Anderson Township District 8:

Brown/Smoky Row

Photo taken December 29, 2021. From the author’s collection.

Anderson Township’s District 8 Schoolhouse -also known as the Brown or Smoky Row school- was a two-room schoolhouse with two grades in each room (Mrs. Farmer, 1962). It was named Brown either due to its location on what later became Brown Street in Anderson or from the family that gave the thoroughfare its name. The Smoky Row moniker came from an early resident walking to town one chilly morning. Noting the smoking chimneys warming the area’s houses, he described the scene as a “smoky row”. The name stuck (Smoking, 1962).

In those days, there was no 29th Street and the area was a swamp (Mrs. Farmer). Nevertheless, the Smoky Row/Brown schoolhouse seems to have been annexed by the city of Anderson sometime prior to 1901, as it isn’t listed on a map from that year (Atlas, 1901). It was expanded throughout the years, but appears to have closed around 1904, when its students were likely sent to Anderson’s original Washington Elementary School, which was built in 1896 (Washington, 2008). After its closure, the old District 8 school was used as a Sunday school for several years. In 1907, George Estabrook purchased the school (Supt., 1962) to use as a home. 

Estabrook added pillars to the north side of the school and completed other renovations: instead of lowering it’s high ceilings, Estabrook raised the floor, creating a basement (Supt.). Estabrook named the old schoolhouse ‘Derriton’, apparently after his old home estate in native England. A large sign proclaiming his name for the building was visible for many years (‘Derriton’, 1968). 

Today, the building is a home. 


Mrs. Farmer Recalls Year At Smoky Row (1962, November 19). The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 4.

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

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

Washington School, Anderson, Indiana (2008). The Anderson Public Library Indiana Room. Indiana Memory. Retrieved October 15, 2021 from 

Supt. Carr Drove Wagon For Pupils During Flood (November 12, 1962). The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 4.

‘Derriton’ Had Very Special Meaning For Mr. Estabrook (1968, December 16). The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 4.