Emerson High School (Gary)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Emerson Senior High School
Gary, Indiana
United States
Type Public
Established 1909
Ralph Waldo Emerson School
Ralph Waldo Emerson School in Gary.jpg
Front and eastern side of the school
Emerson High School (Gary) is located in Indiana
Emerson High School (Gary)
Emerson High School (Gary) is located in the US
Emerson High School (Gary)
Location 716 E. 7th Ave., Gary, Indiana
Coordinates 41°35′57″N 87°19′39″W / 41.59917°N 87.32750°W / 41.59917; -87.32750Coordinates: 41°35′57″N 87°19′39″W / 41.59917°N 87.32750°W / 41.59917; -87.32750
Built 1908
Built by E.C. Gerhard
Architect William B. Ittner
Architectural style Tudor Revival, Jacobethian Revival
NRHP reference # 95000702[1]
Added to NRHP June 9, 1995

Emerson Senior High School was a four-year (9-12) public high school of the Gary Community School Corporation, located in a historic facility in Gary, Indiana. For the magnet school that currently carries the Emerson name but has relocated, see Wirt-Emerson VPA Academy.

In 1981, Emerson closed as a high school. For approximately 17 years, the facility housed a performing arts magnet program, which has since relocated and is still in operation. The original Emerson High School facility closed in 2008 due to lack of funds and building dilapidation, including mold.[2]


Gary School Superintendent William Wirt used the Ralph Waldo Emerson School to be the first to use his new Work-Study-Play system of education, a "Whole Child" philosophy.[3] This philosophy drew international attention to Emerson.[2]

The building opened in 1909 and included an auditorium, gymnasium, pool, and even a zoo.[3] St. Louis architect William Ittner designed the school. There were over seven laboratories, separate band and orchestra rooms, art studios, and rooms for industrial and household arts. Athletic facilities, advanced for their time, included an indoor swimming pool, and an upstairs running track.[2]

The facility closure was due to Gary Community School Corporation budget cuts and to severe mold issues.[4]

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places,[5] but as of 2015, has been heavily vandalized.[6]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c Sometimes Interesting. "Emerson School of Visual & Performing Arts". Sometimes Interesting. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  3. ^ a b American Urbex. "Emerson School". americanurbex.com. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Wirt High School closing leaves staff, athletes feeling lost". nwitimes.com. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database (SHAARD)" (Searchable database). Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. Retrieved 2016-05-01.  Note: This includes Dharathula Millender; Laura Bandy; Suzanne Fischer (November 30, 1993). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Emerson High School" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-05-01.  and Accompanying photographs.
  6. ^ "Gallery: Gary's closed, abandoned school buildings". nwitimes.com. Retrieved 29 July 2015.