On June 21, 1856, the stockholders of the Carr Township High School Association met “at the site fixed upon to erect a suitable building for a high school in Carr Township, Jackson County Indiana.” George W. Carr was Clerk of the meeting, and was elected as a member of the Board of Trustees. The “site fixed upon” was a short distance west of the newly-platted town of Weddleville, on land later given to “the inhabitants of Carr Township”, by George W. Carr and his wife, Fannie, consisting of 1.32 acres. The school was built in 1857.
The brick building was originally planned to be one story, but the community decided they would need more room and better facilities, so they arranged to add another story, meeting the expense by selling shares of $20 each. In March of 1858, W. S. Turrell, a graduate of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, began teaching the first term in the new building.
Architecturally, with its two story height and long, narrow proportions, the school shares features in common with county seminaries built prior to 1852. Stylistically, the school's bracketed entablature running along both flanking elevations and following the rake of each gable indicates Italianate style influence, not surprising for the 1857 construction date. At the same time, the simple, flathead window and door openings, plain paneled doors and delicate sash/transom mutins demonstrate the persistence of late eighteenth/early nineteenth vernacular building traditions.
From the beginning, this early High School was noted for its highly qualified teachers (many other rural schools at the time were taught by well-intentioned parents or older children), and for the excellence of the instruction. Many students came from a distance and boarded in the neighborhood in order to attend the school. The school served as a community center and sponsored a Literary Society, yearly “Exhibitions” and other cultural activities. Classes were held in the building from 1857 until 1934. It is undoubtedly one of the oldest school buildings still standing in the State of Indiana.
After 1934, the building served as first a Lutheran and later a Christian church. In 1940, the Lutheran Federation of Jackson County sent a seminary student to western Jackson County as a part of the Hill Mission Campaign. After the congregation outgrew the building, a local Christian minister held intermittent services in the building until 1964. After that, the building was abandoned and empty. During the 1970’s, the “Old Settler’s Association”, a community volunteer organization, maintained the grounds and held an annual meeting in the building, but made little effort at preservation or restoration. During this time the building was listed on the Indiana State Register of Historic Sites, but the nomination to the National Register was never completed. In the 1990’s, the Seymour Heritage Foundation, a non-profit corporation, took control of the building, but restoration plans were cancelled due to organizational issues. On April 19, 2007 the Seymour Heritage Foundation deeded the building to the Weddleville Cemetery Association, a non-profit organization. This organization has completed several phases of preservation and restoration of this noble and historic relic of early settler era education. The building was accepted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 15, 2011.
George W. Carr
George W. Carr was president of the Indiana Constitutional Convention of 1850-1851. He was elected six times to be a Representative to the Indiana Legislature, (1838 to 1849). The last two years, he served as Speaker of the House. In 1841 and 1843, he was in the State Senate, serving in the latter year on the Education Committee. During the Civil War he personally recruited six companies of the Ninety-third regiment, of which he was made Lieutenant-Colonel. Following the war, he returned to his old home in Carr Township where he devoted himself to farming, fruit growing and various civic projects. He died in 1892 at the home of his son in Crawfordsville, and is interred in the family cemetery on the farm near the Carr High School.