Restoring history, one brick at a time!
The Morris Schoolhouse has a rich history as one of over 100 regional schoolhouses. This modest schoolhouse was constructed in 1879 and operated for nearly 40 years. The Morris Schoolhouse was lucky to have Lynn Cason become its caretaker in 1964.
When Cason decided to sell the schoolhouse's land, he was determined not to leave the building behind. The parcel of land east of the original building location was donated to the Foundation and, with community support, moved the schoolhouse to its new home. Led by past Foundation board member Sue Eiler, community members, and volunteers rallied together to restore the building for future educational programming.
Known initially as Wabash Township School No. 5, the schoolhouse operated until 1916, when school consolidation made it obsolete. The modest exterior—brick walls atop a rubble stone foundation, capped by a gabled roof—encloses a rectangular room with plastered brick walls. The structure remained empty, and the property owner, Lynn Cason, kept the schoolhouse dry and sealed to prevent further decay. When Mr. Cason sold land to Franciscan Heath, he and other community advocates, like our past Foundation board member Sue Eiler, came together to pave a path to preserve the structure.
Mr. Cason donated 13.6 acres along Cumberland Avenue, just east of its previous site, to the Parks and Recreation Foundation as the catalyst to preserve a piece of West Lafayette history. The Parks and Recreation Foundation launched a brick campaign to raise funds to relocate and restore the schoolhouse. From Foundation donors and support from the City of West Lafayette, $80,000.00 was raised, proving that the community truly makes an impact.
We are excited to announce that Cason Family Park, the home of Morris Schoolhouse, will start construction in the summer of 2023! An additional 13.9 acres were purchased in 2021, doubling the park's size. Through the West Lafayette Redevelopment Commission's support, design, and approval of the final construction price was reached in May of 2023. Amenities will include nature-play, inclusive, themed play areas, a boathouse with water recreational activities, an event pavilion, shelters, and an outdoor classroom at Morris Schoolhouse.