Harrison Twp. District 4
In 1876, William Carpenter granted the trustees of Harrison Township a portion of his land on which to erect a schoolhouse (Delaware, 1876). Five years later, J.C. Muncey was the teacher of that school, known as the District 4: Beech Grove schoolhouse (Helm, 1881). In 1894, a frame United Brethren church was constructed to the school’s southwest, opposite a jog in what’s now West County Road 700-N (Delaware, 1900).
In comparison to its peers, the Beech Grove school was a modern structure for its time, featuring an entrance hall, one large and two smaller cloak rooms, and windows that illuminated the classroom from the left and rear of the students there (Black, 1916). At one point, the schoolhouse featured an open belfry (Farrell, 1955). Harrison Township was so proud of the school that they chose a picture of it -not the soaring, two-story structure at Bethel- to include in the 1907-08 and 1908-09 county public school directories as representative of its educational facilities (Delaware, 1907).
Like the rest of Harrison Township’s remaining schoolhouses, the District 4 school closed at the end of the 1923-24 year in order for its students to attend class at the new Harrison Township consolidated school near the center of the township (Delaware, 1923). In 1927, the Harrison Township trustee sold the building to the Beech Grove Methodist Church, which had been conducting its services at the old building across the road. While the congregation initially flourished in its new home -even conducting Sunday school in the large cloakroom (McBride, 2007)- eventually it began to dwindle. In 1963, the construction of I-69 reduced the size of the church’s lot to three-fifths of an acre, and the land and building were deeded to the Epworth Methodist Church two-and-a-half miles southwest in Madison County, with which the congregation merged (Winters, 1975).
Former congregants Howard and Genevieve Morgan purchased the structure after its closure before selling it in 1975 to developer Paul Keller, who collaborated with Ball State residential interiors class to draw blueprints. (Winters). Unfortunately, nothing came from that collaboration and the building fell into disrepair.
Today, the District 4 school is abandoned. It’s easiest seen during winter or fall from I-69 or from the 700-W overpass.
Delaware County, Indiana. (1876 August 19). Deed Book 41. p. 410.
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.
Delaware County Map, 1900 (2018, October 1). Map Collection, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library.
Black, E. (1917, June 8). Sketch and Views of Delaware County Schools. The Muncie Press. p. 6.
Delaware County Public Schools. (1907). School directory, Delaware County public schools, Delaware County, Indiana 1907-1908. Muncie, IN.
Farrell, J. (1955, June 25). Delaware County, in 1905, Supported 98 Public Schools. The Muncie Evening Press. p. 1-C.
Delaware County Public Schools. (1923). School directory, Delaware County public schools, Delaware County, Indiana 1923-1924. Muncie, IN.
McBride, M. (2007, May 30). I-69 doomed rural church. The Muncie Star Press. p. 6B.
Winters, R. (1975, April 27). Old Church and School Waits for a Homeowner. The Muncie Star. p. 1