by | Apr 2021

Old Plymouth School Building

Photo: Plymouth Historical Society

School building has graduated into several incarnations.

Situated along busy Highway 55, just south of the Luce Line Trail, sits one of the city’s first schools. The building, nearly unrecognizable in its current form, was home to the District 95 School.

The school’s origins began in the mid- 1850s, when a no-longer-extant log cabin served as the primary place for learning for new Plymouth residents. By 1872, the cabin was replaced with a wood-framed, single-story structure.

By the 1930s, the population in Plymouth was growing, and ideals in education were shifting as schools moved from a single-room model to buildings with dedicated spaces. The District 95 building, renamed Beacon Heights Elementary, reflected these changes. Constructed in 1939-1940, the new school reflected a modest PWA Moderne style, popularized during and after the Great Depression through many government-sponsored work projects. This is reflected in the building’s simplicity of form, symmetrical rows of windows and geometrical decoration surrounding the school’s entrance. Students were separated by age into two classrooms and had use of an auditorium for assembling. A kitchen was also included so students’ meals could be prepared on site.

As Plymouth expanded, so did the building, with further additions in 1955 that today obscure the building’s original decorative entrance. Beacon Heights closed as a public school due to district consolidations in the 1980s, and the building has since seen various commercial uses. Today, it continues in use as a private early childhood education center.


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