The extant Washington Township schoolhouse was built in 19231. Its completion was hampered by a difficult construction process delayed due to a railroad strike that limited the supply of bricks2 as well as a damaging wind storm3.
The school, which consisted of six rooms, a heating plant, and basement, cost $30,000 and was built by J.F. Wilde & Company from Indianapolis4. It replaced the District 8: Lillibridge schoolhouse, which was sold along with the abandoned District 1: Ratliff school in 19245. The Lillibridge name came from a prominent family of local farmers who likely originally deeded its land.
In 1938, the Washington School took on several students from the Licking Township District 1: Bailey school, which burned down the previous winter6. Five years later, the Washington School absorbed the students of the Licking Township District 2: Gadbury school, which also burned7.
The Washington Township school closed in 1953. Its students were sent to a larger structure at Roll8, which became the Washington Township school before its closure after the 1961-62 school year9.
After the Lillibridge/Washington Township school closed, it was used as a warehouse for Criss, Incorporated. In 1974, the roof was ripped off in a tornado, causing $100,000 in damage10.
Today, the building’s former status as a schoolhouse is not obvious aside from the wide sidewalk that leads towards its entrance. I would love to see what sits underneath this siding!
1 Dr. Moyer Dies At Montpelier (1923, January 25). The Muncie Evening Press. p. 3.
2 Strike Holds Up Building (1922, August 17). The Muncie Star Press. p. 4.
3 Hartford City Notes (1922, August 30). The Muncie Evening Press. p. 7.
4 School Head At Hartford City Plans To Leave (1922, May 5). The Muncie Evening Press. p. 2.
5 Montpelier (1924, July 17). The Muncie Evening Press. p. 7.
6 School Petition Is Turned Down (1939, July 26). The Muncie Star. p. 4.
7 Gadbury Pupil Shift Arranged (1943, January 17). The Muncie Star. p. 6.
8 Blackford County Trustee to Sell School Building (1955, October 30). The Muncie Star Press. p. 36.
9 McBride, M. (1996, October 14). Roll – it rhymes with doll. The Muncie Star Press. p. 19.
10 Storm Damage Clean-Up Begins at Warehouse (1974, January 29). The Muncie Star Press. p. 3.
2 thoughts on “Washington Township’s Washington schoolhouse in Blackford County”
I’ll bet there’s a lot of coolness under that metal pole barn siding.
I bet so too! Hoping I can stumble across a photo soon.
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