This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Plaques: Monnett School for Girls

One of the most interesting of the various plaques that you can find around Rensselaer is near the Monnett Grade School and the Rensselaer Central administration building.
The plaque is unusually verbose:
Grateful Acknowledgment to Miss Cordelia P. Monnett
Monnett School for Girls
In 1908 Miss Cordelia P. Monnett bequeathed to the deaconesses of the Trinity Methodist Church of Rensselaer, Indiana property to be used for a girls school, and for two years it was to be used as such.
In 1910 the board of trustees changed the school to a boarding school, with instruction through the 8th grade.
In 1913 and again in 1925 additional wings were added to the frame structure. In 1925 a brick dormitory was constructed, now being used for school administrative purposes.
In 1942 the school was separated from the church influence and became a nonsectarian school owned and operated by a board of trustees, and was accredited through the 8th grade.
In June 1954 the school closed its doors as the type of student was taken over by the state and welfare programs and the classification for which the school was created was thus terminated.
The trustees sold the property in July 1954 to the city and the city deeded it to the Rensselaer Public Schools in April 1955.
They then erected "The Monnett Public Grade School" with five class rooms and opened the building for use in September 1957.
The right side has the trustees in 1966 and the trustees who have served in the past, but I do not want to type in all those names. You will have to go read them yourself.
I searched the Internet trying to find more information, and did find mention of the school in an educational journal and a book.

From The Educator-journal (published in Terra Haute, Indiana Vol XV No. 1 September, 1914 p 423):
The Monnett school for girls at Rensselaer now has a total of thirty-two girls, which is four above their capacity limit. Miss Simpson is principal of the school and is anticipating better conditions when the proposed new building is erected.
From Indiana. A Guide to the Hoosier State By Federal Writers' Project, United States. - Works Progress Administration, afterwards Work Projects Administration. - Federal Writers' Project
(Published by US History Publishers, 1947 ISBN 160354013X, 9781603540131) p 324:
At ll m. is the Monnett School for Girls, an elementary school founded in 1903 and maintained by the Methodist Episcopal Church of Rensselaer. The school accommodates 40 pupils.
Both of these were part of Google's effort to digitize all known books.

From one of my local sources who remembers the Monnett School for Girls, the girls kept to themselves and did not mix with the local kids much.


Anonymous said...

My grandmother and her sister attended Monnett School for Girls around 1919.She often said it was the making of her. Her sister died while she was still a student there. Even with this tragic event in her childhood she often spoke fondly of her years spent in Rensselaer.

Anonymous said...

I have several group photos of girls taken 1948 and earlier (46-47) with autographed names on back. Would like to post photos and donate them to appropriate group of interest. Can someone advise? My email is

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting these photos of the Monnett School for Girls. My Aunt went here about 1942 and remembers the principal Miss Foltz. Miss Foltz was a very kind woman and cared for the girls. I will show my Aunt these photos. She will be very happy to see them. She has fond memories of residing and learning here. Again, Thank You so very much!