In 1905, Jackson Township’s District 4: Barr schoolhouse was situated on 10 acres owned by the Barnhart family. Across the road sat eighty-three acres owned by C.W. and A.L. Barr1. It’s likely that a previous District 4 school, probably frame, stood on their land given its common name. It’s also possible that the Barrs originally owned the Barnharts’ land on the southwest corner when the schoolhouse was first established.
The extant Barr School was probably built in the 1890s, when schoolhouse design generally shifted from featuring nothing but a classroom to incorporating a central entrance flanked by cloakrooms that led into the classroom, giving those schoolhouses a T-shaped layout.
Under the direction of teacher Luther Glancy, the Barr schoolhouse led Blackford County’s rural schools during December, 1931 with a record of 99.44%2.
The school appears to have closed at some point prior to 1936, when the first reunion of the “old” Barr schoolhouse was held at Hartford City’s Hoover Park3.
After its closure, the Barr schoolhouse was purchased by James Mannix and moved one half-mile north of its original location in order to be remodeled into a “modern farm house4.” Today, the schoolhouse -still a home- sits with its original front facing away the road. It’s been expanded to the north and south, and dormers have been added to provide light for a second story that was incorporated into the renovation. Admittedly, this photo kind of sucks: the schoolhouse isn’t centered and it’s at a weird angle. I didn’t want to intrude!
Originally, I thought this schoolhouse had been demolished before I found the article stating that James Mannix bought and moved it in order for it to become a home. That bit of information sent the gears in my head a-turning, so I looked up adjacent property records in the Blackford County assessor’s database to find if a Mannix still owned it. I couldn’t, but I found a parcel that had been transferred from a Mannix to a new owner. When I zoomed in, satellite images confirmed the house there as following the typical T-shaped schoolhouse plan and the home as the old Barr schoolhouse.
1 Hixson, W.W. (1905). Blackford County, Ind. map. Map Collection, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library.
2 Shooting of Well Delayed (1931, January 20). The Muncie Star. p. 4.
3 Reunion Officers Named (1936, September 8). The Muncie Star. p. 3.
4 Hartford City (1942, September 4). The Muncie Evening Press. p. 2.