Historic Ladoga Inc.
Old Normal Hall

History




Schuyler Colfax was our United States 17th
 Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant and  served from 1869 - 1873.






Ladoga Canning Company


     Central Indiana Normal School was founded by Warren Darst and W.R. Harper, two professors from Lebanon, Ohio, who opened the school in September, 1876, with 48 students in attendance.  Soon dissatisfied with the school's limited size, Darst resigned and Harper relocated with many of the students to a new school in Danville, Indiana.  Ladoga's residents rallied to build Normal Hall in 1878, hoping to attract Harper back to the school with a new structure.  Three Ladoga businessmen headed the construction committee, hiring local builder, Hiram S.  Huntington to design and build Normal Hall.  Capt. William Neff supplied and supervised the brickwork, while Mr. A.M. Scott managed the interior work.

Normal Hall is an excellent example of a transition between two popular 19th century architectural expressions, the Greek Revival and Italianate style.  The formal dedication of Normal Hall was on November 19th, 1878.  The principal speaker was the Honorable Schuyler Colfax, former Vice President of the United States. 
     Normal Hall served as the main academic facility on the campus for the next 13 years, until the final class graduated from Central Indiana Normal School in the spring of 1891.  The Town of Ladoga purchased the property and in September 1892, the building began its 25 years of serving as Ladoga's high school.

     The building was remodeled during the summer of 1907 when the building's most striking feature, its cupola/bell tower, was added at this time as a gift of Mrs. Emily Anderson Knox, the wife of Ladoga's most prominent businessman.  The building was sold to the Ladoga Canning Company for use as a storage site upon completion of a new high school on East Taylor Street in 1917.

     The property was acquired by the Indiana National Guard in 1921 and served as an Armory until January 1935, housing Company G, 151st Infantry, Indiana National Guard, a unit later redesignated Company L, 151st Infantry.

     During the 1920's, the second floor area was used as a community recreation center, including use as a roller skating rink.  Normal Hall has a long history of serving as a community meeting place.  Between 1888 and 1897, the building hosted two Civil War veterans organizations, Stonewall Jackson Camp #1 (United Confederate Veterans) and Bruce Post #273 (Grand Army of the Republic).  According to the Confederate Resource Center, located at Hill Community College in Hillsboro, Texas, Normal Hall in Ladoga is the only building in the United States known to have hosted monthly meetings of veterans from both sides of the Civil War.

     Normal Hall became the home of the newly organized American Legion Post #324 in December 1944.  It served numerous community functions, including as a meeting place for the Ladoga Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts.  However, due to its declining membership, the American Legion ceased holding meetings in Normal Hall in the mid- 1970's.  Following 20 years of deterioration, the building was turned over by the American Legion in 1989 to joint ownership of the Town of Ladoga and the Clark Township Trustee.  Historic Ladoga, Inc. was organized in the spring of 1993 after which it successfully acquired title to the property in 1994.




Old Normal Hall , August, 1997 




Old Normal Hall, August 2012




















Main Doors (looking out) Lower Level













Stair Well (standing on landing) Looking toward entrance to Banquet Room












Stair Well (standing on upper level) Looking Down at Landing

















Banquet Room (upper level) looking south west











Banquet Room (opposite wall) looking south east







Same wall with modification to fireplace and trim work partially done
















Banquet Room (north end) with beginning drywall work of exterior of kitchen
























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