Perry Twp. District 9
Albro G. Gates granted a portion of his land to Perry Township in order to build a school on October 28, 1875 (Delaware, 1875). Previously the area’s residents were not served by a schoolhouse; the closet were two miles away by road at where the Cardinal Greenway trailhead on South County Road 534-East is located today, and at, the community of Philadelphia near the intersection of East County Road 500-S. and South 700-W (Kingman, 1874). Though a District 9 school already stood on the Thomas Lindsey farm in the southeastern corner of the township, by 1881 the districts had been renumbered and the school that sat on Gates’ land was known by that name. Due to its location, the school was also called Center, and N.B. Driscoll taught its students that year (Helm, 1881).
In 1899, a high school was established at the store building in New Burlington, then Perry Township’s largest community. Unfortunately, the arrangement was not satisfactory for the rest of the township’s residents, so a frame addition with an open belfry was made to the Center schoolhouse to allow for the instruction of grades 9-11 (Ball State, 2019). When the students from districts 2, 6, 7, and 8 petitioned the trustee to allow for their consolidation into District 9 in 1902, the high school room was partitioned in half creating, uniquely, a three-room schoolhouse (Kemper, 1911).
The schoolhouse was utilized until the construction of a purpose-built Center Township consolidated school across the road in 1906. A four-room school with four teachers and an auditorium, by 1907, the new Center school had taken in students from every schoolhouse in the township but District 5 at Mt. Pleasant (Delaware, 1907). Meanwhile, the frame addition to the original schoolhouse across the road was deconstructed as the building was remodeled into a home for the janitor (Ball State).
Today, Perry Township’s original District 9: Center school still stands as a house. Its successor was demolished in 1967 (Spath, 2006) after the Liberty and Perry Township school systems consolidated.
Delaware County, Indiana. (1876, October 28). Deed Book 39. p. 611.
Kingman Brothers. (1874). Map of Delaware County, Indiana. Chicago, IL.
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.
Ball State University Libraries. (2019). Center School students and faculty. Ball State Digital Media Repository. Retrieved September 21, 2021, from https://dmr.bsu.edu/digital/collection/CtrSchl/id/3238/rec/65.
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.
Delaware County Public Schools. (1907). School directory, Delaware County public schools, Delaware County, Indiana 1907-1908. Muncie, IN.
Spath, C. (2006, February 4). Past times. The Muncie Star Press. p. 3C.