Mt. Pleasant Twp. District 8

Yorktown

Photo taken April 10, 2021. From the author’s collection.

John B. Brown taught the first school in Yorktown, which was a hewed-log structure built in 1842 (Helm, 1881) that lasted until 1858. A two-room frame building was erected that year on land set aside for the purpose of instruction by town founder Oliver H. Smith. In 1880, a three-room, brick schoolhouse two stories tall was built to replace it. The 1880 Yorktown school featured a hipped roof that culminated in a two-tiered wooden cupola.

The three-room school was replaced in 1898 by a brick, four-room schoolhouse that featured a sixty-five foot tall belfry (Sanborn, 1902) and was built a block away at the southwest corner of West High and South Broadway streets. Though a 1902 Sanborn map shows the 1880 school as having been abandoned, by 1911 it had found a second life as a duplex, albeit with its second floor, original roofline, and cupola removed (Sanborn, 1911).

In 1922, the “new” school -then twenty-four years old- was enlarged substantially by adding a 40×70 foot gymnasium, an assembly room, five classrooms, and offices (Bids, 1922) during a project that also covered its exterior brick with stucco and eliminated the schoolhouse’s tower and hipped roof. 

By the early 1950s, the 1898 school was overcrowded and in a dilapidated state. In 1952, the township purchased 24.5 acres on the east edge of Yorktown at the site of an abandoned Strawboard factory (‘Strawboard Site’, 1952). However, construction of a new school proved politically contentious. In 1954, Township Trustee Ray Miller -emboldened by reports of plaster and glass falling from the ceiling- issued a statement calling the structure “a fire hazard…in danger of collapse (Yorktown, 1954).” Three days later, a Circuit Court order shut the school down for ten days. During the school’s closure, State Fire Marshall A.H. Meister examined the building, also calling it a “fire trap…like many others in Indiana” though he declined to make a judgment on the building’s overall condition (Judge’s, 1954). 

Construction finally began on a consolidated Mt. Pleasant Township School in 1954. Designed by Muncie architects Hamilton and Graham, the building was completed in 1956. The 1898 school was ordered to be demolished in March, 1956. It was after no proposals to purchase the building or land were submitted (No Offers, 1956). 

Today, students in Mt. Pleasant Township start at Pleasant View Elementary, which serves grades K-2 and was built in 1967. Yorktown Elementary School is next, followed by Yorktown Middle School (housed in the 1956. high school). The pupils of Mt. Pleasant Township graduate from the 1968 Yorktown High School. Each modern school has been substantially altered and expanded since their construction, but after more than a century, the 1880 schoolhouse remains in similar condition to its 1911 status as a multi-family dwelling (Delaware, 2021).

References

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.

Sanborn Map Company. (1902). Yorktown. Insurance Maps of Muncie Indiana. map, New York, NY; Sanborn Map Company.

Sanborn Map Company. (1911). Yorktown. Insurance Maps of Muncie Indiana. map, New York, NY; Sanborn Map Company.

Bids for Yorktown’s New High School Will Be Received April 1. (1922, March 20). The Muncie Evening Press, p. 1.

‘Strawboard Site’ Purchased for New Yorktown School. (1952, March 2). The Muncie Star, p. 1.

Yorktown Mother Takes Children From ‘Fire Trap’. (1954, February 3). The Muncie Evening Press, p. 1.

Judge’s Decision on Yorktown School Awaits State Reports. (1954, February 12). The Muncie Star. pp. 1.

Delaware County Office of Information & GIS Services. (2021). Parcel ID: 1005300002000. Delaware County, Indiana Assessor. map, Muncie, IN. 

Delaware County Public Schools. (1923). School directory, Delaware County public schools, Delaware County, Indiana 1923-1924. Muncie, IN. 

Winters, R. (1982, September 5). A Little Brick Schoolhouse Becomes a Home. The Muncie Star, p. B1. 

Delaware County Office of Information & GIS Services. (2021). Parcel ID: 1022183003000. Delaware County, Indiana Assessor. map, Muncie, IN.