Madison County- Anderson Township

As of 2021, I count four remaining schoolhouses in Anderson Township.

District 2: Toll Gate
District 5: Baker Hill
District 8: Brown/Smoky Row
District 11: Eggman

Historic Overview

The early history of Anderson Township’s educational structure outside of Anderson itself is muddled since most sources focus on the development of schools within the city’s expanding limits. As with other townships, Anderson’s earliest schoolhouses were primitive constructs often measuring no larger than twenty by twenty feet. Walls of notched logs slathered with mud or clay rose above simple, puncheon floors to an eight foot, peaked roof covered in shake shingles. A wide fireplace that terminated in a chimney made of mud held together by a simple framework of sticks was frequently located across the wall opposite the school’s entryway, while narrow “windows” made by cutting out a length of log five or six feet up each flanking wall provided natural illumination to the interior of the structure (Kemper, 1908).

Early schools were so simple largely due to a lack of money. Prior to 1840, each schoolhouse was funded predominantly by subscription, a sort of tuition paid to the school’s proprietor that also covered a salary for the teacher. That year, proceeds from real estate transactions began to partially fund the subscription, but once the money dried up for the year each schoolhouse reverted back to the subscription model (Helm, 1881).

The era of subscription schoolhouses ended in 1851, when the state of Indiana ratified a new constitution that provided for the basics of a township-based, common educational system (Natali, 2007). The School Law of 1852 expanded upon the new constitution, authorizing a schoolhouse fund and an official statewide Superintendent of Public Instruction, as well as a “general and uniform system of common schools, wherein tuition shall be with out charge, and equally open to all (Indiana, 1851).” Once funds were disbursed, township officials typically began converting their extant log or frame subscription schools into free ones, simultaneously improving courses of study, hiring teachers that were more qualified, and erecting new buildings when money was available.

By 1874, Anderson Township was home to fourteen schoolhouses, (Harden, 1874), five of which were brick. Some of these early schoolhouses eventually developed unique names: District 2, on Alexandria Pike, was called Toll Gate for obvious reasons, while District 5 was called Baker Hill because of its location atop a large slope (Davis, 1971) before it was replaced with a new structure called Bailey Chapel after the church that took over the closed schoolhouse (Jackson, 2021). District 8 was most often called Smoky Row after a neighbor walked to town on a chilly morning and noticed the smoke and soot emanating from the adjacent houses (Smoking, 1962). The District 9 school was called Chestnut Grove due to its location amongst that type of trees, and Districts 11 and 13 were called Eggman and Langley, respectively, after local families. District 1: Hughel was named after a local family, but not the one that donated its land: At one point in the early 1900s, no fewer than eight members of the Hughel family attended school there (Former, 1961).

By 1901, a fifteenth district on the site of today’s IHOP restaurant on Scatterfield Boulevard had been added to the township’s roster (Atlas, 1901). These one-room schoolhouses existed, for the most part, until the 1920s and 1930s when the township began to build consolidated schools, most often six-room, brick affairs. In 1922, a consolidated school called Roosevelt was built on the site of District 13, featuring those six classrooms along with six basement rooms, a restroom, library, and gymnasium (First, 1976).

A new Toll Gate school was built in 1927 before it was hastily renamed Lindbergh after the famous aviator, a designation that Toll Gate Road also received (Larson, 1977) until it was renamed again during the 1940s due to Charles Lindbergh’s anti-war sentiment by removing the final “h” of the aviators name (Bailey, 2011). 1931 brought the construction of a school for the Edgewood community east of Anderson (Former, 1968), and in 1936 a substantial school building called Franklin opened at 38th Street and South County Road 100-East, which later became known as Scatterfield Road, or the Anderson bypass (School, 1936). Two years later, a frame structure originally intended to be temporary opened in the Forest Hills neighborhood (Wright, 2010). All of the old one- and two-room schools consolidated into buildings like these.

The Roosevelt school was added onto in 1952, while the Edgewood School was expanded with three classrooms and a kitchen in 1953 (School, 1953). The following year, a four-room addition to the Lindbergh School was completed (Building, 1954). Two years later, though, Anderson Township was in need of a high school. It hadn’t operated one -choosing instead to send its students to Anderson High School by means of tuition- but trustees responded by erecting a huge, $1.5 million High School called Madison Heights. 

Located south of Anderson on Madison Avenue, the new school featured fifty-five classrooms and instructional units across 134,500 square feet, a size that could accommodate 1,500 students (Dedication, 1956). That same year, Anderson Township erected a new 25th Street Road School at a cost of $275,000 (School, 1956). 

This arrangement didn’t last for long. In 1963, Anderson’s city schools annexed the remaining schools of Anderson Township. The following year, the Anderson Community School Corporation was created in order to include all of Anderson, Union, and Richland Townships, along with a portion of Lafayette Township.

In 1965, a new Forest Hills school was completed just west of the building that was grandfathered into the Anderson Community School Corporation. The original building was demolished. 

Six years later, schools at Chesterfield, College Corner, Valley Grove, and Highland officially joined the Anderson Community School district (First). In 1974, a new school at Edgewood was built and the old structure was renamed Park Manor, which was remodeled to serve special education classes and special services for the district (Anderson, 1974).

The Edgewood/Park Manor School closed in 1982, as did Lindbergh and Roosevelt. Today, the Lindbergh School, along with the District 2: Toll Gate, District 8: Smoky Row, and District 11: Eggman schools are all that remain of Anderson Township’s schoolhouses. The 1965 Forest Hills School still stands as the administrative center of Anderson Community Schools, and Madison Heights, contentiously, was converted into Anderson High School after the original building on the corner of Lincoln and West 14th Street burned in 1999 (Chambers & Ferris, 1999). The 25th Street Road school, by then known as 25th Street Elementary, closed in 2003 (Hirsch, 2015). 


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.

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.

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.

Indiana Constitution. (1851), art. 8, sec. 1.

Harden, S. (1874). History of Madison County, Indiana, from 1820 to 1874. book. Markleville, IN.

Davis, R. (1971, October 28). ‘Stink factory’ not far from Baker Hill School. The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 4.

Jackson, S. T. (2021, December 30). Madison County schoolhouses. email.

Smoking Home Chimneys Gave ‘Smoky Row’ Name (1962, November 5). The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 4.

Former Student Recalls Hughel (Family) School (1961, May 6). The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 4.

Atlas and Directory of Madison County, Indiana (1901). The American Atlas Company. Cleveland. map. 

First City School Built In 1849. (1976, July 4). The Anderson Herald. p. 61.

Larson, K. (1977, May 15). Sixth Graders Honor Lindbergh. The Anderson Herald. p. 12.

Bailey, J. (2011, January 29). Lindberg Road station may have been first quick-stop. The Herald Bulletin. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from

Former Andersonian Will Sing At Retirees’ Outing (1968, July 3). The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 4.

School Opening Will Be Delayed (1936, August 28). The Alexandria Times-Tribune. p. 6.

Wright, C. (2010, May 15). Small neighborhood ACS school says farewell. The Herald Bulletin. Retrieved October 15, 2021, from

School Annex for Edgewood Ready In Fall (1953, July 7). The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 1.

Building Here Remains Active (1954, September 16). The Anderson Herald. p. 1.

Dedication Program For New Madison Heights School Today (1956, October 28). The Anderson Herald. p. 1.

School Facilities Expanded in Anderson, Vicinity (1956, September 16). The Anderson Herald. p. 29.

Anderson schools to open Aug. 26 (1974, August 13). The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 12.

Chambers, R. & Ferris, L. (1999, June 30). Area firefighters unite to battle blaze at historic school building. The Alexandria Times-Tribune. p. 1.

Hirsch, S. (2015, September 6). Former ACS school buildings take on new identities. The Herald Bulletin. Retrieved October 14, 2021 from