The Boneyard

Fulton Avenue School
Fulton Avenue - 1871-1973 - Evansville, Indiana

Prior to 1871, the residents of the German heritage area known as Lamasco had built a private two-story school on the grounds of Law Park, which today is known a Fulton Park, located on the northeast corner of Fulton and Franklin Avenues. In 1857, Lamaso merged with Evansville and to accomodate the increased enrollments, plans were made to build a new school on the park grounds. However, the deed to the property stated that no new buildings could be built on the property and plans were made to build the school just north and west on Fulton Avenue and, as custom, named for the street it was facing.

The original Fulton Avenue School opened in September, 1871. It was then a 80-foot square, three-story, brick building. Each floor had four classrooms and the total cost was $37,750. The school's construction included a cistern which had 100 barrels of drinking water and outdoor toilets. In November, a furnace was installed making it the first school to not heat each room with a stove.

By 1882, the schoool had 13 occupied classrooms, 13 teachers and 694 students. Enrollment would climb to more than 1000 during World War I and for many years would be the largest school in Evansville. A south wing was added in 1892 and later a north wing was added for a total of eight more rooms. In 1927, the last addition was made when a two-story building was built, adding four classrooms, toilets, and a teacher's lounge. Electric lighting was added in 1920. Prior to that studies would be suspended on dark and stormy days and the students would play games or tell stories.

There were many "firsts" for the school. Principle Willam Ragland started a program called the "ungraded room" which would be nationally studied and copied and eventually become known as 'Special Education'. Student participation was encouraged in school government and a traffic safety patrol was started, but eventually ended when parents complained and feared for the safety of their sons being in the street when cattle was driven up Fulton Avenue to the stockyards.

By 1972, the enrollment stood at 687 students with 32 teachers, including Mrs. Esther Miller who taught continously at the school for 47 years.

Along with the Baker and White schools, Fulton School was closed and razed in 1973.

Today, The Lewis Bakerey stands on the grounds where the Fulton Avenue School stood for 102 years.

Excerpted from articles by Stephen Wittman and photograph provided courtesy of Joe Engler

Back to The Evansville Boneyard