Morris Schoolhouse Preservation

Transform a Historic Schoolhouse into a Brand New Park

“When I was your age, I had to walk fifteen miles to get to school…in the snow…traveling uphill both ways…”

Ever wonder what school life was really like during the days of your grandparents? Great-grandparents? Great-great-grandparents?

Why This School?

One of only a handful left, the old Morris Schoolhouse offers an encounter with what school life was like in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Built in 1879, the Morris Schoolhouse, also known as Wabash Township School No. 5, was once one of more than 100 schoolhouses of its kind in the region. The Morris Schoolhouse’s most notable pupil is Alvah Curtis Roebuck, who went on to co-found Sears, Roebuck, and Co.

Although the building saw its last students in 1916, the Morris Schoolhouse survives to this day due to the dedication of the Cason family, on whose land the schoolhouse stands. The Cason family has seen to the building’s preservation for three generations. For some of those years, the building was used by local farmers to store grain. Nearly every other schoolhouse has disappeared to make way for modern development.

The Project

A small building at 36’ long by 26’ wide, the Morris Schoolhouse features a brick exterior, wood floor, exposed rafters and enough room for approximately 25 students, though attendance fluctuated considerably during its days of operation. The West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Foundation plans to partner with architects to restore the building—including the interior—to recreate a true-to-life historical schoolroom setting that can be used for educational purposes and special events.

Relocated about 1,000 feet from its original site, the Morris Schoolhouse now sits on approximately 14 acres. The land was donated by Lynn Cason, who has taken care of the building since 1964, to establish a park with Morris Schoolhouse as its primary attraction. The park will also feature a playground, shelter, restrooms, parking and trails to connect it to West Lafayette’s 27-mile trail system, making it sure to become the latest point-of-interest for cyclists, runners, hikers and others to explore.

The Costs

Costs for renovating the schoolhouse are estimated at approximately $150,000. The $85,000 initially needed to relocate the schoolhouse has already been met by multiple donors. Any additional funds raised will be devoted to interior and exterior renovations. Consider supporting this project today.

You may also wish to purchase a brick for $200.00 .  Purchasing a brick for $200.00 each is a tax-deductible contribution to a 501c3 non-profit that  supports the enhancements & maintenance of the Morris Schoolhouse. Bricks will be placed in the walkway leading to the front door of the schoolhouse.   Click here to download the order form:

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