The Oliver P.
Morton School pictured above was located at 7040 Marshall Avenue in the Hessville
area of Hammond, Indiana. It was constructed in 1936-37 with partial
funding from the Depression era Public Works Administration and
based upon a design by architects George Grant Elmslie and William
S. Hutton. This school replaced the original Morton School, which
was built at the same Marshall Avenue location in 1912 by the
community of Hessville before it was annexed by the city of Hammond.
When it opened in the fall of 1937 Morton School
served almost 600 students in grades kindergarten through ten. For the eleventh and twelfth
grades, students attended Hammond High School. The size of the
building was increased with a three story addition to each wing
in 1952, and the school expanded to a four year high school in
1953 with the first class
graduating in June 1954. The building housed Oliver P. Morton High School
until the class of 1967 graduated. At that time, a new Oliver P.
Morton High School building opened at 169th Street and Grand Avenue
and the building on Marshall Avenue housed Morton junior high/middle
school until it was demolished in 1991. The two story building to
the far right in the picture is the elementary school that was
constructed in 1956-57 for grades K-6. The junior high students
remained in the high school building. This old elementary school was
demolished in 1992. A modern elementary school now occupies this
Marshall Avenue site.
When the building opened in 1937
the principal was Mr. C.A. Spencer. Mr. Albert W. Clark
became principal in 1942 and remained in that position until the
summer of 1962. Mr. W. Winston Becker, who had been a teacher
and administrator at Morton, succeeded Mr. Clark as principal.
Mr. Becker continued as high school principal in the new
building on Grand Avenue.
Demolition of Morton School
began on Monday, June 10, 1991 with the removal of the cornerstone
and opening of the time capsule. The following is taken from a story
that appeared in The Times on Wednesday, June 12, 1991.
school principal) said some former students had been stopping by to
take a last look around, but she hadn't seen many tears shed over
the demolition except by one longtime neighbor.
"I came here as
a bride in 1916. My children went to the school" in the 1920s, '30s
and '40s, said Eva Lundgren, who has lived across the street from
the school since before it was built. (Note: Also, at least two of
Mrs. Lundgren's grandchildren graduated from Morton: Lynda in 1956
and Judy in 1959.)
"I watched the
building being built and I'm disturbed (to see it torn down). The
building is so beautiful and well-built," she said, wondering aloud
how the trim will be removed from the building without being ruined.