Many from the MHS Class of 1968 were at
Main Junior High School for 7th and 8th grades. Students
fed into Main from Battell, Mary Phillps, LaSalle, and
Bingham. In recent years, the school building has been
converted into 32 apartments for persons 55 years old and
older. The building opened for occupancy in December
2012. Eve Thompson arranged a Saturday morning tour of
common areas of the building and a tour of an unoccupied
Photo above shows the basement of the old Main Junior
High. On the basement level, we had gym, the gym showers,
Mr. Wellborn's shop class, and the cooking class with its
Photo above shows the first floor. Victoria Long, Mary
Jane Dexter, and Peggy Sinkovics are standing in front of
the area near the old principal's office. Looking
straight down the wide hall towards the window with the
two sets of stairs on either side, look to the left to
see a set of stairs that led up to the office of one of
two "guidance counselors." It was one of those
"guidance counselors" who advised Cosimo Natali
and Mike Natali not to take college prep or
pre-engineering classes at Mishawaka High, because
"they will be too hard for you." Cosimo and
Mike are twins. Their first language was not English;
thus, when they were young, they did not test well on
standardized tests that measured English verbal skills.
Cosimo and Mike graduated as co-valedictorians at
Mishawaka High and went on to graduate from Purdue with
perfect 4.0 grade point averages.
Going down those stairs on the left
side of the wide hall would take you out what then was
the front door of the school building, where a bus would
be waiting at the end of the school day. It cost ten
cents to ride the school bus, and many along the bus
route walked two or three miles rather than pay the ten
Standing in front of art work in the main hall of the
first floor, from left: Peggy Sinkovics, Victoria Long,
Eve Thompson, Pam Craig, Mike Natali, Mary Jane Dexter,
Cosimo Natali, Bill Hickey, Alice Marie Beard, Pete
Dexter (MHS '67).
Artist is Robert Bloss, a resident of the apartment
More art in the halls of the building:
Artist of the above is Terry Nash. Title: "Images
from St. Michael's Church and Buetter Park." 2012.
Acyrylic on canvas. Suppose the real intended title
mentions St. Monica's Church, rather than "St.
Michael's Church"? Or is the artist intending
something with the name of a church that does not exist
Photo above: From the first floor, looking down the
stairs and onto Hill Street, on the east of the building.
The stairs had a "going up" side and a
"going down" side. And if a child went up the
down stairs, it was an excuse for punishment by those in
the school who had the legal right to hit kids.
"Corporal punishment" was common at Main Junior
High School with adult men hitting young teenage boys.
Fist fights among teenage boys were common. Some might
suggest that there was a correlation. The men who ruled
the building never seemed to see the correlation, and so
the men kept hitting the boys, and the boys kept hitting
each other. By the time many of those boys got to
Mishawaka High, they hated school and all that it stood
for. And, sadly, many who had been hit by administrators
and teachers just left school.
Photo above: 2nd floor main hall, looking west.
Photo above: 3rd floor. The 3rd floor was a large open
area used as a dance floor, with a stage at the north
end. The only classrooms were on the south side -- a row
of class rooms used for sewing classes and music classes.
With the renovation, the new hallway created is of more
typical width for an apartment building.
Photo above: That is an inclined ramp up to the area
where the stage used to be. Part of the area of the old
stage is used for storage.
Photo above: Looking down from the 3rd floor, on the Hill
Street side of the building.
Photo above: Art from Robert Bloss giving the rule of the
building: No Smoking. No! No! No!
From a December 4, 2012, news release
from the City of Mishawaka:
This property was the site of
the first Mishawaka High School, which was once
located in the adjacent parking lot immediately to
the north. This building was constructed as a
replacement and was the second official High School
for the City between 1910 and 1924. Once the current
Mishawaka High School was completed in 1924, this
building served as Mishawaka Main Junior High for
approximately 50 years until being sold to the
Mishawaka Furniture Store in the 1970s. The property
was purchased by the City of Mishawaka in 2009 for
this adaptive re-use project. The project was
envisioned to complement the surrounding neighborhood
by making a residential use out of the then blighted
-- photos by Pam Craig