Local school system sprang from the Clay
By KEVIN LEININGER
from the archives of The News-Sentinel
The Clay School opened on Feb. 9 1857, at the corner of Clay Street and Washington Boulevard. It was the first school ever built by the fledgling Fort Wayne public schools system.
The 573-student school was built on land acquired for $1,300 and cost just $10,000 to erect. Its opening, understandably, was a significant occasion for young Fort Wayne.
The Fort Wayne Sentinel reported the opening ceremony this way: ``The large building was densely crowded with ladies and gentlemen ... the school is a beautiful and spacious building ... strict order and discipline must be observed. This is a fact parents should impress upon their children.''
The saga of Clay School doesn't end there, though.
Just like the phoenix, the Clay School rose from its own ashes. A new 12-room, $43,000 brick school was completed later in 1894 at the same location.
The reborn school, however, was vacant within 30 years. The school system closed its doors after the 1927-1928 school year because the administration considered the school a fire trap.
The administration's caution was well-founded. Like its predecessor, the second Clay School was consumed by fire in 1931. The land was finally sold to two Fort Wayne attorneys in 1944.
June 19, 1982