Niles Twp. District 9


Photo taken April 17, 2021. From the author’s collection.

In 1863, John T. Ray granted a portion of his land on the present-day East County Road 900-North about a fifth of a mile west of Black Cemetery Road to the Trustee of Niles Township for the purpose of constructing a schoolhouse. (Delaware, 1863). It was one of many built after a new state constitution providing for a system of free, common schools took effect in 1851 (Natali, 2007) and was likely a frame building. In 1881, Helm referred to the District 9 structure as the Smith Schoolhouse, which was taught by Eva Thomas. The land the schoolhouse sat on was just south of 380 acres owned by Benjamin F. Smith, which is probably how it got its name (Kingman, 1874).

In 1887, Sophia L. Lowe and George R. Lowe granted a plot of their land to the Niles School Township for $60 in order to construct a replacement District 9 schoolhouse (Delaware, 1887). It was built shortly after. 

The Smith/Lowe schoolhouse closed with the remainder of Niles Township’s one-room schools after the 1916-17 school year (Delaware, 1917). Its students were added to Albany and, for a time, the empty building was used as a bus barn for Albany’s city schools, which were independent of Delaware Township’s (Marks, 2006).

After its closure, the schoolhouse was used to store hogs and farm implements (Profile, 2006). Today, the assessor’s database labels the schoolhouse as a “Utility Shed (Old Brick School House)”. It appears to be abandoned (Delaware, 2021). 


Delaware County, Indiana. (1863 December 22). Deed Book 26. p. 127.

Natali, B. L. (2007). The Impact of Caleb Mills on the Hoosier Education Debate: An Edition of Two Unpublished Addresses (thesis). University Graduate School, Indianapolis.

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.

Kingman Brothers. (1874). Map of Delaware County, Indiana. Chicago, IL.

Delaware County, Indiana. (1887 June 25). Deed Book 58. p. 466.

Marks, M. (2006, March 31). Only one 19th-century Niles Township school is standing. The Muncie Star Press. p. 3C.

Profile. (2006. October 20). The Muncie Star Press. p. 4A.

Delaware County Office of Information & GIS Services. (2021). Parcel ID: 0428300003000. Delaware County, Indiana Assessor. map, Muncie, IN.