Center Twp. District 12

Orphans’ Home

Photo taken April 29, 2021. From the author’s collection.

The site of the Delaware County Orphans’ Home was sold to the county for $3,300 on October 19, 1882 by George W. Franklin (Taylor, 1988a).

In 1882, the Delaware County Commissioners spent $1,450 to erect buildings and make repairs to the Delaware County Children’s Home at the site (Board, 1882). It’s unclear whether or not a schoolhouse accompanied the original four-story children’s home at that time, but there is some corroboration that the Orphan’s Home schoolhouse was established sometime after 1885 based on a report of the Visiting Committee that made reference to the fact that, while the county’s wards were entitled to a public education, they had not yet received the benefit of one (Commissioners, 1883).

In 1890, a second orphans’ home was constructed that still stands today (Delaware, 2021). A commissioner’s report from the following year indicated that the schoolhouse near the home had twenty-two children as pupils (Board), and later reports indicate that the building was running out of space. It’s likely that some classes were held at the 1890 orphans’ home prior to 1898, when a new schoolhouse was built at a cost of $1,425 (50, 1948).

In 1901, commissioners filed a claim for fuel to the orphans’ home as well as the adjacent schoolhouse (Taylor). A record from June of that year is the last that mentions any pay for the schoolteacher (Commissioners, 1901) but a newspaper article indicates that, in 1903, twenty-seven students attended class at the schoolhouse (Center, 1903). Louise Hunt was the teacher then, and the school was closed for two weeks due to an outbreak of diphtheria that February (Diptheria, 1903).

The schoolhouse closed after that year and in 1904, Henry Hamilton moved it from its original site near today’s Minnetrista Orchard Shop to 114 E. Highland Street to serve as his residence, constituting a $125 improvement to the lot according to the county assessor (Taylor, 1988b). The old schoolhouse, altered over the years, still stands there today.

It’s not clear where pupils attended school from 1904 through 1906, when a new orphans’ home on Yorktown Pike -today the site of the Youth Opportunity Center- was constructed. After they’re moved to the new facility, however, students began attending school at the first, frame District 8 Forest Park schoolhouse (Real, 1913).

Frank Ball bought the second Orphan’s Home in 1907 and the house has since been owned by several successive owners. The current owner is Lanny Carmichael, who purchased the home in 1987. In 1993, the 1906 children’s home west of Muncie was demolished (Kirby, 1993).

References

Taylor, H.B. (1988). Delaware County Children’s Home Schoolhouse 1883-1901. Prepared for Lanny D. Carmichael.

Board of commissioners miscellaneous papers (1882). Entry 4 CH-CI. Ball State University Library and Archives. Muncie, IN. 

Delaware County Office of Information & GIS Services. (2021). Parcel ID: 1110101003000. Delaware County, Indiana Assessor. map, Muncie, IN.

50 and 25 Years Ago. (1948, August 11). The Muncie Evening Press. p. 4.

Commissioners’ Record (1883, January-1885, December). Delaware County Building. “Orphans Home School Matter”

Commissioners’ Record (1901, August-1904, June). Vol. 25-26. Book 10. Delaware County Building.

Center Township school census outside Muncie. (1903, May 15). The Muncie Morning Star. p. 2.

Diptheria Closes School. (1903, February 19). The Muncie Morning Star. p. 8.

Taylor, H.B. (1988). Delaware County Children’s Home Schoolhouse 1883-1901. Prepared for Ball State Library and Cultural Center.

Real Debate Is Planned. (1913, August 27). The Muncie Morning Star. p. 12.

Kirby, K. (1993, December 18). YOC residents enjoy holidays in ‘more homelike facility’. The Muncie Evening Press. p. 9.