Thomas Alva Edison Elementary School
Hammond, Indiana

1936 - 1991

Hammond Times Article
September 3, 1937




Edison and Morton Pupils Go Back to Classes Monday in Strange Quarters, Considering Old Portables to Which They’ve Been Accustomed; Tour of Buildings Leaves Reporter Speechless.

Times School Page Editor

     If you happen to be one of the older generation which received its education in a "little red school house," hie yourself out to either the new Edison or Morton school buildings and treat said same self to a pleasant hour or two examining these modern institutions of learning.
    These new structures – Morton in Hessville and Edison on the far south side of Hammond – are virtually identical in design and construction. Both will be occupied by pupils for the first time when classes begin Tuesday.
However, your reporter, who didn’t exactly rceived his early education in one of those tumbledown frame structures of the 19th century, was so impressed with twhat he saw when L.L. Caldwell, superintendent of school, and Donald Gavit, business manager, took him on a tour of inspection that he was literally tongue-tied – a sad state of affairs for a newspaper man.

Starts at First Floor

Fortunately, a Hammond Time staff photographer was along and his camera caught the accompanying photographs.

On the first floor of the structures, designed by the architectual firm of William S. Hutton, one finds the primary, kindergarten, shop, cafeteria and other important units of a school building.

The first room visited was the primary room with its folding-door wardrobe, which is a blackboard on the outside. Your reporter was struck dumb, you see, right off the bat. Caldwell explained that this system had been first installed in the George Rogers Clark school in Robertsdale. Individuall desks and chairs are supplied for first graders.

Across the hall is the kindergarten room. About 60 feet long and nearly half as wide, this room looks out on a court garden which is to be used exclusively by kindergarten tots for play. Beautiful flowers and plants in the garden add to its attractiveness and make it a most pleasant background for your child’s first taste of education.







Feed 174 at Once

The cafeteria, which is equipped with modern utensils of the culinary-art, can accommodate 174 persons at one time.

One of the features of the building is the "self-contained" laboratory, which will be used for all types of science studies. It is so arranged that students can complete experiments, study, work out problems and hear lectures all in the same room. It will be used for physics, chemistry, biology and general science studies. The drain on the laboratory desks is one which Caldwell designed and one which is expected to eliminate a lot of plumbing expense.

Likewise in the social science room, where much of the study will be done over maps, charts and various statistical reports, the seating has been arranged so that pupils will sit at tables with individual chairs. The arrangement is such that the tables can be moved in a jiffy so that conference groups can go over a particular phase of some knotty problem.

Caldwell then took the visitors to the library, which is sound-proof so well that one can hear a pin drop. The room is 95 feet long and 28 feet wide and will be equipped with several thousand books.

Wishes School Would Hurry

It is the cooking room which really attracts the girl pupils. There were several prospective cooking students looking on as your reporter and photographer were shown this room with its apple green and white color scheme. Every stove and table top is chip-proof enamel.

Little Mildred Danich of 835 169th Street who will be in the seventh grade this year at Edison, aptly described the feeling of most of the girls when she looked over the cooking room and said, "Gee, I wish school would hurry up and start."

The auditorium, which seats 576 persons, is sound-proof and has separate entrances, can be used for a study hall if the school ever becomes over-crowded. Every other seat is equipped with arm desks. The auditorium at Edison has deep blue velvet drapes, while at Morton wine color predominates. The seats are the most comfortable which could be purchased with soft cushions lining the backs and bottoms.

Gym Seats 650

The gymnasium, which can be divided by a removable partition to form a boys guy and a girls gym is large and roomy, with a large basketball floor and modern folding bleachers seating about 650 spectators.

There are approximately 1,500 lockers in the dressing rooms with modern shower baths adjoining both girls’ and boys’ locker rooms.



Other lockers for books and clothing are located in the second and third floors and each is equipped with a combination lock. However, a master key held by the principal opens all lockers.

The shop, where boys will study numerous vocational subjects, is equipped with a tool room and machinery, lockers where each boy may store his projects and automatic water fountains. It has a wood block floor, so designed to protect tools from nicking if they are dropped, and is shut off from the rest of the building by heavy doors to prevent the sound of machines and other noises from disturbing other pupils.

All Space Used

The band room, also sound-proof, and the uniform and instrument room are located under the auditorium stage on the lower floor. Members of the band will be able to leave their room and go up a back stairway to the stage without going through the auditorium.

In using every bid of space available, the architects also designed three dressing rooms to be used in theatricals by the youthful stars. Just like in the theater, the dressing rooms are under the stairs, too.

There will be 35 teachers for the Edison school and a few less for Morton. Rest rooms are provided for the men and women teachers. Each class room – there are 36 – has a teachers’ locker and combination supplies and book case.

All lighting in the building is indirect, which is considered easier on youthful eyes. Although not air-conditioned, the structures are equipped with a ventilation system second to none.

Sell Old Buildings

Your reporter could go on and mention other features of teh buildings, but time is short and space is limited. However, you should know that James Baldwin will be principal at the new Edison school, assisted by Miss Nancy Foster. Gilbert Best, former director at Washington and one time Goodland, Ind., coach, will be director of athletics. Carl Spencer will continue as principal at Morton, with Tom Antonides, former Thornton Fractional cage coach, taking over the duties of athletic director.

What? The old Edison portable buildings? Oh, Gavit said, they are selling those off for garages, kindling or whatever the purchaser wants to do with them.

Hammond is getting rid of its wood (fire trap) school houses.

The Hammond Times,
September 3, 1937