Wayne Township District 8:


Photo taken April 15, 2022. From the author’s collection.

The town of Clarksville was laid out in 1849. The community’s earliest school was located about 3/4 of a mile west of the settlement, and operated under the subscription model until 1854. It seems to have been known as Swamp College (Events, 1935). The first school in Clarksville proper was built in 1867, and it first operated as a graded school under the direction of a board consisting of Dr. P.P. Whitesell, D.D. Taylor, and J.R. Leonard (Helm, 1880). Unfortunately, declining enrollment and a necessary reduction in teachers’ salaries led to its status as a typical, common schoolhouse (Haines, 1915)- at least until the present building was built in 1898 under the direction of Charles Zeis, the township trustee (Crow, 2010). 

Teachers of the District 8 schoolhouse housed younger pupils from grades 1-4 on the west side of the building while its older students -grades 5-8- studied on the building’s eastern wing. The areas were divided by a folding, wooden, partition (Crow). 

In 1929, students of the schoolhouse visited the Indiana State Reformatory in order to study broom-making and the prison’s home bakery before adjourning to the Pendleton Park nearby (East, 1929). 

Clarksville’s District 8 schoolhouse closed after the 1929-30 school year, along with the Tick Ridge and Willow Pond district schools (Hamilton, 1929), when Wayne Township’s new consolidated grade school at Durbin was constructed (Dairy, 1930). It was sold in 1940 (Notice, 1940).

Kim and David Porter purchased the abandoned and stripped schoolhouse in 1998 (Crow), before opening a horticultural shop, Garden & Thyme at the Old Schoolhouse, with the intent of taking the proceeds to renovate and preserve the old building. In 2010, the original slate roof was replaced with asphalt shingles to save the building, and the business seems to have operated through at least 2013 (Ind. 38, 2013). 


Events Of Long Ago Recalled At A Reunion (1935, November 1). The Noblesville Ledger. pp. 1-5. 

Helm, T. B. (1880). History of Hamilton County, Indiana: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers). book, Kingman Brothers.

Haines, J.F. (1915). History of Hamilton County, Indiana: Her People, Industries, and Institutions. book. B.F. Bowen & Company. 

Crow, A. (2010, April 28). Historic Home and Structures of South Madison County. The Pendleton Times-Post. p. 8.

East Wayne (1929, May 1). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 4.

Hamilton County Public Schools (1929). Teacher’s directory: names and addresses of officers and teachers of Hamilton County Public Schools, 1929-1930. Noblesville, IN.

Dairy Feeding Schools at Durbin and Westfield (1930, November 22). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 1. 

Notice of Sale of Township Abandoned School Properties (1940, March 18). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 5.

Ind. 38 garage sale (2013, May 2). The Indianapolis Star. p. W10.