Lyles Consolidated School

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Lyles Consolidated School
Lyles Station.jpg
Front of the school
Lyles Consolidated School is located in Indiana
Lyles Consolidated School
Lyles Consolidated School is located in the US
Lyles Consolidated School
Location 953 County Road 500 W,
Lyles Station, Indiana
Coordinates 38°22′11″N 87°39′36″W / 38.3697°N 87.6601°W / 38.3697; -87.6601Coordinates: 38°22′11″N 87°39′36″W / 38.3697°N 87.6601°W / 38.3697; -87.6601
Area 2.3 acres (0.93 ha)
Built 1919
Architectural style Prairie School
MPS Indiana's Public Common and High Schools MPS
NRHP Reference # 99001111[1]
Added to NRHP September 9, 1999

Lyles Consolidated School is a historic school in Lyles Station, Indiana. The third school to be located in Lyles Station, it was opened in 1919 and used until 1958. Abandoned for nearly forty years, it had deteriorated almost to the point of total collapse by 1997. The Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation was founded in June 1997, to preserve and promote the history of the Lyles Station community. Its major project was restoration of the schoolhouse, intending to use it as a living history museum to educate others both about Lyles Station's history and the daily school routine in the early twentieth century. The school was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Restoration of the site was completed in 2003.

History[edit]

Community[edit]

The community of Lyles Station, which also includes its school, is an unincorporated community in Patoka Township, Gibson County, Indiana. Lyles Station is one of Indiana's early black rural settlements and the only one remaining. The rural settlement dates from 1849. It was formally named Lyles Station in 1886 to honor Joshua Lyles, a free African American who was one of its early settlers. Lyles migrated with his family from Tennessee to Indiana around 1837.[2][3]

Lyles Station reached its peak in the years between 1880 and 1912, when major structures in the community included a school, railroad depot, a post office, a lumber mill, two general stores, and two churches.[4] By the turn of the twentieth century, Lyles Station had fifty-five homes and a population of more than 800 people; however, the farming community never fully recovered from the Great Flood of 1913, which destroyed much of the town. Most of its residents left to find higher paying jobs and additional education in larger cities.[2][5] By 1997, approximately fifteen families remained at Lyles Station, nearly all of them descended from the original settlers.[4]

School[edit]

In 1864 Joshua Lyles donated the land to build a school in the community.[2] The first school in what became Lyles Stations was subscription school, where parents paid a fee for their children to attend. Established about 1865, its classes were held in a local church building. The community's second school, a three-room schoolhouse, replaced the earlier school. It was built across the road from the Wayman Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church.[6]

Lyles Consolidated School was Lyles Station's third school. Although the population of Lyles Station declined after the flood of 1913, a new school building was erected to educate the remaining children of the community; older schools at Lyles Station and nearby Sand Hill and Sugar Bluff were closed as part of a statewide trend towards school consolidation.[7] The school opened in 1919 and was an integrated school until 1922, when it became an all-black public school. (White students were enrolled at Baldwin Heights School in Patoka Township.) Lyles Stations's school was integrated once again in the 1950s; it closed in 1958 due to declining enrollment.[6]

Following its formation in 1997, the Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation began plans to restore Lyles Consolidated School for use as a local heritage classroom, living history museum, and community center. The school was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. After decades of deterioration, fundraising efforts and additional grants provided the financial resources needed to restore the old building in 2003.[1][4][8]

Description[edit]

The restored school building serves as a community center and local history museum.[7]

When the National Register nomination form was prepared in 1998, the school had deteriorated but its building materials were original to the construction date. The exterior was described as a two-story brick and wood building in the Prairie School style that featured a low, flat roof. The first floor was covered with red brick; the second was sheathed in clapboard siding. A cupola with a hipped roof project from the center of the roof. A brick chimney extended above the roofline. The facade featured eight, double hung windows. A projecting entrance with concrete steps lead to double entry doors. Three fixed windows were centered above the entrance.[9]

The National Register nomination form described the interior as it looked in 1998. Main entry doors opened onto two flights of wooden stairs and a hall. The first floor had a large auditorium space on the south side. Rooms across the hall included a classroom, utility area, and boiler room/coal storage area. A dressing room was located at the far end of the hall. The second floor included classrooms, an office, and a storage room.[9]

Legacy[edit]

Although most of Indiana's black rural settlements no longer exist as self-contained communities, Lyles Station continues. The restored school building and the Wayman Chapel AME Church are two remaining points of interest in Lyles Station to remind residents and visitor of its heritage as one of Indiana's early rural black communities.[10] The community hosts annual reunions and its advocacy group, the Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation, preserves its heritage.[8][11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c "Early Black Settlements: Gibson County". Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved 2016-03-04. 
  3. ^ "There Is No Place Like Home". Rural Development Spotlight-Indiana. United States Department of Agriculture. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved 2016-03-04. 
  4. ^ a b c "New Smithsonian Museum Includes Story of Lyles Station". News Archive. Indiana Landmarks. 2015-11-11. Retrieved 2016-03-04. 
  5. ^ Carl Lyles (November 1982). "The Story of Lyles Station, Indiana: Yesterday and Today". Black History News and Notes. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society (11): 5–6. 
  6. ^ a b "History". Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation. Retrieved 2016-03-04.  See also Carl C. Lyles, Sr. (1984). Lyles Station, Indiana: Yesterday and Today. Evansville: University of Southern Indiana. p. 5. OCLC 20522522. 
  7. ^ a b Lyles, Lyles Station, Indiana, pp. 30–31.
  8. ^ a b "Historic Preservation Corporation". Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 
  9. ^ a b Julie Zent (1998). National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Lyles Consolidated School (PDF). National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. pp. section 7: 1–2. 
  10. ^ "History". Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  11. ^ Wilma L. Moore (Winter 2015). "A Treasure Hunt: Black Rural Settlements in Indiana by 1870". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 27 (1): 24. 

References[edit]

  • "Early Black Settlements: Gibson County". Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 
  • "Historic Preservation Corporation". Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 
  • "History". Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  • Lyles, Carl C., Sr. (1984). Lyles Station, Indiana: Yesterday and Today. Evansville: University of Southern Indiana. OCLC 20522522. 
  • Lyles, Carl (November 1982). "The Story of Lyles Station, Indiana: Yesterday and Today". Black History News and Notes. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society (11): 4–6. 
  • Moore, Wilma L. (Winter 2015). "A Treasure Hunt: Black Rural Settlements in Indiana by 1870". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 27 (1): 22–33. 
  • National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.