Adams Township’s Dead Dog schoolhouse in Madison County

The first District 3 schoolhouse in Adams Township was a log building “up on the hill on Art Hennings’ property1.” Around 1854, a frame structure was completed next to the Dunkard (German Baptist) Church that still stands on New Columbus Road south of what’s now East County Road 500-South, an area sometimes referred to as Old Columbus. Accordingly, the schoolhouse was known as the Dunkard school2. In 1877, a brick schoolhouse was built in what was called the “Fesler District3” that measured 23×38 feet and cost $1,100. That school, the one that still stands, was an exact replica of Adams Township’s District 8: Collier schoolhouse.

Photo taken August 10, 2021.

The schoolhouse received the colloquial name of “Dead Dog,” legend says, after a pregnant dog was hit by a train at Alliance, a railroad station just east of the structure4. Bizarrely, another schoolhouse -this one in Boone Township- shared the grisly name, but for entirely different reasons: during a community gathering at the building, a group of disgruntled residents threw a dead dog through the window in order to disrupt the festivities.

In 1922, the state board of health issued orders condemning the District 3 schoolhouse as unsanitary, along with five others in Adams Township5. That year, the school at Markleville was expanded and remodeled6. A new, consolidated school called Fall Creek Heights opened in 19287 and it appears as though the District 1 school, along with Districts 2, 3, and 5, were abandoned at that time8.

The view of the schoolhouse from County Road 500-S, also known as Alliance Road after the train station, is actually a view of the rear of the structure as the roadway ran south of the building when it was constructed prior to being straightened9. Today, the District 3 schoolhouse is a dwelling.

Sources Cited
1 Bock, G. (1970, October 29). Adams Township Had Ten School Districts. Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 4.
2 Jackson, S. T. (2018, June 10). Of Lost Woods, Poley Walk and other odd place names. The Herald Bulletin. Web. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
3 Kingman Brothers. (1880). History of Madison County, Indiana with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches. Chicago, IL.
4 (See footnote 1).
5 Condemns Six Adams Township School Buildings (1922, April 14). The Alexandria Times-Tribune. p. 1.
6 Bock, G. (1969, June 3). This is Year of Last Good Bye for Markleville H.S.. Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 4.
7 School Terms to Close Next Week (1928, April 14). The Elwood Call-Leader. p. 1.
8 Plat Book of Madison County Indiana (n.d.) W. W. Hixson & Co. Rockford, IL. map. Map Collection, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library.
9 Jackson, S. T. (2021, August 9). Madison County schoolhouses. email.

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