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Center School historical collection

Identifier: MSS-190

Scope and Contents

This collection includes copies of the school`s newspaper, the Center Chatter, from 1930-1963; the school`s yearbook, Memoria, from 1963-1966; personal memorabilia from graduates; and copies of the 1999 Indiana Heritage Research grant application that made this collection possible.


  • Creation: 1905-2008

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Administrative History

The history of education in Delaware County is intricately tied to Center School. In 1827 the county`s first school, a one-room school structure, was built in Perry Township in the southeastern corner of the county. The school was located about three miles northwest of where Center School would be located. By 1905 there were ninety-eight school buildings in Delaware County serving some 5,500 students, and Perry Township had four such schools serving approximately 200 students. One of those schools was located at the crossroads near the geographical center of Perry Township. Shortly after the turn of the century, property directly across from this school was purchased with the intent to construct a new, more modern school building for Perry Township.

Although the construction of the school is not believed to have started until 1906, the founding of Center School dates back to 1905. Center School was established in 1905 in Perry Township, Delaware County, Indiana, and was an archetype of Indiana`s small rural schools in that period. As the 1900s began and on through the 1960s, Indiana`s rural educational landscape became filled with the State's first "consolidated" schools. These schools were the bridge between the pre-twentieth century one-room schoolhouses and the modern schools of today. Center School`s enrollment, like most rural schools, was low. Its curriculum was limited to the basics of education.

After its construction, Center School took in and consolidated the outlying one-room schoolhouses. In 1908 the first set of students matriculated from the new school. By 1912, the school saw the first class of students to complete a full twelve years of education at its facility. In 1926, the school expanded with a gymnasium with a stage, an assembly hall, a cafeteria and additional classrooms for high school students. The school, which at that time served all grades from 1st through 12th, came to be known as Center High School.

When school consolidations began again in the 1950s, Delaware County―not including Muncie City schools―had eleven high schools. When the consolidations ended in the late 1960s, Center School was one of its many victims. At the end of the 1967 school year Center School was permanently closed and its remaining students were bussed to the newer consolidated school sites in the area. Shortly thereafter the school building was torn down and the property sold.

In the spring of 1999 several graduates from Center School sought to put together a display of school memorabilia. The alumni discovered that little had been done to preserve the school`s history. With the guidance of the Ball State University Center for Middletown Studies, Joseph and Dorothy Duncan (Class of 1946 and 1949) convinced the Center School Alumni Association to make an effort to collect and preserve materials documenting the school`s history. The Duncan`s contacted Ball State University Archives and Special Collections about preserving the items they were collecting. To help in the establishment of the Center School Historical Collection, the Center School Alumni Association partnered with the Center for Middletown Studies and Archives and Special Collections to apply for an Indiana Heritage Research grant. They received the 2-year grant in May 1999 and proceeded to collect photographs and other documentation to be preserved in the Archives.


4.3 Cubic Feet (5 boxes, 2 map-case drawers)

Language of Materials



Arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Newspapers, 1930 Jan.-1965 May

Series 2: Yearbooks, 1953-1966

Series 3: Subject files, 1905-2008

Series 4: Artifacts, 1905-1965

Series 5: Electronic files, 1905-2005

Series 6: Photographs, 1905-1965

Series 7: Negatives, undated

Series 8: Oversize matierals, undated

Custodial History

The Center School historical collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Joseph Duncan and Center School Alumni Association on 1999/09/13.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation by the Center School Alumni Association.


No further additions are expected.

Related Archival Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie IN:

MSS.058: Allen and Rita Winters family papers and photographs, 1917-1930

PSCN.300 Center High School Class of 1953 and 1962

Processing Information

Collection processing completed in 1999. Finding aid created in 1999. Finding aid revised in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008. Finding aid revised 2009/05/06 by Bridget K. Hahn. Finding aid revised 2012/02/06 by Bethany Fiechter. Finding aid revised 2013/10/28 by Leslie Nellis.

Center School historical collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Stoeckel Archives of Local History Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA