For generations, Michigan City Area Schools has provided high-quality educational opportunities for students in our community. Enjoy these highlights from the history of our city’s public schools!
● Isaac C. Elston, Michigan City’s founder and first mayor, donated the land at Fourth and Pine Streets for the town’s first school, which doubled as a church. It was built in 1834, two years before Michigan City was incorporated.
● A uniform educational system became operative in 1853.
● In 1865, General Lew Wallace, author of Ben Hur, painted the portrait of Isaac C. Elston that hangs in the foyer of the Elston building.
● The first reorganization of city schools occurred in 1867.
● The high school became a separate department in 1869. The first class (three students) completed the full course in two years, graduating from the original Elston building at Fourth and Pine Streets in 1871.
● Central School on Eighth Street became the high school when it was built in 1876.
● Competitive high school athletics came to Michigan City in 1891.
● Central School on Eighth Street was destroyed by a fire in 1896 and rebuilt that same year.
● Elston’s Charles Lawrence won the shot put title during the 1905-06 school year, bringing Michigan City its first high school state title.
● When the present Elston building (317 Detroit Street) was completed in 1912, the high school transferred to it from Central.
● When enrollment exceeded capacity at the high school in 1925, Elston Senior High School was built.
● In 1925, prominent Indiana artist Robert Grafton painted a large mural depicting Michigan City’s harbor in the 1840’s. The mural was placed in Elston’s study hall, but was removed in 1979 during building renovations. A restoration of the mural, funded by Elston alumni, was completed in 1986. It is currently displayed in the lobby of the Elston building.
● An athletic field named for long-time Coach Andy Gill, the Meer gymnasium, and an Occupations Building were constructed in 1968, completing the Elston Senior-Junior High School complex.
● Barker Junior High School, named for John H. Barker, opened in 1961 and Krueger Junior High School, named for Martin T. Krueger, opened in 1964. Both are now Middle Schools serving grades 7 and 8.
● The second reorganization of city public schools occurred on Jan. 1, 1965 after school district consolidation legislation was passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 1959. Long Beach, Coolspring Township, Pine Township, Beverly Shores, and Springfield Township joined with the local public schools to form the
Michigan City Area Schools Corp. at that time.
● The Elston Red Devils, coached by Doug Adams, won the 1966 Indiana State Basketball Championship, defeating Indianapolis Tech in the finals, 63-52.
● Rogers High School (8466 W. Pahs Road) was named for Michigan City obstetrician Dr. Jesse Belmont Rogers, who delivered more than 6,000 babies during his 43-year career. Rogers High School opened in 1971, becoming the city’s second high school.
● Three Mr. Basketballs, inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, hailed from Michigan City Area Schools: Rogers’ Dan Palombizio (1981), Rogers’ Delray Brooks (1984), and Elston’s Charles “Killer” Macon (1992).
● Elston and Rogers High Schools consolidated, forming the current Michigan City High School, in 1995.
● Heritage Hall, City’s mini museum housing the MCAS Wall of Fame and memorabilia honoring the history of Elston and Rogers, was dedicated in February 2005, in honor of legendary principal Warren Jones.
● In February 2005, Elston graduate Dag Kittlaus launched the voice-operated personal assistant Siri, now featured on every iPhone.
● On May 23, 2013, Elston graduate Douglas Lute was nominated by President Barack Obama as the United States ambassador to NATO.
● Michigan City High School began offering its “Early College” program in August 2014, with the program’s first Class graduating in 2018.
– Compiled April 2018 by Connor Lindsey, Purdue University Northwest