Historic Structures

Washington School, Logansport Indiana

Date added: May 11, 2022 Categories: Indiana School

The selection of this site for a schoolhouse probably was related to its ownership by Quincy Alden Myers, a prominent Logansport attorney. An outstanding jurist, Myers capped a brilliant career by serving on the Indiana State Supreme Court. As a civic leader, he was a trustee of Logansport's city schools for thirteen years. This fact suggests why his residence on this site became a school house in the early 1890s. The property was purchased from Myers in June of 1895.

The 1890s were a period of sustained population growth for the city. This growth led to increased demand for schools. In 1892, for example, the Central School became overcrowded and the city built the Lipton School. Similarly, by 1899 increased population on the town's west side resulted in the Washington School. Both Central School and Lipton School are now gone.

The building's curious combination of Richardsonian Romanesque elements on the lower level with Greek elements on the upper story makes it unique in the community. This building, by virtue of its size, age, and conspicuous location on the River, was one of the most prominent in the city.

Washington School was situated on the north bank of the Wabash River, along State Road 25 and adjacent to a bridge. Adjoining the building on its north side is an addition containing a gymnasium, constructed in the late 1950s.

The two story, square building is of yellow brick with dressed limestone trim, and has a raised basement level of rock-faced limestone. The exterior of the building is very much an expression of its interior floor plan. Two intersecting axes divide the building into quadrants. These axes contain the entrances, hallways, stairway, and a few small rooms used for storage or office space. They are expressed on the outside by a pedimented projecting bay on each facade, with gabled roofs intersecting in the center of the building. At this intersection on the interior is a round open space. Four classrooms per floor are located in the corners of the building, and are entered from this open space. The doors of the classrooms are curved to follow the curve of the walls. Ceilings are of pressed tin. Each classroom has a bank of four tall windows on one exterior wall, and four short windows on the other. On all facades of the exterior, the taller windows are to the right of the pedimented bay, and shorter windows to the left. All windows are doublehung, with large stone lintels, and narrower stone sills.

The east and west projecting bays feature round-arched entrance , which is flanked by massive stone piers from which springs the broad limestone arch. A fanlight fills the tympanum. The simple double doors are of painted wood, with two lights each, and are flanked by wood panels with one small light occupying the upper third. Above the arch and separating the first and second floors, is a wide belt course of dressed limestone topped by a simple projecting molding, that continues around the building all the way to the projecting bays on the other two sides. The second story of the east and west projecting bays has three narrow round-arched windows, sheltered by a balustraded limestone portico that is supported by paired Ionic columns. The windows are flanked by engaged paired columns, then brick pilasters that are repeated at the corners of the building. The simple architrave contains the words "Washington School." The pediment is trimmed by dentil molding.

The center bay on the south facade differs somewhat from the east and west facades. It contains a below-grade entrance into the basement, flanked by windows, now boarded. This entrance is set into the same rock-faced limestone that continues around the rest of this level. This is topped by a smooth limestone water table. Because the south bay contains the interior stairway, the window levels are not in line with the rest of the windows on the building. Above the water table is a broad doublehung window flanked by two narrower ones, all withlarge stone lintels. Above this is perhaps the most outstanding feature of the building, a large stained glass window, with a Palladian fenestration. This magnificent window is predominately pink, with green around the border, in an abstract foliated design. The round-arched window has an elongated keystone, flanked by oval panels that are flush with the wall. The pediment is treated in the same way as those previously described.

The north facade of the building, similar to the other three, is obscured by the later addition, which is connected to the building by an enclosed stairway. A stage was removed from the north hallway to make room for the connecting passage.

The basement of the building contains restrooms, a furnace room, and two other rooms.

The building was demolished in 1984.