the little school on the summit

In Tippecanoe Township, of Marshall County there's a place where Highway 10 makes a steep climb above the Tippecanoe River valley is known as Summit Hill, the edge of a glacial moraine. And on Summit Hill in 1844, the township's first burial ground began, along with the township's first school and church. From this point you can get a magnificent 270 degree panoramic view of the valley below you, and it's quite something to imagine the pioneers looking down on Chief Benack's village of Pottawatomie camped near the Tippy to the south.

The first school was a log structure that burned and was replaced with a frame building in about 1860. It's been told that windows on the west side of the building were closed in because children were too distracted with funerals in the cemetery around the building; having been on the hill during a cold west wind, I think it may have been for other reasons! And it's also rumor, undocumented, that an Indian brave is buried in the cemetery who was a scout for the U.S. Cavalry. Tyler McWhorter, who died in 1858, was a veteran of the Mexican War. While the little white schoolhouse has gone through some renovations that removed the bell tower and added the front vestibule, it still embodies life in pioneer days. A faithful group of volunteers cared for the structure for many years after school consolidation, and today, having been restored by a local organization, the building has invited school children, young and old, and community folk back for ice cream socials and chili suppers.

The schoolhouse was rededicated in 2004 with over 120 people in attendance, including three former coming from Florida, who was the last pupil to attend through the 8th grade. The Summit School & cemetery were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in June of this year. Many more years to her!


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