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Warner School House


An old white structure that sits behind North Webster Community Center and the library might not look like much to some passersby. While many might drive, walk or bike past it, what they might not know is that it used to be a schoolhouse in the 1800s.

Today, the school has been accepted to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is the only property within North Webster and, perhaps even Tippecanoe Township, to receive this recognition.

Now, a campaign will soon be underway to find the funds, volunteers and resources to bring the former schoolhouse back to life.

Located at the corner of North and East Streets, the land on which the schoolhouse is located was once owned by Thomas Warner, who opened the schoolhouse in the late 1830s. The Warners were from Cincinnati, Ohio, and early settlers to the area.

The former house was constructed in 1838 by the Warner family on land that encompasses the building’s current location. After tragedy struck the family, the house was converted to a school in or shortly after 1838, making it the first school in Tippecanoe Township, and quite possibly the oldest extant building in Kosciusko County, according to a report by a consultant.

The Warner Schoolhouse became one of 12 township schools in Tippecanoe Township.

A historic structure report and conditions assessment was conducted in December 2021 by Kurt West Garner, a consultant in Plymouth. KW Garner Consulting was contracted by NWCC to provide such a report on the Warner Schoolhouse, which is owned by NWCC.

In the report, Garner noted the criteria under architecture as “the area of significance.”

The building, according to the report, is an “exceptional and early example of Greek revival architecture and hall and parlor design.”

The State Historic Preservation Office determined the schoolhouse was eligible for the National Register on Nov. 10, 2021, and the nomination was submitted to the state on Dec. 17, 2021.

The old schoolhouse has already undergone a series of renovations and moves in the past. In the 1970s, the Kosciusko County Retired Teachers Association restored and furnished the school and had it moved to its present site. Tours were also given of the school at one time.

Later, Warner School was turned over to the elementary school in North Webster and then eventually to the community center.

The building was given a fresh coat of paint last fall by Susie Plank, a North Webster resident. The paint was furnished by Ace Hardware, North Webster.

The goal in 2021 was to raise $50,000. That cost could be even higher now, said Plank.

In August, a certificate will be given out at the state fair in Indianapolis for the historic designation, said Plank, and she hopes to have the schoolhouse open by the summer. A GoFundMe page and a Facebook page are in the works, said Plank. The Kosciusko County Historical Society has offered to help furnish the interior, said Plank, who is passionate about seeing the schoolhouse renovated even more. She would like to see it possibly moved to a more prominent location in town.

“It should be a tribute to teachers,” she said.

More importantly, the Warner family and the legacy it leaves behind.

By: Phoebe Muthart, The Paper


Donations to the Warner Schoolhouse project can be made to:
NWCC- Warner Schoolhouse

PO Box 379, North Webster, IN 46555

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