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Last updated on Thursday, February 16, 2012
(MEDORA) - Volunteer efforts to preserve the historic Carr High School in Weddleville are paying off. The school was named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Paul Darkis is the president of the Weddleville Cemetery Association. The association owns the school, which is located west of Medora.
The association is preserving the building for several reasons, not just because it sits next to the cemetery, but because it's important to Paul Carr, a direct descendant.
George W. Carr donated the land for Carr High School, which was built in 1857. School began in March 1858, and the last class was held in 1934. The building is one of the oldest surviving high schools in Indiana.
It served as a church until the 1960s, after which it was abandoned.
The association acquired the building in April 2007, from Seymour Heritage Foundation and has installed new windows and plastered and repainted the first floor to cover graffiti. The building was recently tuck-pointed, with plans to seal it this spring.
Despite several years of neglect and vandalism, the structure is basically unchanged from its original 1857 form. Darkis said the association maintained the building and grounds as much as possible over the years because members wanted to keep it looking acceptable for funerals.
Darkis credits foundation board member Helen Swain with playing a key role in ensuring the association received the building. They immediately put a roof on the building.
Volunteers with Duke Energy have spent the past two Days of Caring helping with the project. Darkis said he hopes to convince them to return for this year's Day of Caring because of the help they have given.
Carr Township Trustee Mary Ann Ault also helped fund removal of graffiti from the exterior of the school.
More than three years ago, the association reinstituted an Old Settlers Day picnic on the third Saturday of August.
Darkis said it draws former students from surrounding areas as well as from as far away as Indianapolis and even Missouri.
The national register is the official inventory of sites with national, state or local significance in the development of the nation's cultural heritage, according to Indiana State Historic Preservation officials.Listing on the National Register is official recognition of the significance of the site.
The listing is the result of the contributions of many volunteers.
Preparing the nomination required research into the history and importance of the historic schoolhouse.
It is recognized as an outstanding example of an early settler-era one-room schoolhouse, members of the Weddleville Cemetery Association said.
Securing a place on the National Register of Historic Places provides an additional measure of protection for the historic property.
The association was recently notified that official State and National Register certificates will be presented to representatives of the association during a ceremony at the Indiana State Fair in August. The designation was awarded in December.
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