A few months ago, the search was on for John Dillinger’s beginnings; he was born here after all. The house in which he was born is no longer standing, but the elementary school he entered in 1908 at age 5–though no longer used as a school–still exists.  You must wonder when someone becomes famous or infamous and what role place played in the development and trajectory of a life. While the influence of parents and family is of paramount importance, the experience of the outside world also helps shape and mold people become, on a daily basis. It’s fair to ponder which kernels of his youth transformed him into the tragic and notorious criminal he would become–and we have to ask did this place have a hand in that somehow?

Public School 38, the John James Audubon School  has been altered since it was first designed by Louis Henry Gibson.

On the near eastside in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood at 2050 North Winter Avenue, the building looks like it could use some TLC–like so many others.  There are a few old school buildings you’ll see around town that have stunning architectural features, but may lack future direction. In the case of this building, who knows?

The warm and friendly neighbor I encountered who now maintains the old school’s lawns said he had lived on the street his whole life, as did his grandparents. The whizzing sounds of nearby I-70 looks to have hit this area heavily–lots of missing housing stock and feeling somewhat forgotten. And unless you live or lived there, I’m guessing that will continue to be the case. Yep, Sunday Prayers are in order for this school and the families who live near it.

51 responses to “Sunday Prayers: Public School 38- Dillinger’s Elementary”

  1. Uncle Dave OSborn says:

    ““` Are those BABY TREES growing above the doors? Please tell me they’re potted plants on some tenant’s “terrace” —

  2. Tom Davis says:

    I did a little bit of that kind of search a year or two ago in Chicago. Turns out the “Lady in Red”, Anna Sage, lived awhile right across the street from where my son now lives, and Harry Pierpont lived on next street over in the same block. The Biograph has also been nicely restored in the past few years and is being used for plays, etc. Last time we drove by, a Port A John for some construction workers was pretty much on the spot where Dillinger had fallen after he was shot.

  3. Tiffany Benedict Berkson says:

    They are definitely some kind of greenery, not sure which, but since there are no tenants, I’m opting for bird gift on that…

  4. Jeff Downer Indianapolis says:

    You got me. I thought at first glance they had named a elementary school after John Dillinger. lol

  5. Judy Doss McCreary says:

    Hi, I lived at 2041 N. Keystone all my life. I went to school 38 from K-8th grade. Our old house is gone to make room for I-70. It was such a pretty place to live and grow up, now it’s slums. I remember Dillinger’s Store very well. Later it became Wysong’s market. We would walk to Brightwood on Sat. Such memories. We now live in Tn. I went back to look a couple of years ago and just wanted to cry.

  6. Geoff Coryell says:


    Would you mind recalling where the Dillinger grocery store (or Wysong’s Market) was located? Do you recall it being at the north end of Winter Ave., where it meets Bloyd Ave.? The old address was 2210 Bloyd Ave.
    Any other memories are appreciated. Digging these places up is much fun.


  7. Cynthia Lynn Stigger says:

    On Saturday September 21, 2013 School #38 wil be having an all class reunion at the school
    11:00 a.m.until 7:00 p.m. $5.00 for students and $8.00 for non-students

  8. Judith (Doss) McCreary says:

    I went K-8th grade at school 38. It was a great school. I lived one block over at 2041 N. Keystone. till 1968. Dillenger’s store sat at the corner of Roosevelt and Winter.

  9. Cynthia Lynn Stigger says:

    Do stop by and please spread the word. I am filming a documentary of the neighborhood as well as writing a movie script

  10. Darlene( Kizzee ) Newby says:

    I lived at 2024 N. Keystone right on the corner of Keystone and Fernway . I went to 38 from 4th to 8th grade. I remember Wysongs market had the best bolongia I’ve ever had. loved the area then not so much there now. those were the best times. My granddad owned and lived on the other side of the double.Looking forward to the school reunion.

  11. Larry Tiller says:

    Is the reunion on Sat. Sept 21st for school 38 for all past years –1960’s

  12. Judith (Doss) McCreary says:

    Dillinger Market was on the corner of Winter Ave And Roosevelt. Cliff Dillinger lived behind it, his wife’s name was Rose. Later in years she worked at Lorton’s laundry.

  13. Judith (Doss) McCreary says:

    Does anyone remember Kettering’s Market? It was on the corner of Tacoma and Roosevelt.

  14. Cynthia Lynn stigger says:

    This Saturday September 21st. School 38 all class reunion. Anybody that attened 38 whether it was for a week or 8 years, all are invited including John dillinger. Lol

  15. michael gray says:

    I went to school #38 in kindergarden and first grade 1965-67 kindergarden teacher mrs collie

  16. michael gray says:

    I attended #38 65-67. I am currently writing a my bio, and I am including school 38 in the first parts.. I lived on hill side and walked to school 2 or 3 blocks away.

  17. michael gray says:

    I know what you mean I went back this last year October and couldn’t believe how run down the school was, but I still wanted to go inside.

  18. Dawn (Akin) King says:

    I went to school #38 1st through 6th when they closed. I would love to know if they do a all class reunion this year. If so I will let my sisters and brother know as well it would be great.

  19. Dawn (Akin) King says:


  20. Marshall Tweedy says:

    We attended a Brightwood reunion a couple of years ago. It was held at the vfw on English Ave. Want to know about this years. Can anyone tell me about this years affair or where to get info pn it. Does anyone remember me . Moved there Christmas day 1950. My family was there and mom til she s
    died in 1987. My sister also Gladys and Bill Daugherty. Til tjey died a few years ago
    They were brave soles.My wife and I and our daughter got out in about 1962, but we still went there. I ran around there with alot of friends there til abt 1980,s to take a wild guess. Yeah my family lived aroumd the Rail Club and The Brightspot. Please answer at Face Book if you can.It is now mine but is still in her name Judy Lasnicka Tweedy
    Not getting email for some reason.The addy is all mixed up. But tp try itis Probably best to yry facebook though

  21. Luke Buck says:

    My family attended school 38 starting with my Mother in the 1920, 30’s sister in the 40’s and me and my brothers in the 50’s & 60′. & Yes I remember Ketterings Market,, and the Pop Corn factory right behind it.

  22. Luke Buck says:

    we lived on Temple Ave just off of Roosevelt AV

  23. eugene r cordell says:

    My Dad went to school 38 with old John Dillinger in 1912, and I went there in 1935-1944 sure enjoy the pictures of the school, I lived at 2048 N. Keystone Ave. across from Judy Doss there are still a few people who went to old 38, and most of the 1930-1960 still are connected. I am now age 85, and still remember grade school, and Tech. John got in with a bad group in Mooreville, In. which was a Quaker area, I still have friends in Mooresville, and still have things I bought at Roosevelt Drug store, my sister went to school with Judy Doss.

  24. Sharron (Sheffield) Willingham says:

    I went to school 38 from 3rd – 8th grade and was always a little afraid of Mrs.Ruth! Darlene Kizzee was my best friend. I would love to hear from you. My email is We now live in Florida, but do make it back up there pretty often.

  25. Ruthie( Lagle) Hammond says:

    Hi Judy, I remember you well. I lived at 2229 N. Keystone Avenue.
    Over the tracks.

  26. Barbara says:

    I went to school 38, k-3rd grade, lived across the street on keystone next to the yellow building in front of the tracks. Then we moved to the corner of bloyd & keystone across from the white building, my dad worked there. It was a polishing company.

  27. Rusty Burns says:

    I went to #38 from k-8 grade ! 64-72 then to Tech ! Lived on corner of Bloyd across from school ! Lived at 2001 Tacoma until interstate took it ! Would like to visit with some ole school mates out there !

  28. Rusty Burns says:

    They were some great times back in the day !

  29. Howard E Martin,Sr says:

    I went to School #38, back in the 50s I went all the way through 8th grade, I was 5yrs old when I started school , I remember a few of My teachers, We lived on Langley avenue, it seemed like a long walk to and from school especially in the winter, We walked home for lunch then back to school, My Aunt and Uncle Lived on Tacoma,,When I was about 5th grade I was a traffic boy , I can remember a few of My class mates , As I look back Those were the most care free days I had, I would like to revisit the old school again, But I live so far away , One of My favorite things was when My mother would go down town Indianapolis, She dident drive , And I would go with Her, We would catch a Trolley on Rosevelt avenue, I loved to ride tward the back and watch the sparks fly from the overhead wires that ran the trollieys

  30. Helen Lagle Williamson says:

    Grew up at 22nd and keystone . Attended school 38, kindergarten through eighth grade . Graduated in 1962. I remember most of the teachers , especially the principal Helen Gray. My dad went to school there as a kid and she was one of his teachers . My grandfather had a neighborhood grocery store at Ingram and Roosevelt . Chester and Hazel Lagle – C & H grocery . As time went on , so many kids I knew moved away from the neighborhood . Coming from a family of 12, we were poor but didn’t realize how poor other families were too . I would love to go back and be able to see inside the school . Lot of memories there . Missed reunion- wasn’t aware of it.

  31. Cynthia Stigger says:

    I started out in the Little White House, all the way through 8th grade. 1962 – 1971. I founded the all class reunion, which is held on the schools parking, lot.
    I plan to start a web page where we can post school pictures for school #38 students only.

  32. Carl B. Johnson says:

    Will there be reunion this year ( 2017 ) ? went there in 1959 earile 60/s also went to the old Winter Ave Church of the Nazarene as well .

  33. Fred Vanlandingham says:

    I went to #38 K-8th. Then I went to Tech for 4 yrs. I lived as far away from #38 as you could go. I lived next to the railroad at 1905 N Tacoma. If you remember the corner of Valley and Tacoma by underpass my house was the white one on the hill.
    I been reading the posts and I remember Brad Buck and I played on the school bb team with his older brother Paul. I remember Judy Doss that has commented on here.
    I lived 1 block from Ketterings Market and the popcorn man. There was a man that had a ice cream business that lived at the first house south of the corner of Tacoma & Roosevelt. Later a family by the name of French moved in.
    I seen a post from a guy whose name was Maple. Did you have any family that lived on Langley.
    It is a small world. I went to work a Ma Bell after Tech and I removed a lot of the telephone equipment from the houses that was in the path of I 70.

    Enough thinking for now of the good days
    Fred Vanlandingham

  34. Gregory Kenny says:

    I attended school 38 from 70-77 i was there near the end when they closed the school One on my favorite memories was of the seniors walking the hallways and singing the school song when they graduated. does anybody remember the school song..

    ” Hail to the 38 school we appreciate your precepts we hold high sing your praises to the sky, onward and forward to we pledge our hearts to you onward to victory hail all hail to thee RAH RAH RAH!

    i know some of the lyrics may be a little off but i remember how much I admired those seniors as they walked the halls and sang that school song

  35. Kenny Gordon says:

    my name is Kenny Gordon. i went to school#38, from 62-67. i remember you Cynthia stigger. i believe you had a brother named Michael. left school 38, and went to #51. i still drive by, to my old neighborhoods. they were the best times of my life.

  36. CHARLES GINN says:

    I too went to school # 38,in the 50’s,as did my father,uncle,cousins ,brother and sisters. I don’t remember but a few teachers names,but I do remember me Gray .I thought she was mean.We lived at 2053 Caroline Ave.,right behind the school. Thanks Chuck Ginn

  37. Dolores. Darby. Sims Harbor says:

    I was surprised school 38 is still standing. I went there when I was five years old up until I was 9 years old. Mrs oliny was our teacher I remember. Little rugs we took naps on the floor. Those were the days. I use to play jacks on the steps with my girl friends. I lived at 2174. Eastern ave. Now it’s gone for hwy 70 to go through. Wonderful memories of Shoe string park . My sister and I would walk to the park and swing and play in the sand box. Green grass and sunshine is all we needed to have a good day. Childhood friends was Rolly and Nick Sims . Orval Frakes., Sharon hawkins Those were the days of ole.

  38. Joyce says:

    Does anyone remember Mrs. Fishers the music teacher at #38?

  39. John U Miller says:


    I lived on Fernway near Tacoma. We probably had the same teachers

    John Miller

  40. John U Miller says:

    Mrs Oliny was my kindergarten teacher. What years did you attend. Did you know a Susan Southgate?
    I lived at 2407 Fernway.
    John Miller

  41. johnny Brown says:

    I lived at 2164 Winter Ave, K-8 then Tech. Now live I Alabama – John Brown

  42. Carl B. Johnson says:

    The Dillinger market was at the south end of Winter Ave, at the corner of Rosseveltt and Winter went to school there a few yrs and went to the church right across the school .

  43. JUDYcSamuel says:

    Looking for any pictures of School #38 of inside and a picture of the white house where kindergarten was held

  44. Darrell Black says:

    I remember her very well. I attend till they closed the school. I never understood why!!! I remember the school principal, Mrs.Bradly at the time, and she wasn’t very nice at all!!! I remember one teacher who has stuck in my head all these years.Does anyone remember Miss Miller? That’s all I remember of her.She had freckles and was VERY VERY PRETTY!!! Plz contact me with any information on Miss Miller on my Facebook page or account. Thank you very much

  45. Patricia Murphy says:

    Cynthia, I am wondering if you did film a documentary? I went to school #38. patti

  46. Wilma lewis says:

    I went to schoo 38 in the 60s looking for class mates Ruth at want their thank you

  47. JUDY hAFLER sTEWART says:

    I was born in 1958 and attended School #38 starting in either 1963 or 1964. I don’t believe I attended Kindergarten, since it was half-day and not required. I think I started there in 1st grade in 1964. My name is Judy Hafler. I would appreciate any photos or information. We lived at 2311 Langley Avenue. That house is no longer there as it appears to have burned sometime ago.

  48. H, Thomas Walls says:

    I taught science at school 38 from 1958 to 1961 when I started teaching Biology at newly opened Arlington High School..prior to that I taught 6th grade. Remember Orville Frakes and Nicky Sims as well as several others,; Terry Ambrose, Judy Doss, etc. and so on. Some of the other teachers were Mrs. White,Mrs. Bentham and Mr Trinkle. Mrs, Gray was Principal and ruled with an iron hand ——learned a lot from her and consider myself very lucky to have taught there for 5 years of my 32 years at IPS. Students, teachers and parents were wonderfully kind to me. So good to read these comments. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

  49. Dolores Darby says:

    Im Dolores Darby. My brother was Orval Frakes. I went to school 38 from K – 5th grade. I live on Eastern Ave. My Kindergarten teacher was Ms Olney. Lots of great memories. I even remember shoestring park where I played as a kid. Britewood was a hopping place. I

  50. Wilma lewis says:

    I went to school 38 in the 60s my name is wilma jean lewis I lived at 2134 north Jefferson

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