What’s left of Jackson Township’s Millgrove schoolhouse in Blackford County

Although a one-room, frame building preceded it, Blackford County’s first substantial District 11 school in Jackson Township at Millgrove was built in 1886. It was likely lost in a fire in 19021, at which point a replacement was constructed. Both the 1886 building and its successor -red brick, one-and-a-half stories, and featuring a bell tower- operated two-year high schools until 1908. Extra classes like that weren’t accredited by the state of Indiana, but that was typical of many rural schools that offered advanced coursework2.

Photo taken August 15, 2021.

The second Millgrove school burned down during the summer of 1929. It was impossible to replace due to the township’s financial constraints, so its students were dispersed amongst the other schoolhouses3 in the area.

By 1931, Jackson Township paid down enough debt or accumulated enough funds to construct a replacement high school. Officials built a two-story, brick, Art Deco structure4. It was a landmark for the community of Millgrove, which consisted primarily of a church, a small cemetery, and a grain elevator at that point.

Along with the Trenton school and the Dildine school, the District 11 school at Millgrove closed in 1963 when the Jackson Township Elementary School was opened three miles to the north5.

The Millgrove school was abandoned in the mid-1990s after an attempt to convert it into a nursing home failed6. Today, all that remains of the ninety-year-old building are its foundations and portions of its walls. The students of Jackson Township attended the Jackson Township Elementary until 1993, when it closed. That building was converted into the Blackford County Jail two years later.

Sources Cited
1 A History of Blackford County, Indiana : with historical accounts of the county, 1838-1986 [and] histories of families who have lived in the county (1986). book. The Blackford County Historical Society. Hartford City, IN.
2 Spurgeon, W. (1994, March 18). Our Neighborhood. The Muncie Star. p. 4.
3 To Transfer Pupils (1929, July 13). The Muncie Star Press. p. 3.
4 Album of Yesteryear (1994, February 27). The Muncie Star Press. p. 15.
5 New Jackson School to Open on Monday (1964, February 23). The Muncie Star Press. p. 7.
6 McBride, M. (1997, June 2). A stop along the old Pan Handle enjoyed boom times. The Muncie Star Press. pp. 7-8.

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