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Dr. John Grant Crabbe

Presidential Photo of Eastern Kentucky University, 1906.

John Grant Crabbe was born in Mt. Sterling, Ohio, on Nov. 29, 1865. He earned A.B. and A.M. degrees from Ohio Wesleyan University. He received honorary degrees from: Ohio University, Berea College, Miami University and the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Crabbe came to Kentucky as superintendent of the schools in Ashland - (Ashland City Schools now Ashland Independent Schools). His leadership in an early construction program led to the 1895 naming of John Grant Crabbe School located on school property in Ashland's Central Park.


Picture of "Central High School" turned "Ashland High School" before naming it John Grant Crabbe School in 1895.

He was elected state superintendent of Kentucky public instruction in 1907. As state superintendent, he served on the board of regents at Eastern Kentucky State Normal School No. 1 in Richmond KY. He became Eastern's president in 1910.

Dr. Crabbe was named a member of the National Council of Education, and in 1911, became president of the Department of Normal Schools of the Southern Education Association. The next year (1912) he became President of the National Education Association. In 1916, he was state director of the N.E.A.

Dr. Crabbe resigned from Eastern on Sept. 1, 1916, to become president of Colorado State Teachers College.

In 1958, the Ashland Board of Education announced the 1895 building would be razed, the planned construction of a new elementary school in the same location, and “to continue to honor Dr. Crabbe’s achievements by keeping the name of the structure it will be replacing”.

John Grant Crabbe is the name of the Eastern Kentucky University Library in Richmond and of the Crabbe Elementary School in Ashland which stand as tributes to this innovator and leader in Kentucky public education.


Related image

Eastern Kentucky University Dr. John Grant Crabbe Library

**Pictures and information provided by Eastern Kentucky University Special Collections and Archives.

School Information



Crabbe Elementary School; Est. 1895/1958
520 17th Street
Ashland, KY 41101

 Uriah A. Tolbert, Ed.S

Vice Principal: William Ferguson

Mascot: Tiger

School Colors: Green, White & Black.

Main Office:      606.420.0781

Fax Number:      606.393.5281