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Lowell, Indiana High School: Incredible and Crumbling

Lowell, Indiana High School
Lowell, Indiana High School

We discovered the old Lowell, Indiana high school while wandering along side streets.

Suddenly we burst upon this wonderful old building.

Lowell, Indiana High School

Can you imagine our surprise and awe? It towers over the street from its perch on top of a small, steep hill. Imposing–even in its decayed state.

How many Lake County students walked through these doors when the floors were shiny new wood? How many first days of school has that building seen? How many games of tag or first crushes?

They just don’t make them like they used to.

Lowell, Indiana Landmark

Lowell, Indiana High School
Lowell, Indiana High School

Small Indiana towns or big cities, beautiful abandoned properties can be found anywhere.

The story behind this old Lowell School and it’s unfortunate state of disrepair? The current owners refuse to sell but also refuse to do anything. It sounds complicated. And frustrating.

So…it sits. Neglected. Crumbling. The roof completely disintegrating causing who knows how much damage on the inside as well as falling off and hitting homes that surround it.

What I wouldn’t give to poke around and take a few pics before it’s gone.

Go There

Lowell, Indiana High School
Lowell, Indiana High School

I can only hope that something will change. This is an important piece of Indiana history. It points back to a very prosperous beginning in Lowell’s history.

Would that not make a wonderful community gathering place in this small Indiana town?

If and when that happens (I am an optimist), let me know. little Indiana would love to donate to its preservation.

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!

Find pictures in Indiana on my Flickr photostream or on the new little Indiana Tumblr blog.

Just don’t forget to tell ’em that  little Indiana sent you!

Lowell High School
525 E Main Street
Lowell, Indiana 46256
This Building Has Been Torn Down (5/2013)

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About Jessica Nunemaker

Jessica Nunemaker is the Owner of Little More than a website, Little Indiana is a PBS segment on the state-wide program "The Weekly Special," a bi-weekly column in a local newspaper, and a book. Look for "Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations" published by Indiana University Press in April 2016--just in time for Indiana's BIG 200th Birthday Celebration.


  1. Jessica Nunemaker

    That is HORRENDOUS! I am SO sorry to read that! That is EXACTLY what I thought it would be great for–a community center! Sigh. I hate when folks get short-sighted and don’t see the big picture. Hopefully someone, somewhere can learn from this mistake so it doesn’t happen to another gorgeous building.

  2. What’s sad about this building is that it didn’t have to end this way. A couple from Boston had grand plans to turn it into a community center, with shops, classes and a little bistro. Unfortunately, they also wanted a license to sell – gasp! – wine at the bistro. The few complaining citizens who feared it could eventually become a, “dance hall,” convinced town officials to put so many restrictions on it that the couple sold it and returned to Boston. I know because I was a news reporter who covered the meeting at which the voting took place. That decision has angered me for 25 years.

  3. Jessica Nunemaker

    Sigh. I have heard about that. I’m in denial and am trying to pretend it isn’t happening. :(

  4. I came across your piece on the high school while searching for old pictures of it when it was in use. I am sorry to report that it is being torn down as we speak. I like right down the road from it and have been watching cranes and bulldozers being brought in. It is such a sad thing to see.

  5. This building absolutly amazes me. As a child, I grew up about 4 houses down. This was when it wasnt so much a hazzard, and the owner at the time let us play on the property all the time. I used to stare up at the building, it really was gorgeous. There were many tales about the school I could remember, reasons for why the school had closed…anybody know why?
    I am still forever curious about the inside of the building, and will be sad when they demolish it, which they are preparing for. I did some background research on the building, in its original state, the school was built so that anywhere you stood in lowell you could see the towering beauty. I did however, try to see pictures at the library, but the librarian did not like the idea of me touching the 2 books that might contain any pictures. SO, If any of you who attended here have pictures of the inside, I would so appreciate it if you shared.


  6. Jessica Nunemaker

    Well, that’s what they said about French Lick Springs Resort–and just look at it now! :) Where there’ a will, there’s a way.

    Thanks for sharing your story. That is neat!

  7. My wife and I went there 58, 59, 60 timeframe. It was a nice school, but pretty old even then. it is now too far gone to save. With building codes etc. it would be too costly.

    The classrooms were really large and if I remember correctly there were four on the main floor and four upstairs. Each room had a cloakroom attached for your coat and boots and lunch bag. The basement had the wood shop and showers for gym class. The entire back was the gym.

    We had social hour every Friday afternoon. The boys wore ties and the girls wore their best dresses. We learned to dance. Sounds corny now, but a really great memory.

  8. I grew up down the street, a couple of houses down from the Snells. I remember going sledding on the hill in front of the school. Last time I visited Lowell was in 2007 to show my three girls where I grew up and why I loved the small town.

  9. Jessica Nunemaker

    I know! I really hope that isn’t true! Just amazing.

  10. I just heard from a friend that they were demolishing this beautiful old building. I went to school there from 1958-1962. So many great memories. I always drove by the old High School each 5 years when I came back to Lowell for our class reunions. 2012 will be our 50th class reunion. It will be so sad, not to see our school on that hill. We’re still loyal to you Lowell High!!

  11. Jessica Nunemaker

    I know! It is SUCH a neat building! I wish they would/could save it!!!

  12. I am from this town, and grew up right down the street, it is so clear that it was once beautiful. I wish the town or even the state would get going on preserving it before there is nothing left to preserve, Im only 19, I never have seen this school in the greatest condition, but I would love to be able to show my kids this piece of history one day.

  13. There are a lot of old churches and schools like this in Pittsburgh. Thankfully many are being converted into new uses while keep the beauty of the building intact. I would love to buy an old school and revitalize it into something awesome.

  14. Correction, I went to school there in 1953-1954-1954 .

  15. So sad, I went to school there 1983-84-85 .

  16. Jessica–This is but one more example of rampant regionalism in effect. With the School Consolidation moves in the middle 1960’s, many of these fine structures were razed and land-filled in favor of multi-township educational factories which are turning out students who can hardly read a stop sign. School consolidation was supposed to make the educational ambiance “better”.
    Now we are in the middle of Kernan-Shephard, which is driven by the same spirit of consolidationism, and I wonder what is going to happen next. I hope that county courthouses aren’t next in line.
    How many true leaders were turned out of these seemingly “primitive” schools? Hundreds, if not thousands.
    My alma matter was pulled down in favor of the present structure at DCHS, and the resultant demolition of the school resulted in a wake-up call to citizens of the Delphi area that other prized structures could be next, so the Delphi Preservation Society was formed up, and now we see a National Register Square, and other districts being touted on various walks.
    Thanks for highlighting one precious museum piece. I bet you could get some real stories from the locals about the building and the memories it contained. I’ll leave you with this—my favorite song mentions tearing down paradise, and replacing it with a parking lot.–Mark A. Smith.

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