Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Old Central School History

Old Central To Be Demolished
School Board Awards Contract For Razing School Building Erected in 1892; Many Memories In Building’s Past

  The Old Central School building on South Twelfth Street will be torn down, the basement filled, and the spot on which it stood turned into playground.  The contract for razing the building was awarded to W. W. Prout of Vincennes, Tuesday morning, at a price of $2,800.  Prout is to have the salvage material, other than a few items that have been specified by the Board of Education.

  The contract states that he shall move all materials from the ground, fill the basement and cover with good dirt, and complete the contract by August 20.

  The building was left during the last school term because it housed the heating plant for New Central.  The board has now contracted with Lawrenceville Sales Company to install a gas-oil furnace in the basement of New Central.
 Removal of the building is necessary from a safety standpoint.  Already bricks and stones from the coping are falling, making it dangerous for children to be near it.
  Old Central was erected in 1892, and was at that time the only school building in the city.  It was used for both grades and high school purposes, and by the turn of the century was caring for about 300 pupils.
  It was an outstanding building in its time, considered a modern small city school building, and the plans were so good that the architect won first place at the Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1892. 
   The high school department was in the south side of the upper story.  There was a large assembly room in which classes were also held, and a small recitation room for use when two teachers were holding classes.
  In the high school there was one regular teacher, and in addition, the superintendent of the whole school taught some classes.  The high school subjects included mathematics, thorough algebra, plane and solid geometry, English, Latin, and the sciences.  The school was not credited in the North Central Association, yet graduates often left the school to enter colleges, without difficulty.

   The grades, as is remembered, were first, second, third, and fourth in rooms alone, and fifth and sixth in one room, and seventh and eighth in another.  The teachers’ salaries were low, with $50 per month being among the top ones; and the superintendent drew about $900 per year.The athletic program was such as the boys and girls arranged themselves, and this included some baseball, foot and one-half, blackman, jumping, and running.  There were no contests between other schools.
   The whole burden of housing the pupils of Lawrenceville fell upon Old Central from the time of its building in 1892 until about 1908 when New Central was erected, and the Lawrenceville Township High School district was set up and a building erected.
  By 1908 the city had grown considerably, due to the discovery of oil and it became necessary to erect more school room for children of the city.
   J.O. Smith and Web Kinder, residents of Lawrenceville, have served as superintendents of the Lawrenceville school at the time when Old Central was the only building, and they with many, who received all of their secondary schooling in that building, will have a feeling of something lost from the past when they pass along Twelfth Street and do not see the old building that housed their school days.

Lawrence County News 6/20/1957