What’s left of Center Township’s College Hill schoolhouse in Hancock County

Center Township’s District 3 schoolhouse was built in 18941, but the institution’s history goes back even further: an earlier District 3 schoolhouse sat about a third of a mile north of the present structure, abutting the Little Brandywine Creek on an acre deeded by Elisha Davis2. The school was commonly known as “College Hill” at least as early as 18823, but its name was changed -briefly- when it was relocated.

Photo taken November 20, 2022.

The new building, at the corner of what’s now Morristown Pike and East County Road 200-South, was first called the Grover Cleveland School after the then-president. Perhaps due to Cleveland’s political affiliation4 or, more likely due to the effects that the Panic of 1893 had on his popularity5, a group that some remember as being local Republicans swarmed the recently-finished building, erected scaffolding, and chiseled away Cleveland’s name from the lintel6. The old name of College Hill was carved back in its place.

The College Hill school was open through the 1915-16 school year7. It was permanently shuttered after beginning the term with twelve students and ending it with “only a very few8.” The abandoned schoolhouse was sold to J.C. Hamilton in 1929 as the first of five obsolete structures that the township deaccessioned that year9.

In 1980, the schoolhouse was the home of the Country Particulars craft shop that sold items like spice holders and bespoke stained glass windows created by local artisans10. The schoolhouse was still standing in one piece as late as 2017 but had been reduced to ruin by the following year11. In 2021, some of its bricks were used to line the east-facing exterior wall of The Depot, a restaurant and bar housed in what was once Greenfield’s grain elevator12.

Sources Cited
1 Kirk, M. (2021, September 3). Elevator Evolution. The Greenfield Daily Reporter. p. 4.
2 An Atlas of Hancock County, Indiana (1887). Griffing, Gordon & Co. Philadelphia. Print.
3 Binford, J. (1882). History of Hancock County, Indiana. King & Binford. Greenfield. Print. p. 150.
4 Davis, H. (1966, June 9). Letters to the Editors. The Greenfield Daily Reporter. p. 3.
5 School houses unusual craft shop (1980, October 27). The Greenfield Daily Reporter. p. 2.
6 (See footnote 4).
7 Skvarenina, J. (1989, May 8). Residents share thoughts on one-room school days. The Greenfield Daily Reporter. p. 6.
8 School is Closed. (1916, April 6). The Greenfield Daily Reporter. p. 4.
9 Hamilton Buys College Hill (1929, July 22). The Greenfield Daily Reporter. p. 1.
10 (See footnote 5).
11 Google (2017, August 25). [Google Earth Pro historical satellite image of College Hill School site]. Retrieved November 20, 2022, from Google Earth Pro.
12 (See footnote 1).

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