Union Township District 6:
According to Madison County Historian Stephen T. Jackson, the Valley Grove Elementary School on South County Road 300-East is the longest-running school under one name, and the only survivor of Union Township’s six common schools (Bibbs, 2020).
In 1880, an early predecessor to the District 6 school sat on Forkner family land on East County Road 100-South, four-fifths of a mile east of Valley Grove Road (Kingman, 1880). The extant one-room schoolhouse was built in the 1890s (Bibbs) and sits at the southeastern corner of the intersection.
In 1910, the Valley Grove school -along with the Clem, Keesling, and Chesterfield schools in Union Township and the Dunkard school in Adams Township- was closed temporarily due to a measles outbreak (Measles, 1910).
The one-room schoolhouse was closed for good in 1920, when a two-story, three-room (Schools, 1958) building was built to the south. The construction of the new building appears to have led to the closure of the District 4: Keesling and District 5: Clem schoolhouses to the south and southeast (Plat, n.d.). In 1932, Mary Givens purchased the old schoolhouse for $400 at auction (Old, 1932).
The current Valley Grove school still in operation was remodeled and expanded in 1958 during a project that added eight classrooms to its northeastern corner (Anderson, 1957). The school was expanded again in 1978 and 1987 (Bibb).
In 1960, Valley Grove had three vacant classrooms in the 1920 building while its Union Township counterpart, the Chesterfield School, was bursting at the seams (Group, 1960). To alleviate some of the congestion, students from the Madison County Children’s Home who attended classes at Chesterfield were reassigned to Valley Grove.
In 1971, Valley Grove and Chesterfield schools merged into the Anderson Community School Corporation. The 1920 portion of the school was demolished during the 1978 renovation that added two kindergarten classrooms (Staley, 1977). The original lintel of the school was incorporated into a new addition.
Today, the original Valley Grove schoolhouse -Union Township District 6- is a home. And the modern Valley Grove school continues to serve students of the east side of Madison County.
Bibbs, R. (2020, March 8). Valley Grove Elementary School celebrates 100 years of educating rural Anderson students. The Herald Bulletin. Retrieved September 30, 2021, from https://www.heraldbulletin.com
Kingman Brothers. (1880). History of Madison County, Indiana with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches. Chicago, IL.
Measles Close Schools (1910, February 8). The Alexandria Times-Tribune. p. 4.
Schools In Union Are Advanced (1958, July 17). The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 1.
Old School is Sold (1932, November 11). The Alexandria Times-Tribune. p. 1.
Plat Book of Madison County Indiana (n.d.) W. W. Hixson & Co. Rockford, IL. map. Map Collection, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library.
Anderson Firm Given Contract At Valley Grove (1957, October 31). The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 1.
Group Checks Union Schools (1960, March 15). The Anderson Herald. p. 1.
Staley, C. (1977, February 3). Elementary schools to be updated. The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 5.