1968 BRHS History Booklet - Chapter Four
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Chapter Four

Villages start schools

Soon after families began settling the villages of Broad Ripple and Wellington, they saw the need for schools to educate their children.

In 1843, Washington Township Graded School Number Five was built. Ferris Wakeland was the first teacher.

In 1854, Washington Township Graded School Number Fourteen was built near what is now the corner of Broad Ripple and Evanston avenues. This one-room school was taught by Thomas Keeler of New York.

In 1882, George Lancaster, trustee of Washington Township, approved a contract for a two-story school building to be erected "where White River makes a sharp right turn on the south bank and far enough away from the river to protect it from the floods." The building is described as follows:

... of substantial brick with rubble limestone foundation, four rooms furnished in modern style and the best school outside of Indianapolis. The cost of the building, including out-buildings, furniture, etc. was about $7400. This graded or high school, as it is commonly termed, was built to accommodate the advanced pupils of the entire township and is, therefore, a township graded school. It is located in the geographical center of the township.

This building, contracted by Mr. D. W. Heaton, was opened with Mr. Josiah Savin Puett as principal in 1884.

Two years later Broad Ripple High School was established when the new trustee, Henry Hessong, sanctioned a two-year high school course to be taught by Mr. Puett. The first course of study included algebra, geometry, physical geography, rhetoric (English), and physics. Seven pupils enrolled for that first seven months' term.

A three-year course was approved for Broad Ripple the following year with the addition of literature and general history to the curriculum.

Principal J. S. Puett taught all of the subjects in the early curriculum. He was a dynamic leader who insisted that the new high school expand to meet the increasing needs of the pupils. Although a friendly person outside of school, in the classroom he was a "veritable tzar". His simple method of discipline is described as follows:

When one of the boys needed a 'thrashing' he politely asked the culprit to accompany him to a little cell, reserved for such purposes, on the second floor. The application had the desired effect because no boy ever made his second trip to the 'dungeon'.

In 1889, Thomas Smith succeeded Puett. During his principalship, until 1893, when he was succeeded by Chas. Martin, the enrollment of the school increased to 40 pupils. Mr. Martin inaugurated the four-year high school course. Also during his principalship, Broad Ripple was recognized as one of the outstanding rural schools in the nation at the Chicago World's Fair Columbian Exposition.

Edward Harris became the principal in 1895, the same year in which Broad Ripple High School was commissioned by the Indiana State Department of Education.

JS Puett - click to see larger image
     J.S. Puett - first principal

In 1896, the school burned, leaving only the walls intact. For the one-year period during which the school was being rebuilt, pupils attended classes in the Methodist Church at the corner of Guilford Avenue and 61st Street; the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (a brotherhood organization) Hall, now Lobraico's Drug Store; and a one-and-a-half-story building just south of the Broad Ripple dam.

In addition to reconstructing the original rooms, an assembly room and four additional rooms were built. With the construction of a new addition to the school in 1913, the reconstructed building of 1896 became known as East Hall.

Back when - click to see larger image
Back when
This photograph of the original Broad Ripple building was found in an old book by Mrs. Lawrence Pettet and Mrs. Bill Shuel when they were searching for a picture for the APT calendar. Built on the south bank of White River in the geographical center of Washington Township, the school opened in 1884 with Josiah Savin Puett as principal.

Reconstruction - click to see larger image
In 1896 the original building burned, leaving only the walls intact. The next year, the building was reconstructed and an assembly room and four additional rooms were added.

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Cover and Forward
1878 Surveyor's Record of Broad Ripple
Chapter One - Coil Starts Settlement
Chapter Two - Ripple Linked To City
Chapter Three - Canal Creates Rivalry
Chapter Four - Villages Start Schools (current page)
Chapter Five - Religious Life Grows
Chapter Six - Social Life Develops
Chapter Seven - Canal Villages Thrive
Chapter Eight - Trolleys Aid Travel
Chapter Nine - Farmer Shakes Jail
Chapter Ten - Floods Ravage Town
Chapter Eleven - Park Attracts Visitors
Chapter Twelve - BRHS Joins City
Chapter Twelve - Errata
Chapter Thirteen - City Annexes Village

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