Thursday, March 22, 2012

Center School Historical Collection now available in Digital Media Repository!


P067-0008, Center School students and faculty, circa 1905-1930
The Center School Historical Collection is now available in the Ball State University Libraries' Digital Media Repository! The digital collection includes copies of the school's newspaper, the Center Chatter from 1930-1963 and personal memorabilia from graduates including announcements, pamphlets, invitations, programs, and photographs ranging from circa 1900-1967.

Center School was established in 1905 and located in Perry Township, Delaware County, Indiana. The school was typical of Indiana`s small rural schools in that period. As the 1900s began and on through the 1960s, Indiana`s rural educational landscape became filled with the State's first "consolidated" schools. These schools were the bridge between the pre-twentieth century one-room schoolhouses and the modern schools of today. Center School`s enrollment, like most rural schools, was low. Its curriculum was limited to the basics of education.

The history of education in Delaware County is intricately tied to Center School. In 1827 the county`s first school, a one-room school structure, was built in Perry Township in the southeastern corner of the county. The school was located about three miles northwest of where Center School would be located.

By 1905 there were ninety-eight school buildings in Delaware County serving some 5,500 students, and Perry Township had four such schools serving approximately 200 students. One of those schools was located at the crossroads near the geographical center of Perry Township. Shortly after the turn of the century, property directly across from this school was purchased with the intent to construct a new, more modern school building for Perry Township. Although the construction of the school is not believed to have started until 1906, the founding of Center School dates back to 1905.

After its construction, Center School took in and consolidated the outlying one-room schoolhouses. In 1908 the first set of students matriculated from the new school. By 1912, the school saw the first class of students to complete a full twelve years of education at its facility. In 1926, the school was enlarged adding a gymnasium with a stage, an assembly hall, a cafeteria and additional classrooms for high school students. The school, which at that time served all grades from 1st through 12th soon, came to be known as Center High School.

When school consolidations began again in the 1950s, Delaware County, not including Muncie City schools, had eleven high schools. When the consolidations ended in the late 1960s Center School was one of its many victims. At the end of the 1967 school year Center School was permanently closed and its remaining students were bussed to the newer consolidated school sites in the area. Shortly thereafter the school building was torn down and the property sold.

For more information on the Center School Historical Collection, please see our Center School Historical Collection finding aid, or contact Archives and Special Collections at libarchives@bsu.edu.