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

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pictures from the North Newton Township School--the basement

Months ago I posted pictures of the decaying North Newton Township School and promised more. I have had the pictures ready to go for months, but just have not gotten around to writing the text.

One of the things I found most interesting was that the old water and heating systems were still there. The tank below was part of the water supply. 
And the machine below seems to be the water pump.
Even though I have never lived in the country, I do have some experience with what you have to do when you do not have city water. Fifty years ago I lived in Little Falls, Minnesota, and though we were well within the town boundaries, for some reason we had our own well. There was a pump and a small tank that kept the water pressurized. What I saw in the school looks like a bigger version of the water well that we had when I was a kid.

The building itself is probably beyond repair. Notice the severe buckling of this wall.
The old coal-fired boiler was also still there.
Below is a close-up of the label you can see in the picture above.
After sitting idle for about sixty years, the old boiler has plenty of rust. Also notice the old push-button wall switch. Do you remember them? There may still be a few at Saint Joes--there was one a year ago on the third floor of the science building.
My guess is that this room was for coal storage. The counterpart of this room at the old South Newton Township School is one of the few rooms that is still a room. Notice how the concrete floor has been cracked. I was told that this was the result of the freeze-thaw cycles of the seasons.
I never lived with a coal furnace--in every house I have lived in, they had been replaced by oil or natural gas. When I moved into my present house, the furnace was an old coal burner that had been converted first to oil and then to natural gas. After a few years, it developed some leakage, and we had the monster replaced. It had some similarities to this one, but our system is hot water and this one looks like it was steam.
You can see the name of the boiler company on the door. The picture below shows it better, the Kewanee Boiler company. It was in Kewanee, Illinois, and a search on the internet revealed its history. Started in 1868, it shut down in 2002. The assets of the company are now owned by a Pennsylvania company which services the old boilers. I wonder if they could get this one back to working order.
I did not take some of these pictures--they are beyond the capabilities of my camera. My son took them with a much better camera. You probably cannot tell, but the room that the boiler is in is completely dark.
I have more pictures, and one of these days I may do a final post on this old building.

2 comments:

Michael J Oakes said...

This is like the Titanic exhibit.

Anonymous said...

Attended this school for twelve years. It's so sad to see many of our country schools just being a school for the birds,, mice and other county animals. (: Thanks for the excellent blog. There isa county school book at the library that tells about all the country schools Thanks again for taking the time to do this interesting blog.