Click Here to find out more on the one-room schoolhouses in Vernon Twp.
(includes a list of students from the Fortville school in the 1880s).
The first Fortville school was built in 1857, where Landmark Park is currently located, or next to the Fortville United Methodist Church. It was a frame school house and grew rather cramped as the town expanded. The little frame school burned in 1876, and the courses were conducted in the basement of the Methodist Church, or in any building that they could find room. In December of 1878, the new school was opened with 176 students and at the same location of the original frame school house. (The image to the side is the first brick school in Fortville taken around 1882.) It began with five rooms, but had 11 rooms by 1916 and 12 teachers. A gymnasium was added in 1938.
The first McCordsville school was established in 1874 in a two-story, four-room brick building that burned down on April 14, 1877. The school term was carried out in the Methodist Church and at the home of Mark Thomson. The fire did not destroy the walls of the original school, and they were used again for the new school until 1893, when the school was condemned and torn down. A third building was constructed, but it too burned in 1901. The students finished the year in the Universalist church and at the home of Thomas R. Pentecost. A new building was constructed in 1902.
Center School was located on State Road 13 approx. 5 miles north of Fortville in Green Township of Madison County. Center School was open from 1929 – 1971. There were four grades in each room until the fall of 1947. From the fall of 1947 until May of 1969, there were three grades in each room. From September of 1969 to the school’s closing, there were two grades in each room.
Mrs. Nema (Hunt) Hiday started teaching at the District No. 1 School, near Gravel Lawn Cemetery, in September of 1928. The No. 1 School and the Hardscrabble School merged and became Center School in January of 1930; at which time they moved into the new school building. Mrs. Hiday taught 684 different students at Center School while it was open, or 1,552 students counting each grade per student. Mrs. Hiday retired at the end of the school year in 1970.
Mrs. Hiday cared for her students very much and saved all of the school pictures of her students. After her death in 2002, Richard Cauldwell donated her photo collection to the Fortville Library. A one-of-a-kind yearbook was created in July 2010. Two copies of that yearbook are availble for checkout at the Fortville Library.
History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions. George J. Richman. B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis: IN, 1916.