Horace Mann School, once teeming with thousands of students, now sits abandoned and rotting, another monument to the lost prosperity of Gary, Indiana. The Horace Mann School of Gary, Indiana is actually on a very short list of American high schools that have graduated more than 75 classes of students.
The cornerstone of Horace Mann High School was laid on November 8, 1926, with the construction of the $1 million complex 1 completed in 1928. The facility included a large two-tier auditorium and two-level gymnasium. By 1929, Horace Mann had an enrollment of 870.
The History of Horace Mann School in Gary, Indiana
The school was enormous, with a capacity of around two and a half thousand students. It originally consisted of three main structures that were eventually joined together. The cornerstone of the central building was laid on November 8, 1926, and construction was completed in 1928.
Work began on a 5,000-seat outdoor concrete stadium on the north side of the school in April 1930. Owing to the booming United States Steel mill at the front of Gary, the school’s roster jumped to nearly 2,400 students by 1937 and peaked around 2,600 in 1956.
The Horace Mann complex itself was constructed as an ensemble of three buildings in a classic Tudor style. The main building was larger than the others and boasted a grand red and brown brick entrance offset by white columns and pilasters.
The central building featured 48 classrooms as well as offices for the principal, assistant principal, and their immediate staff. It also contained two libraries, an auditorium, a cafeteria, a refectory, two gyms, and two swimming pools (at the time the boys and girls used separate facilities).
When the steel industry declined in the 1960s, the population of Gary began to shrink, as did the city’s tax revenue. When the population of Gary dropped in the 1960s and 1970s, so did the school district’s enrollment.
In 2002 the schools of Gary were showing their age. The once-proud buildings around town were mostly falling apart, and the city had not built a new facility in 30 years. By 2003, Horace Mann High School had 546 students. On April 13, 2004, the Gary School Board voted to close the school to save money. The last day for students was June 10 while the last day for teachers was June 11.
The school closed in 2004 due to budgetary constraints and a greatly diminished student population. The final graduating class consisted of only 72 students. The neighboring John H Vohr Elementary School closed too in 2010.
In early May of 2017, someone set a fire inside the abandoned school auditorium. Before this fire, the auditorium was a sight to see – a large empty room with bright red cushioned seats, red curtains covering the many large windows, and a grand piano to the front left side of the stage. Now, after the fire the curtains are gone, the piano has been flattened and the seats are nothing but lines of twisted and rusted metal.
Horace Mann School Postcards
Stunning Photos of Horace Mann School
The stunning photos of the Abandoned Horace Mann School in Gary Indiana were taken by Jim Sullivan. Jim Sullivan is a traveler, who shares his stories with followers. If you’d like to see more abandoned places in America, then check out our articles: