The schools are a thing of the past, preserved only by faded and yellow photographs " and the memories of those who attended.
Those recollections were abundant among the more than 50 who gathered this weekend to celebrate the 12th reunion of Frankfort's all black schools " Clinton Street, Mayo-Underwood and Rosenwald Laboratory.
"I think it's nice that people came to mingle together," said Evelyn Williams, a 1947 Mayo-Underwood graduate.
"After they move away you get to see your old classmates."
Clinton Street, Mayo-Underwood and Rosenwald Laboratory educated Frankfort's African American population " first grade to graduation " for more than 70 years.
Clinton Street and Mayo-Underwood were the main black schools locally from 1884 until 1965, when Mayo-Underwood closed its doors for good.
After closing the original Rosenwald School, Rosenwald Laboratory was a learning ground for Kentucky State University's aspiring teachers until 1977.
Although the original schools are gone, most of the graduates vividly remember the days when Mayo-Underwood stood in place of what is now the Capital Plaza complex, its days, too, perhaps numbered.
Hill, a 1951 graduate, remembers walking from her house on Second Street to school every day.
"We walked across that bridge every morning," Hills said. "We had physical fitness, (but) we didn't realize it."
Hill's friend, Catherine Cane, 70, said all the walking made her skinny, earning her the nickname "bean pole" among classmates.
"They'd say when the wind blow(s) I'd have to hold on to a tree I was so skinny," Cane laughed.
Hill said the students had to walk; there was no other option. "We didn't have a bus, we didn't know what a bus was."
The alumni spent the weekend recounting similar stories and catching up with old friends, some from across the nation, for the biennial event.
"Every time we have a reunion, I never miss it," said Abbie Demaree Hill, who makes the trip every two years from her home in Arizona.
"We have a lot of memories."
The memories of these graduates are unique and sometimes paint a picture different than what's taught today in history books.
Robert Davis graduated from Frankfort High School in 1964 after Mayo-Underwood closed.
"I liked Mayo-Underwood better (than FHS)," Davis said. "If they hadn't closed, that's where I'd have gone."
Hill said the all black schools gave students a sense of closeness with teachers that she doesn't see in today's schools.
"They wanted us to be somebody," she said. "(Today), there's not that closeness that we had."
"We didn't have the equipment (in schools), but there's something about that unity that (isn't) in the schools today."
When the schools closed, many teachers were out of a job, Davis said.
"Progress is good, but integration hurt us a little bit," she said. "We lost a lot of our good teachers, only one went to Frankfort High and she (became) a librarian."
Although they were sometimes serious, the group spent most of their time laughing and catching up with old friends.
After a picnic and night of games on Friday, they met Saturday morning for a memorial service at the granite monument to Mayo-Underwood at the Capital Plaza. The weekend culminated in a banquet and dance at Capital Plaza Hotel Saturday night.
The reunion weekends have been held since 1978, according to Barbara White, a reunion organizer. They initially took place every five years, but the tradition was moved to every other year in the mid-nineties, White said.
The schools are an important part of history that must continue to be recognized, White said.
"Who's going to tell people about our heritage, unless we do it ourselves?"
"That's why we brought Rosenwald in here, cause they're younger," White joked.