Building was a school for more than 80 years

There can be a lot of memories wrapped up in a school building. Shown in this week’s photo is a former school building on Jefferson Street at the intersection with Park in downtown Huntington. According to information provided by the Huntington City Township Public Library, this building was originally the high school in Huntington until it was converted to a K-9 school when a new high school opened elsewhere in 1920. Then in 1928 Central School opened in the building as a K-9 school. It remained that way more than 40 years until it became Central Elementary School in 1969 when grades 7-9 were moved to Crestview Junior High School. It remained an elementary school until 2004 when it was closed and the building was sold. In 2011 the Central Apartments opened in the old school building and I’m told some aspects of classrooms remain in most apartments. This building was built in an era when many school buildings were built. Of course it goes without saying the needs of schools have changed considerably and these old buildings no longer meet those needs, at least in many instances. But it’s nice to see another use can be found for a nice looking old building.

Former school building in downtown Huntington
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Historic building in South Whitley dates to before 1900

Here’s another building on State Street (State Road 5) in South Whitley, Whitley County. This one is in downtown South Whitley. According to information provided by the South Whitley Public Library, the first recorded business was the George Ely drug store in the 1890s. I should note the building I am referring to is the middle of the three shown in the photo. From 1902-1923 it was the Fred Norris drug store and then the Kelly Drug Store (dates unknown). Sometime in the 1950s the Johnson Brothers Sign Company moved there and were there until 1958 when they built a new building south of the bridge, also on State Road 5. There was a period of time between 1958 and 1974 when it was unknown what occupied the building. In 1974 it became Grandma Bertha’s pizza shop. Since then it has always been a pizza place with several different owners. Many may remember it as Pizza Jacks and also Barb’s Pizza. It is always interesting to me to find out the different types of businesses that have been located in historic buildings. Of course downtown used to be the hub of business activity before cities and towns developed and growth occurred in suburbs or outlying areas. There are several other historic buildings in South Whitley that I will hopefully post something about later.

Building in South Whitley was originally a drug store
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Building in Allen County was a one-room schoolhouse

In the second half of the 1800s and into the early 1900s one-room schoolhouses dotted the landscape all across Indiana. They were built roughly two miles apart in a grid system township by township. At that time, the township trustees were in charge of schools. Schools were numbered in each township. Eventually those schools were consolidated so larger multi grade schools could be built to attract students from a larger area. The one-room schoolhouses had been designed so students wouldn’t have to go more than about one mile to get to school. Shown in a photo is one of the last one-room schools built in Allen County, Pleasant Township. It was District School No. 7 and built in 1918. It is located near the small community of Yoder south of Fort Wayne. The bricks are colored in varying shades of red and green and were fired in a kiln about a mile from the building. Even though the mandatory age for education was extended to 16 in 1913, the school continued to operate until 1931. Most one-room schools were only for grades one to eight. This may be a residence now, though I am not sure because it appeared empty when I was there last year.

Former one room schoolhouse in Allen County
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Remnants of an interurban line in Huntington County

I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the most common remnants of interurban railway lines I’ve found is either bridge abutments and-or piers. This week’s post is another example of that. What you see in the photo is both abutments and piers remaining from the Fort Wayne & Wabash Valley Traction Company where it crossed the Salamonie River in the town of Warren in Huntington County. This particular line stretched from Fort Wayne all the way southwest to Lafayette. It also had several branch lines scattered in a wide area. I’ve taken several photos of remnants of this line through the years. Sometime later I will post something about the former interurban station in Warren. In the town of Peru in Miami County you could also make connections to go north with the Winona Interurban Railway. It’s not very often both the abutments and piers remain from an interurban line. It kind of makes me wonder why they haven’t been removed by now, but I’m sure it has something to do with the cost and where it would be on the priority list of projects.

Bridge abutments and piers in Huntington County
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Building in South Whitley was originally a grocery store

For many years the building in this week’s photo was a grocery store and was originally that when built by Elmer Matson in 1896. It is located along State Street (State Road 5) at the intersection with Market Street in South Whitley, Whitley County. According to information provided by the South Whitley Public Library, the grocery store was ran by Floyd Jellison until it burned in 1900. It was rebuilt by Matson in 1901 and continued as a grocery business until he died in 1921. The family continued the business until 1925 when the Matson Publishing Company moved there. The grocery store reopened in 1937. James Matson added a north room in August 1963 and ran the business until October 1963 when William Gipe purchased the grocery (it was known as Gipe’s IGA). The store reverted back to the Matson family in March 1964 and closed in 1969. Val Duggins had a barber shop in the north room from 1969 to 1974. Fox Products used the main part of the building for storage from 1974 to 1976. Glen Watson opened Whitley Motor Parts in 1976 until he moved across the street. There was also a NAPA store there. In March 1985 Tim and Kelly Lynch opened their dentist office in the building and it is still located there.

Building in South Whitley was originally a grocery store
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Building in downtown Goshen was a gas station

It has become interesting to me to find out previous uses of older buildings in the local area. Especially within the last couple of years, I’ve discovered the uses of several buildings through Facebook group posts and other sources. This week is a building on the northwest corner of Third and Washington streets on the edge of downtown Goshen. According to information provided by the Goshen Public Library, as far back as 1941 the city directory showed Cripe & Kitson Texaco Service was located there. The ad in the city directory shows Firestone products were sold there. Tires, tubes, batteries and auto supplies were offered. Then the 1963 Goshen High School yearbook shows Juday’s Alignment and Brake Service was located there. It was owned and operated by Lloyd Juday and his son, Larry. They were pictured in the yearbook advertisement. Neither ad had a photo of the building. It would interesting to see how much it has changed through the years. There is currently a building occupying the ground level and I’m not sure about what is upstairs.

Former gas station in downtown Goshen
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Former schoolhouse in Richland Township of Whitley County

This week’s photo could be better quality obviously. I took the photo from the inside of my vehicle. But at least you can still see most of what is now a private residence but was originally a schoolhouse. It is located at the intersection of County Road 900 West and 150 South in Richland Township, Whitley County. It was originally built of brick in 1882 according to information provided to me by the Whitley County Historical Museum in Columbia City. It is located in a community known as Boonville. Not much is left of Boonville now except the Boonville Cemetery and a few old houses, in addition to the former school. The cemetery contains some clues to the past such as the people who lived in the community when it was more noticeable. I have walked around the cemetery a couple of times and there are some very old grave markers in it. And if you look close enough, you will see the foundation of the former church. The slope of the ground is also a clue to where the church was located. It used to be very common for a church and cemetery to be located next to each other. I am not sure when the school was closed, but it was eventually remodeled into a house. There are still some visible remnants of the school.

Former one room schoolhouse in Whitley County
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Double pen barn is found on grounds of Conner Prairie

This is another post related to my visit to Conner Prairie a few years ago. It is one of the best museums I have ever visited, as I have said before. Shown in the photo is a double pen log barn originally built in about 1840 near Bentonville in Fayette County, Indiana. It was moved to Conner Prairie at some point, but I do not have the year it was moved. When I say double pen, I mean two log pens are built and those are joined by a roof over a breezeway in between. This type of barn allowed a farmer to drive a hay wagon into the breezeway and pitch the hay up above the log cribs. When those areas were full he could then move timbers across the top of the breezeway and use that area for storage too. The barn was often used for stabling animals too. Now the barn is part of the Civil War Journey experience at Conner Prairie. It helps tell the story of what life was like during that era. Barns played a vital role on a farm and served multiple purposes. It’s important that history is preserved.

Double pen barn at Conner Prairie
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Building in New Paris was originally an automobile garage

This building on North Main Street in New Paris, north of Market Street, has a history of more than 100 years. It was built in 1914 by Joe Coughman and Charles Markey. It was a Ford automobile agency and then became Willys-Overland. In addition to having a garage for repair service they sold farming implements made by Oliver and Massey-Harris. Kerosene and oil was also delivered to farmers through the Indian Refining Co. Later Dodge and Plymouth cars and trucks were sold. William Stiver and his three children purchased the building in 1920. Gas pumps were eventually added and the store was enlarged twice. William Stiver died in 1939 and two of his children took over ownership. For a while the post office occupied a small portion of the building. On Jan. 1, 1952, the store became known as Stiver’s General Store. It was more like a hardware store and cars and trucks were no longer sold, though repairs were still done. When the last of the three children died in 1976, the business was sold a year later to Hubert Bontrager. The last time I saw the building, it appeared to still be a hardware store at that time.

Former automobile garage in New Paris
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Conner Prairie barn was originally built in Hamilton County

By now you have probably figured out I have an interest in old barns. I did not grow up on a farm and don’t claim to know much about farming, but these barns have quite a heritage worth noting. Some barns, such as the one in the photo this week, have stood for easily more than 100 years. Actually this barn is closer to 200! It now stands on Conner Prairie, which in my opinion is one of the best history museums anywhere. I was told by the director of marketing at Conner Prairie the barn was built in the 1820s in Hamilton County. Conner Prairie is located in Hamilton County so obviously the barn wasn’t moved very far to get there. This barn has an old rustic look to it that just gives it a historic feel. Barns were often built for multiple purposes and stored hay, feed, animals and equipment. They were built to last, too. One wonders how many storms this barn has endured and it still stands. A wagon could have been driven into one side and out the other, making it more convenient for the farmer. It would be interesting to know who originally built the barn.

Barn at Conner Prairie

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