Known at various times as District School No. 3, Election School, and Martin School, this historic brick schoolhouse has been carefully restored and furnished by the Mullin family to resemble a one-room school as it would have looked in the late 1800s. Standing inside the brick building today, visitors can almost hear the voices of school children as they recite their lessons. The building was used as a school from 1874 to 1901. The name Election was sometimes used because it was also used as a polling place. The Martin family owned adjacent farmland, and the immediate area was called Martin's Crossing on the interurban railroad line nearby.
The school is located at County Roads 750 N and 100 W at the west edge of Liberty Township, near State Road 25 between Rockfield and Burrows. It was built by Rock Creek Township Trustee Lewis Mullin in 1874, the same year classes began at Purdue University. The building was originally in the eastern half of Rock Creek Township. In 1938 the county commissioners split the area at 100 W between Rock Creek and Liberty Townships; that was in an effort to settle a battle on school consolidation. Nearby to the northwest was a frame structure, then a stable, which had served as the predecessor to Martin School.
In 1904, after the school was closed, Wilson A. Martin acquired the land and later deeded it to Mabel J. Mullin and Dr. Herbert Y. Mullin. On February 19, 1966, the land was deeded to Robert L. and Marjorie Mullin Wasson. It then became storage for grain until about 1950. It was vacant and deteriorating for 35 years until the Mullins restored it. In 1985, the Wassons gave 3/4 of an acre to Lewis N. Mullin and son William L. Mullin, Keith Mullin, and Wayne Mullin if they would restore the school building.
Attorney Lewis N. Mullin and wife, Hazel, and Mabel Benner Mullin had the task of finding authentic 1874 - 1900 furnishings. The one-room schools were usually sparsely decorated except for pictures of George Washington and Abe Lincoln. Three types of desks, the earliest ones being two seaters, each more progressive in size than the next, were lined up to face the teacher's desk in front. An average of 20 - 25 students from grades one through eight filled the schoolhouse. A pot-bellied stove warmed the room, and an organ sat in the corner used for group singing and socials. Some of the walls had slate blackboards. A dunce cap was on a stool in one corner awaiting an unprepared scholar.
The textbooks used at that time were McGuffey Readers, Snider's Union Reader, Eagan's Common School Arithmetic, Ray's Arithmetic, Blue Back Speller, and Warren's Geography. Between 1836 and 1900 over one-half of the schools used the McGuffey Readers. An original McGuffey Reading Chart was in the school.
The Martin School was put on the National Register of Historic Places on March 31, 1988, mostly because of its Gothic ceiling, windows, and woodwork trim. The one-room schools served the people well. They met the needs of the time and laid the foundation for the finest citizenry of any age.
The Carroll County 132nd Old Settlers meeting was held in the school in August 8, 1987, with over 80 in attendance. The building held many meetings, tours, and other functions in the ensuing years. In April 2013, the Mullin family gifted the building and land to The Friends of Carroll County Parks. The Friends now offer the school for tours and events, carrying on the traditions and plans of the Mullin family. In 2015 The Andersons gave a grant to finance a picnic shelter and tables as well as a wood-enclosed portable toilet. The hope is that with signage, the site will become used as a wayside park only a half mile from the new SR 25, the Hoosier Heartland Highway.
For information about group tours, email email@example.com or call 765-438-5908.