Open house held for newly renovated Morris Schoolhouse

People were able to see new layouts for what the new park surrounding the renovated schoolhouse will look like.

Posted: Jul 21, 2019 6:08 PM
Updated: Jul 21, 2019 6:50 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)—A piece of history in West Lafayette will be preserved. The Morris Schoolhouse will continue to serve the community.

"I made an appointment with the mayor and went to say what can we do to save this schoolhouse,” said volunteer Sue Eiler.

Sue Eiler was writing a history paper for her literature group about old schoolhouses in Tippecanoe County. She was inspired by the information she learned. With the Morris Schoolhouse still standing she wanted to keep that history alive. 

The schoolhouse used to sit at the corner of U.S. 231 and Cumberland Ave. Franciscan Health purchased the land the schoolhouse was sitting on. 

"So I saw whenever the Franciscan's put up the signs saying they were going to build where the schoolhouse had stood and I grew up near this area,” said Eiler.

With the threat of the schoolhouse being torn down. Eiler gathered a group of volunteers and city leaders to have it moved off the purchased land and re-purposed.

"We started by gathering an architect, a historian, and just a whole lot of community volunteers,” said Eiler.

Lynn Cason originally owned the land that was sold to Franciscan Health. Cason is a 4th generation owner of the land which used to be farm land for corn and beans.

He sold part of the land to Franciscan Health in 2014 and donated a 14-acre section to have the schoolhouse moved to its new location, which sits just east of where it was originally. 

"I Thought it was a great opportunity to do something to pay back the city,” said Cason.

Cason said he couldn't pass up helping preserve history. Over a 2 year period the house was moved and renovated from the inside out. 

To continue the revitalization of the land, work will begin to build a new park surrounding the schoolhouse.

"We're going to have a beautiful park here with pavilions, playgrounds, trails, water features,” said Cason.

Mayor John Dennis said restoring such history says a lot about what the city stands for.

"We're all about education,” said Dennis. “So something else we want do, we want honor the history of education. And what could be more typical of the way education was 100+ years ago than a one room schoolhouse."

Today people were able to see layouts for what will be called the Cason Family Park and a tour of the newly renovated Morris Schoolhouse.

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