Green Acres in Blackford County

I’m drawn to places where people once congregated. For me, abandoned areas that once bustled with people evoke a sense of solitude and reflection. They also serve as historic artifacts that compel me to learn more about the past! That interest is what forms the majority of my writing, and it’s what drew me to Green Acres in southwestern Blackford County. At first glance, only a small, stone, marker differentiates it from hundreds of other farms in the area.

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The Blackford County Courthouse in Indiana (1894-)

Although it’s been long since bypassed by the interstate, Indiana State Road 3 still provides a scenic route through the countryside of northeastern Indiana that can be traveled pretty fast. I became acquainted with the road from trips to visit family during my childhood, but it took constant weekend drives back home to Muncie from my Fort Wayne apartment to become really close with it. Without question, the highway’s most prominent landmark is the Blackford County Courthouse in Hartford City. I eventually wondered how such an impressive courthouse wound up in a county seat that seemed so small.

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Is this Blackford County’s old Watson schoolhouse?

Olivia Bugh taught Washington Township’s District 9: Watson school when it became the area’s last operating one-room schoolhouse. The six-room Washington School opened in In 19231, leaving the rest of the old, rural structures in the dust. A century later, I think the old Watsons schoolhouse still stands! Unfortunately, I’m not sure. I need your help.

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Licking Township’s Carney schoolhouse in Blackford County

John Carney deeded the land for Licking Township’s District 4 school sometime prior to 1865. The first school, a frame building, sat half a mile south of the extant schoolhouse on the western side of Gadbury Road and was later moved to the southeast corner of Gadbury and West County Road 100-South in order to be used as a rental house1. A brick building replaced the frame dwelling and was used until 1904, when the present school was built.

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How to identify an old schoolhouse while you’re sitting at home: Part 2

Over the past couple of days, we’ve talked about how I identify old schoolhouses both online and in the field. On Saturday, we chatted about some tips and tricks I’ve picked up that help me confirm a building’s status in cases when it’s not immediately apparent. Yesterday, we talked about how the use of free assets like historic plat maps, modern satellite imagery on Google, Beacon databases, and a good old-fashioned web search can help even more. Today, we’ll discuss how I used a mix of resources to identify Jackson Township’s District 4 schoolhouse in Blackford County- a building I was certain had been demolished.

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Licking Township’s Jennings schoolhouse in Blackford County

In 1905 the District 6: Jennings School was located on land carved out of Calvin Curtis’ twelve-acre plot1. As an insitution, though, this Licking Township schoolhouse dates to much earlier: In 1862, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Clark were married in the middle of what’s now South County Road 200-West in front of the original District 6 schoolhouse, immediately after a spelling bee was held2

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What’s left of Licking Township’s Corn Cob schoolhouse in Blackford County

Not much is left of Licking Township’s District 3 schoolhouse, commonly known as Corn Cob. The school was one of Blackford County’s earliest to be discontinued, in 1907, under a law that compelled township trustees to shut down schools whose attendance had fallen below twelve pupils, as well as to provide transportation for all students who lived two miles from the school they were compelled to attend1. Upon the school’s closure, its students were conveyed to the District 5 school, known as Pleasant Grove2

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Jackson Township’s Dildine schoolhouse in Blackford County

Blackford County’s Dildine schoolhouse that exists today was built in 1921 as a replacement for a previous building on the same site. For some reason, a 1905 plat map of Blackford County lists both the Dildine School -then located on the land of J.F. Wentz across from Joseph Dildine’s eighty acres- and what was known as the Markle schoolhouse two miles northeast as both serving District 31.

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What’s left of Licking Township’s Bailey schoolhouse in Blackford County

Licking Township’s District 1: Bailey schoolhouse burned during the 1938-39 school year in a fire that caused $8,000 in damages1. That’s $168,000 today! The school’s forty-seven students were distributed across the District 4: Carney and District 11: Guseman schoolhouses, two miles south and six-and-a-half miles southwest, respectively2

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