Coolspring School in Indiana was designed by John Lloyd Wright (the inventor of Lincoln Logs and son of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright). Ground was broken for Coolspring School in 1937 as a township school, housing grades K-8. The original school consisted of eight classrooms and a gymnasium/stage area, plus an office.
The building was unusual in its day. Tall windows were filled with block glass. The building stood in stark contrast to the fields which surrounded it. In 1954-55, due to increasing enrollments, the current classrooms facing County Road 300 North were added along with a new office complex. Unfortunately, the block glass was filled in at the bottom and windows were put at the top. The block glass window by the entrance was filled in and an extra door was added. As you can see in the picture above, the flag, red and beige brick were the only things that remained the same.
A colorized picture of Coolspring School in 1938
Click on all images on this page to get the full size image.
John's architectural plans for Coolspring.
The only part of the old building that is still standing encases the art room and cafeteria. Drop ceilings block the expansive ceiling above. If there is anyone who wishes to see the last remaining structure of John Lloyd Wright's design, climb up a ladder and pop up a ceiling tile in the art room. A flashlight will illuminate the old ceiling structure. On the right you see the back of the 1955 version of the school.
A few years after the facade change and classroom additions, Coolspring School was annexed into the Michigan City Area Schools system. The school continued to grow and in 1985, Coolspring Elementary had a major face lift. Ground broke in 1983 and some of the old part of the school was torn down. Classrooms were added behind the classrooms that lined 300 North.
Above: Coolspring School today (Google Streetview)
In the Spring of 1984, the Everett I. Brown Company began the demolition of part of the original building and some of the 1955 addition. The largest remodeling project in the history of the school had begun. The cost of the demolition and the new remodeling would total around $3 million.
At left you can see the front entryway of the original 1935 building with the 1955 face-lift partially collapsed. The plaque by the original front door was removed prior to demolition and now is on the wall outside the art room.
At left you can see the larger section of the original building and the bare wall following demolition to the entry doorway and area to the east. The wall facing the south shows where they added a large slanted roof on the top half of the wall and the framing around some of the original vertical windows in the taller section. The newer framed windows today are on the south wall of the art room. Newer brick was placed in front of the older brick. Work on the school was finished in 1985.
School trivia: This is the first graduating class of Coolspring in 1939. You can see the glass blocks from the Wright school facade behind the students. Click on the image for full size.