Old Marquette School
1905 College Avenue, South Bend
Thinking Outside the Box
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal — a massive make-work program to pull the country out of the Depression — paid nearly half the cost to build Marquette School at 1905 College Avenue in 1936-37. In 2011, the school system opened a new school north of the old one.
The replacement plan had been underway for years, so the old school was long neglected before it was emptied, with demolition expected as its ultimate fate. The building won National Register status in 2013 over the school system’s objection. Now it undergoes slow demolition by neglect.
Solidly constructed of steel and concrete with brick facades and limestone trim in the Collegiate Gothic style, Old Marquette has the usual classrooms and gym, and a 683-seat auditorium with stage lights and a projection booth. Reliefs of seated figures decorate each corner of the limestone main entrance. Additions in 1948 and 1953 enlarged the school.
“We hope to save the school system the considerable cost of demolition by identifying a developer who can repurpose the landmark, an aim the 10 Most attention will help us accomplish,” says Todd Zeiger, director of Indiana Landmarks’ northern office in South Bend.
Saving threatened buildings takes teamwork. You can be a part of that team. Reach out to local leaders. Let them know these buildings are important to you. And support state and local preservation groups.