Washington Twp. District 10
In 1858 the town we now know as Gaston -but called Snagtown or New Corner then (Greene, 1947)- had thirty-five residents, a doctor, a sawmill, two churches, one school, and a handful of mechanics (Kemper, 1908). In 1881, Helm counted a dry goods and grocery store, two doctors, a drug store, two physicians, two blacksmiths, a shoemaker, a mill, and a tile factory among the commercial operations of the burgeoning community (Helm, 1881). According to Helm, the New Corner schoolhouse, taught by L.E. Shirey, was listed as District 10.
The earliest mention of a schoolhouse near Gaston is oblique. It’s also one of Helm’s reports; he mentioned the construction of a “neat brick building” erected in 1875 as the home of the New Corner Odd Fellows’ Lodge Number 425. That building later became the District 10 schoolhouse (White, 1949).
An image in Ball State University’s Muncie and Delaware County Historic Photographs collection that dates to the 1950s purports to depict another brick schoolhouse as the District 10 school from a location referenced from an 1887 plat map (University, 2017). For what it’s worth, the building pictured bears no resemblance to the 1875 schoolhouse standing at the northwest corner of East Elm and North Washington Streets as indicated on the actual map (Griffing, 1887).
The 1875 schoolhouse was used until 1899, when a new, two-story Gaston school with a basement and open belfry was built on the northwest corner of Walnut and Madison streets. As Gaston became a natural hub for Washington Township, schools began to consolidate into it and the 1899 building -dramatically expanded and altered in 1924 (Teachers, 1924) became the center of the district.
In 1935, the sixty-year-old former schoolhouse was remodeled by Dr. Fred Langsdon and his wife, an effort that won the Better Homes and Gardens magazine’s national remodeling contest prize (Once, 1937). The home also served as Dr. Langsdon’s office until his death in 1965. Today, after years seeing as an Odd Fellows’ Lodge, a schoolhouse, and a doctor’s office, the 146-year-old landmark is a private dwelling.
Greene, D. (1947, June 17). Seen and Heard in Our Neighborhood. The Muncie Star. p.
Washington Township District 10: New Corner/Gaston
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.
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.
White, C. (1949, July 2). Prosperous and Friendly, Gaston Beats Big City, Residents Say. The Muncie Evening Press. p. 16.
University Libraries. (2017). Washington Township, Delaware County, Indiana School #10. Ball State University Digital Media Repository . Retrieved September 12, 2021, from https://dmr.bsu.edu/digital/collection/MunHisPhoto/id/2130/rec/50.
Griffing, B. N. (1887). Mt. Pleasant Township. An atlas of Delaware County, Indiana . map, Philadelphia, PA; Griffing, Gordon, & Company.
Teachers will view new Gaston school. (1924, November 6. The Muncie Morning Star. p. 5.
Once it was a brick schoolhouse, but now it’s impressive home of Gaston doctor. (1937, March 6). The Muncie Evening Press. p. 14.