is the oldest and most historic neighborhood that this school will service.

It was the second housing development in Lexington where blacks could buy a new house. Oakwood opened the same year that Congress passed landmark civil rights legislation that prohibited housing discrimination. Coventry is the subdivision in which the school is located, and it is one of the newest neighborhoods the school will service.

“The name Coventry Oak Elementary joins the history of the Georgetown Road area with the innovation of the area,” school board documents said.

The recommended name for the new elementary school at 1150 Passage Mound Way in eastern Lexington is Garrett Morgan Elementary.

Garrett Morgan was born March 4, 1877, in Paris, Ky., the son of former slaves. He moved to Ohio at age 14 and worked there as a handyman and repairman. In 1895 he moved to Cleveland, where he lived until his death in 1963.

“He was inspired by the world around him which led him to invent and patent a number of inventions including the first hair straightener, early respirators used by firemen and the traffic signaling system which incorporated the yellow warning light, still in use today,” board documents said.

School board policy requires that name reflect the geographic significance of the area, or an individual who contributed in a significant way on a local, state or national level.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears