Its goal was to graduate young ladies with a full college course, and prepare young men for the higher classes in universities.
The Rockport Collegiate Institute formally opens in September with 50 students.
Prof. W. S. Hooper, of Rome Academy, Perry County, Indiana, was appointed Principal. One of his assistants was Miss Sue Hooper, sister of the Principal. The photo on the left is Perry County Courthouse, Rome, Indiana, in 2005. This building is similar to the many early schools in the state. The photo on the right is Mr. and Mrs. Hooper.
First term - 87 students; second term - 135 students.
The building was a brick structure, 50 by 70 feet, three stories high, with a large bell-tower on top. It contained eight rooms. Hallways running north and south separated the rooms on the east from those on the west. It faced Walnut Street on the north.
The second floor contained two rooms. One a recitation room (possibly Armory Hall which may have been in the Rockport Opera House on Third Street) (In 2015, Armory Hall was found to be located in the IOOF Building at the corner of Fifth and Main Streets in Rockport. Both Armory Hall and the Opera House were used for school events.), and the other a library.
The third floor was a dormitory.
A frame addition was built on the west side for a dining room and kitchen.
This rare photo, taken before 1878, shows the south side of R.H.S. Note the kitchen and cafeteria on the left or west side. There are students looking out of the second floor windows.
A two-story addition was added in 1893. It was torn down around 1957, and is now the site of the Methodist parsonage.
Hosea Merithew was the grandfather of Miss Lillie Peckinpaugh who attended and taught at the school for almost 40 years. Hosea and Arnold Merithew also built the Trinity Methodist Church in 1868 - 1869.
Two literary societies were formed - Philomatian and Platonian.
The first graduating class of Rockport Collegiate Institute - Maggie Sabin and Betty Veatch.
By this purchase, the Seminary High School was moved to the College Building. The Seminary became the local grade center.
The dining room and kitchen addition was torn down.
(We are in search of any photos of the building. Some pictures have been found in yearbooks that show the building in the background. If anyone has a photo of it, please contact Raymond Dawson.)
A concrete walk was laid around the college block.
What the Beeches Saw, by Eugenie Strassell, Class of 1916, R.H.S. Beech Leaves 1916. With a comment by Kate Milner Rabb, R.H.S. Class of 1882, author, columnist, and historian.
According to the September 24, 1920, Rockport Democrat, Dale schools organized its first girls basketball team with Eugenia Strassell as coach.
In modern times no school is complete without an auditorium and gymnasium. Our auditorium has a seating capacity of 1,000 and is equipped with the best opera chairs that can be bought. (We believe these were folding chairs--ed.)
The 40 x 22 foot stage has three curtains depicting a home scene, a garden scene, and a city scene. This work was donated by George Honig, well known artist and a former student of R.H.S. There are red, white, and blue lights also and behind the curtains are lockers providing ample space for storing stage equipment.
The basketball playing floor is 70 x 40 feet--that is regulation size.
In 1927, the zebra was adopted as the mascot of the school. The newspaper article said, "when you have seen them in their new suits they will easily show the reason for Zebras".
School To Have Honor Day
R. H. S. will probably set aside a portion of some day toward the close of school this year for honoring those students who have done worthy achievements during the year and brought honor to the school. Many schools observe such a day at the close of the year, but R. H. S. has never done so before.
Junior-Senior Prom To Replace Dance
Instead of having the usual commencement dance, plans are being made for a junior-senior prom. This dance will be strictly invitational. Two of the most popular and prettiest girls from each of the two classes will be chosen and one of these elected as prom queen by those with invitations. A committee has also been appointed to get an orchestra.
Front view in 1938 yearbook.
Northwest View Through the Beeches
Last was the football game at the Fairgrounds. It's believed the opponent was Chrisney High School. Watch for the corn cracker mill on Lake Alda in the background and the bandstand. Halftime entertainment was provided by R.H.S. marching band and cheerleaders.
YouTube video of football game, best quality, 2 1/2 minutes, broadband recommended.
Streaming video of football game, .wmv, 27MB, 2 1/2 minutes, broadband recommended.
Movie of football game, .mpg, 13MB, 2 1/2 minutes, lower resolution, broadband recommended.
Cartoon from 1947 Yearbook entitled Someday They Will Grow Up showing the fire escape, benches, and lamp posts.
The National Honor Society was formed. Pins were funded by the Student Council selling Zebra schedules.
The Letterman's Club was formed.
The seating capacity of the gym was increased to 1,820 and the basketball playing floor is regulation size--78 x 50 feet, overall 90 x 55 feet.
Rockport-Ohio Township Schools integrate high school. Sumner High School, grades 9 and 10, closes and the black students of the community begin attending Rockport High School.
Seventh and eighth grades from Silverdale, South Central, and Rockport moved into the old Rockport High School building.
Old Rockport High School building was renamed Kennedy Building in August to reduce confusion between the two buildings.
Rockport-Ohio Township Schools integrate grade schools. Sumner School closes and the black students of the community begin attending the public schools.
The sunken tennis and basketball courts were filled-in for a parking lot.
The original old Rockport Collegiate Institute building was torn down. An effort was made to find the corner stone, but it could not be located.
They were done by noted Australian, Don Cowan, who was studying and teaching in Tucson, Arizona.
This painting of Kennedy hangs in the South Spencer County School Board room.
The above two paintings are hanging in the
Luce Township High School and Rockport High School formed South Spencer High School in the fall of 1965. The first South Spencer High School class graduated in 1966. Classes were held in the high school building on Fifth Street.
There were two junior high schools: Harris Junior High School at Richland and Rockport Junior High School in the old Kennedy Building.
There were three elementary schools: Grandview Elementary, Rockport Elementary, and Luce Elementary. Grandview Elementary closed in 1972.
Harris Junior High in Richland and Rockport Junior High moved into the high school building on South Fifth Street.
The left column, donated by the Class of 1932, and a bench from the Class of 1928 is all that remains of the original campus.
Renovations being made to the back of Rockport Elementary in May, 2007. The foundation showing is sandstone and is believed to be from the old 1865 Collegiate Institute.
Another view of the foundation. This shows a right angle. It is unknown what this angle represents.
This photo shows the old columns at the end of the walk that led to the entrance to the old college building. Greenwood Avenue "T's" into Walnut Street in the background. A new road from the parking lot will run into Greenwood Avenue.
A measurement was taken from the walk to the foundation. It matches the width, 70 feet, of the Collegiate Institute building described in History of Warrick, Spencer and Perry Counties, Indiana and is believed to be the west wall.
This photo has lines to show the location of the foundation. It was made of several layers of brick. The building had an irregular shape and the foundation was not entirely exposed during the excavation. Measurements were taken of the exposed wall and were approximately 40 feet by 50 feet.
This photo has lines to show the location of the foundation. The picture was taken facing Sixth Street. The whitish area is the location of the building. The black area to the south is probably coal or ash from the furnace that heated the building.
This photo taken January 31, 2013 shows the columns of the old Rockport Collegiate Institute. Only the left column is original. The lights are nonfunctioning reproductions.
This picture shows what is believed to be the last of the original barberry plants. Two flanked the sidewalk some distance up from the 1928 benches. A tree is growing in the middle of the barberry. Both 1928 benches are gone, the last destroyed by construction in 2007. The concrete bench in the photo is a newer production.
Selection from History of Warrick, Spencer and Perry Counties, Indiana, Goodspeed, 1885.
Selection from History of the Academies of Indiana, by John Hardin Thomas, 1914 Master Thesis, Indiana University.