Washington County Historian Jeremy Elliott said he recently received a query from Salem Middle School History Teacher John Heavin about a picture hanging in the school’s hallway (photo #1).
Here was the answer.
The structure in the photo is the 2nd Salem Seminary, built in 1851 after the 1st burnt to the ground.
The 1st was constructed in 1828 on the NE corner of E. Hackberry and N. College Ave. (same as the 2nd), actually that is how College Avenue got it’s name!
About 1839 a Female Institute was added, (as shown in photo #2).
This Seminary was a renowned college preparatory school that replaced the Salem Grammar School that was taught in the John Hay House from 1824-1828.
The original headmaster was John I. Morrison, (his daughter was the 1st female to graduate from IU), who taught there until he was elected Indiana State Treasurer in 1864 and then he was succeeded by Professor James May, (who in 1878 changed the name to the Eikosi Academy), then James May’s son William took over in 1882.
Sometime in the 1890’s the building was purchased by the county education board and a Salem & Washington High School was established in the building, which ran until the SMS picture was taken on the last day, in May of 1908.
By the fall semester, 1908-09, the new high school, on Water Street was established on land donated by the Dawson & Martha Lyon family, which eventually led to our being nicknamed the Salem LIONS:)
The Female Institute burned down around 1890, the Seminary was abandoned after the close of high school in 1908 and later sold to private parties who tore the structure.
Don’t forget to come to Old Settlers’ Days this weekend!!