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September 25, 2017

1/7/2015 4:31:00 AM
Historic Simmons School
Simmons Schoolhouse on the Flat Rock-Hawcreek campus.
Simmons Schoolhouse on the Flat Rock-Hawcreek campus.
Glen Keller, former superintendent of Flat Rock-Hawcreek Schools, shows off the Simmons Schoolhouse that he helped bring to the campus.
Glen Keller, former superintendent of Flat Rock-Hawcreek Schools, shows off the Simmons Schoolhouse that he helped bring to the campus.
Hope, My Indiana Home 2014-2015

The Simmons School, one-room schoolhouse on the Hauser Junior-Senior High School and Hope Elementary campus began as a dream of the past schools superintendent, Glen Keller. The turn-of-last century schoolhouse is used for field trips for local and regional students to give them a glimpse of the way education was done more than 100 years ago.

During the construction of the Hope Elementary School in 1988, Keller suggested that a central location on the school campus could be used for an authentic one-room schoolhouse.

The committee formed in August 1988 with eight original members. It soon swelled to 30 members from across the community, all buying into the dream. Barb and Ed Johnson were key to the project, as were students of the Hauser History Club.

On Sept. 19, 1989, Simmons School was moved from its rural location to the new site. The structure, which originally stood on County Road 900N, was chosen by a committee of local volunteers and school children, picked from three abandoned schoolhouses in the Flat Rock-Hawcreek school district.

The town and community raised $40,000 to move the building the four miles to its current location. It took three years and more than $100,000 to restore the building to its 1900s state.

During school field trips, students attend in period costume and experience a day in the school style of their great-great-grandparents. Lunches are served in old-fashioned baskets and pails, reading is done from replica primers from the era, and ciphering is done on slates. The classroom is complete with an authentic chalkboard, antique map case and dunce cap in the corner.

During recesses, students learn antique games and drink from a bucket using a tin cup.

The renovated school has hosted more than 50,000 students.

Schools outside of Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corp. are charged a small fee for the day trip, which includes the talents of a schoolmarm or master and any supplies.

In 2014, the school celebrated its 25th year since "the big move." Two celebrations, one public and one for students, were held at Simmons School in honor of the anniversary. The September events were filled with tours, old-fashioned games, live music and activities.

Reservations can be made through the schoolhouse website at www.simmonsschool.com or by calling committee chairperson Barb Johnson at 812-546-4877.

Related Links:
• Simmons School website

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