The year was 1924 and there was a college at 23rd & Alabama Streets? How fascinating that this was what qualified a person to become a teacher and look at these disciplines. My how times have changed. As reader & researcher Sharon went to the trouble of finding out, this was evidently on the northeast corner at 23rd & Alabama. Interesting comments by both Sharon and Tom. Thanks!
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Tiffany Benedict Browne
Tiffany Benedict Browne is the founder and driving force behind HistoricIndianapolis.com. She's an 8th generation Hoosier and loves learning, sharing and inspiring Indy's stories.
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Eliza Blaker probably did more for early childhood education than any other one person in Indianapolis. She died a few years after this ad and this school became part of Butler. http://goo.gl/D0J99
The Teachers College of Indianapolis, which was often referred to as Madame Blaker’s Teachers College, was thought to have prepared as many as 20,000 women to become teachers over the years of its existence. It was founded in 1882 by Eliza Ann Blaker (1854-1926), who devoted her life to the education of Indianapolis’ children during the late 1800s and early 1900s. She combined the roles of philanthropist, social reformer, and educator to start a free kindergarten program in Indianapolis, as well as to establish a college to prepare teachers. In its early years, the training was done in her own private home. Eventually, a facility was built at 2301 N. Alabama Street (on the northeast corner). Today that location is a newer single-family residence in the Fall Creek Place neighborhood. Eliza Blaker was said to have been to Indianapolis what Jane Addams had been to Chicago. She was so revered that an Eliza A. Blaker Club was founded after her death, which carried on in her memory for a number of years. Eliza and her businessman husband Louis resided at several North Meridian Street addresses over the years of their marriage. Widowed in 1913, Eliza then moved to a more modest home just a few doors north of the Teachers College. She still resided at 2327 N. Alabama Street at the time of her death. Madame Blaker’s Teachers College was eventually absorbed by the College of Education at Butler University. A collection of her books, letters, manuscripts, poems, speeches, photos, etc., is housed in the Irwin Library at Butler University. IPS School 55 at 1349 East 54th Street is named for Eliza Blaker.
On the human interest side, once the school moved to within a few blocks of their second home at 24th and Meridian her husband, Louis, would walk Eliza to work, carrying her books for her like they were still school kids, before going to his own job downtown. Then he would return in time to walk his beloved wife, whom he called “Sis”, home in the afternoon. Following Louis’s death in 1913, her friends noted that she spent many hours just sitting beside his grave at the foot of Crown Hill. On December 6, 1926, she was laid to rest at his side.
This article is definitely worth following! This college was (maybe) attempting to “fill the gap” in higher educational opportunities in Indianapolis with no public university in the state capital (unlike, say, Columbus Ohio, for instance…)
Emma Lou Thornbrough, a political science professor at Butler University, wrote a biography of Eliza Blaker in 1956. It’s titled Eliza A. Blaker: Her Life and Work and was published by the Eliza Blaker Club. Thornbrough was a graduate of Shortridge High School and garnered many awards during her years of teaching at Butler. She was well noted for her knowledge of black Indiana history.
You can still sometimes find that booklet at used bookstores. I have a copy myself.
An excellent follow-up!
I just checked Google and Bing maps to have a look at what is now located at 2320 N. Meridian Street (the address at which Louis and Eliza Blaker resided for many years). Their home was where the Mercedes-Benz dealership is today.
I didn’t know if a search would bring up Madam Blaker’s Teacher College, or not, and much to my delight I found this site and the iteresting comments! My mother, Eva Sawyer Lawler, operated a private kindergarten just north of the building the college was in. When the college was disbanded, she purchased little kidergarten chairs & tables from the college. I still have one of the tables and 6 of the chairs, which have been painted and repainted many times over the years. I am going to put the chairs on eBay. FYI, after the college left, the building was bought by the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church and was used as a church and school for many years. It also contained apartments where church personnel lived.