Washington Township’s Shady Grove schoolhouse in Delaware County

Washington Township’s District 8 schoolhouse has been known by a variety of names over the course of its existence. As a school, the building was known as Thompson and Shady Grove. Later, as a tourist camp and early convenience store, it was called Grey Eagle.

The old Shady Grove schoolhouse, as it appeared on April 14, 2021.

In 1874, Washington Township’s District 8 schoolhouse sat on the east side of Wheeling Pike, just south of the Hedgeland Ditch on the 160-acre Thompson Estate1. Four years later, Simon Knight deeded a portion of his land at the intersection of West County Road 1000-North and Wheeling Pike so the Mississinewa Valley Baptist Church could erect a new house of worship2.

A month later, Knight granted another plot across Wheeling to the trustees of Washington Township to build a school3. Shortly after, officials built a 50 x 26 foot structure that was larger than a typical one-room institution4. Despite its new location, the new schoolhouse was still called Thompson for several years5, but a 1903-04 commencement pamphlet listed the District 8 schoolhouse as the Shady Grove School6.

The schoolhouse, seen on December 31, 2021.

Along with the District 9 and District 11 buildings, the Shady Grove schoolhouse closed after the 1905-06 term. Students from all three were sent to Gaston7.

By 1930, the former schoolhouse had been converted to the Grey Eagle Tourist Camp8. By 1941, the property was called the Grey Eagle Filling Station9. Owners built a block building immediately south of the old schoolhouse in 1950 to act as a mechanic’s garage for the service station10. Grey Eagle was a popular stop for travelers, as Wheeling Pike served as US-21 and, later, US-35 after World War II11. The place was especially well-regarded by vacationers headed to Elm Lake about a mile northwest.

It appears as though the Grey Eagle grocery closed around 197012. Just how it got its name as a business is a mystery, although everyone seems to have their own theory. I’ve heard explanations ranging from the plausible to the bizarre.

Today, the former Thompson/Shady Grove schoolhouse appears to be abandoned.

Sources Cited
1 Kingman Brothers. (1874). Map of Delaware County, Indiana. Chicago, IL.
2 Delaware County, Indiana. (1878 September 20). Deed Book 56. p. 120.
3 Delaware County, Indiana. (1878 October 21). Deed Book 44. p. 234.
4 Delaware County Office of Information & GIS Services. (2021). Parcel ID: 0225100001000. Delaware County, Indiana Assessor. map, Muncie, IN.
5 Helm, T. B. (1881). Mount Pleasant Township. In History of Delaware County, Indiana: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers (pp. 268–269). book, Kingman Brothers.
6 Hayden, G. (1904). Shady Grove School. Washington Township, IN; William Carmin, Trustee. 
7 Kemper, G. W. H. (1908). Education in Delaware County. In A Twentieth Century History of Delaware County, Indiana, Volume 1 (Vol. 1, p. 252). book, Lewis Publishing Company.
8 For Rent Immediate Possession. (1930, February 13). The Muncie Star. p. 12.
9 Public Auction. (1941, December 6). The Muncie Star. p. 11.
10 Delaware County Office of Information & GIS Services. (2021). Parcel ID: 0113400008000. Delaware County, Indiana Assessor. map, Muncie, IN.
11 Greene, D. (1975, September 12). Seen and Heard in Our Neighborhood. The Muncie Star. p. 4.
12 Trustee’s Sale. (1969, March 24). The Muncie Star. p. 14.

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