Union Twp. District 4
Union Township was divided into early school districts in 1837 (Helm, 1881), fifteen years before a new Indiana constitution established funding for a system of free, common schools (Natali, 2007). In 1882, William Cox granted a portion of his land at the corner of Center and Eaton-Wheeling Pike to the Union School Township for the construction of a school (Delaware, 1882). Union Township’s District 4 was a latecomer, since as of 1874 the closest schoolhouses were at the original District 8 on Joseph Kirkwood’s land at the southeast corner of West County Road 1000-N and District 3, and the Sniff school at the southwest corner of Center Pike and West County Road 1200-N (Kingman, 1874). Neither of those buildings stand today, but the districts were realigned around 1880. The teacher of the District 4 schoolhouse in 1881 was John R. Mansfield (Helm).
The extant Center schoolhouse seems to have been built in 1900 (Delaware, 2021). Around that time, the one- and two-room schools in Delaware County began to consolidate under a process initiated by County Superintendent of Schools Charles Van Matre. Though Union Township’s District 8, school had been shut down in 1899 (Kemper, 1908), it took residents of the area a few years to warm up to the concept. A redistricting makes the facts unclear, but it seems as though the Center School closed after the 1917-1918 school year when it consolidated into what was called the Union School in Eaton (Delaware, 1917). The last teacher was Mary B. Benadum of Eaton (Delaware, 1916).
Today, the Center School sits on the farm of Ben and Dena Alexander. The Alexanders rent the schoolhouse out as a home (Family, 2006). From an outside view, it appears as though the one-room building has been divided into two stories.
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.
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 The Impact of Caleb Mills on the Hoosier Education Debate: An Edition of Two Unpublished Addresses (thesis).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.
Delaware County, Indiana. (1882, October 23). Deed Book 52. p. 158.
Kingman Brothers. (1874). Map of Delaware County, Indiana. Chicago, IL.
Delaware County Office of Information & GIS Services. (2021). Parcel ID: 0321200001000. Delaware County, Indiana Assessor. map, Muncie, IN.
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. (1917). School directory, Delaware County public schools, Delaware County, Indiana 1917-1918. Muncie, IN.
Delaware County Public Schools. (1916). School directory, Delaware County public schools, Delaware County, Indiana 1916-1917. Muncie, IN.
Family finds new uses for old barns.(2006, July 20). The Muncie Star Press. p. 5C.