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Our Lady of the Mountains School at 405 Third Street, Paintsville, KY 41240 US - Our School's History

Our School's History




John Caldwell Calhoun Mayo was born in Pike County, Kentucky in 1864. His family moved to Johnson County when he was five years old. He later attended Ketuckian Wesleyan College to become a teacher. While there, he took an interest in geology and mineralogy. Upon returning home, he taught in Van Lear, KY and spent his spare time traveling around the county buying land. He then sold this land to outside investors and developing coal companies. By 1905 he was successful enough to build the Mayo Mansion (at the present location of 405 Third Street, Paintsville, KY). He had originally planned on building a twenty room house, but then decided to build a mansion to rival the mansions he saw in the Bluegrass area of Kentucky. The design of the Mayo Manison is Classic Revival and it contains forty rooms. Construction of the mansion began in 1905 and was completed in December, 1912; costs were in excess of $250,000. The building of the mansion was not an easy task. The ground was swampy and needed to be filled in. The sandstone for the foundation and cornerstones was mined and shaped at Mayo's father's farm across Paint Creek. The stones were transported by a manually operated overhead tram that was three-fourths of a mile long and reached a height of thirty feet. The massive stone columns, each in three separate pieces, were hauled through Paint Creek (when it was dry) on timber sleds pulled by ten yoke of oxen. All of the masonry work was completed by Italian stonemasons from the Cincinnati area. Paintsville had no electricity at the time, so the original plans called for using carbide gas for light in the mansion. Toward completion, it became evident that Paintsville would be getting electrical service and the house was then electrically wired. Running water was provided by pumping water from a well to a cistern and then into the house as needed. Rain water was channeled from the gutters into the cistern as well. John C. C. Mayo died in May of 1914. Distraught, his wife Alice moved to Florida. In 1916 she remarried and moved to Ashland, KY in 1917. She donated the estate to the Sandy Valley Seminary and it was then renamed the John C. C. Mayo College. The college closed in 1936 due to financial difficulties and the property was back in the hands of Alice Fetters. She then sold the house and property to E. J. Evans, a friend and employee of John Mayo. Mr. Evans leased the mansion and other buildings. In 1938, Paintsville bought the Mayo College property and the Kentucky General Assembly created and opened the Mayo Vocational School. In 1945, Mr. Evans sold the mansion and grounds to the Most Reverend William T. Mulloy, Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, and his successors in office. Under the guidance of the Sisters of Divine Providence from Melbourne, Kentucky, Our Lady of the Mountains was opened in October, 1945. It is currently under the auspices of the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky.

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