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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The old Jordan Township School

You may or may not recall a post a while back that began with a letter about township schools. In case you forgot, here is part of that letter:
 My biggest hobby is finding, exploring, and photographing abandoned buildings. Within the last month I've found 2 abandoned schools in Rensselaer, and I'm not talking about one room farm house schools, either. The first school I found is south of the city on state road 16, just west of the highway. It's a fairly large one story township school with "Jordan Township School" carved above the windows in stone. The left side is somewhat damaged, with an entire classroom (complete with chalkboards and hanging light fixtures) floor caved in with a large amount of junk in it. The right side appears to be a cafeteria or gymnasium. The land is scattered with new looking farm equipment, with what appears to be a makeshift large garage door on the side wall of the cafeteria/gym that's probably used for storing farm equipment. The building is locked, at least as much as it can be. The easiest ways in are far too damaged to even try.
Today we are going to look at the pictures that came with that letter.
The Jasper County Interim Report says this about the Jordan Township School:
Jordan Township School was built around 1938 and was possibly a WPA project like the similar Gillam Township School. It fell prey to school consolidation in 1965 and is now used for agricultural storage.
The school an example of the Craftsman style. The exposed decorative brackets under eaves are one of the characteristics of that style. The windows, in this case 3 over 1 double-hung windows, also are indicators of Craftsman styling. The Gillam Township School mentioned above is a bit north of SR 14 and has been converted into a private residence, so is in good shape. I have never seen it, though.
I think he shot the remaining pictures through the windows. The ceiling suggests a leaking roof.
I wonder if those are old blackboards on the walls.
I remember those old light fixtures in buildings from my youth. I have not seen any lately, though.

I do not think the building is on the list of endangered buildings from the Historical Preservation group, but it is not looking very good. It is too bad that someone did not find a better use for this building, but it seems that many of the township schools never found second uses better than being used as storage sheds.
The Jordan Township school is not too far from what used to be the little settlement of Egypt and Egypt Road. Egypt Road was cut by I-65, so is now only a partial road, but it followed a very old road that was once a stage coach route through the county.

Update: A recent e-mail from the person who sent me the pictures suggests that this building may be soon be demolished. I suppose that would be unfortunate, but eventually all the old schools that have been unused for decades will be demolished or will simply fall apart, as the old school at Hanging Grove seems to be doing.

Update: The building was demolished in May, 2016. See here.


Anonymous said...

This is very, very sad to see.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

You can still see wagon ruts in part of the old stagecoach road. The old Egypt school house property was purchased privately back in the depression, I believe. The school building itself was sold and moved. The shed was still standing until the 80's.
The old school pump is still in its original location and can be seen from the road. Another 'desert survivor' has built a house on the property behind the school pump.