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Our History

Circa 1776

The first settlers arrived to the densely forested region that today encompasses Indiana Area School District.

March 30, 1803

Indiana County was formed from Westmoreland and Lycoming counties.


Indiana, Pennsylvania was established as the county seat and was laid out on 250 acres of land given by George Clymer, signer of the Declaration of Independence.


The citizens of the fledgling town retained Henry Coleman to teach fifteen students in one room of a building located on Water Street between Coulter and Nixon Avenues.


The first school was built on Church street between 4th and Gompers.  Three teachers instructed in one room built of round logs and clapboards with greased paper for windows and a large fireplace at one end.


The school location was moved to the northwest corner of Taylor and Nixon Avenues.


The Indiana Academy Building was completed and the school was moved into one of its rooms.


A committee of citizens successfully petitioned the county commissioners for land at the southwest corner of Water Street and what is now 6th Street.  The one-room brick building erected there was later purchased by the first Indiana Borough Board of School Directors and became the first public school building in Indiana.


The passage of the Free School Act required teachers to pass examinations, each county to hire a superintendent, and tuition to be discontinued.  Prior to this, salaries for teachers had been raised by charging $4.00 to $6.00 per year for each pupil and teachers had boarded with the pupils' families, often moving from family to family.  Various individuals also offered private instruction from their homes or churches.


Another one-room brick school house was built at the northeast corner of Church and 5th Streets.  By 1853, both schoolhouses were overcrowded.


A new school building of six rooms and a lecture room was built directly in front of the present location of Horace Mann Elementary School at a cost of $10,000 for land, building, and furnishings.  Enrollment:  326 elementary and high school students.  By 1880, enrollment had climbed to 462, necessitating half-day sessions.


The Indiana and West Boroughs were consolidated, adding another building to Indiana Borough Schools.  The "West End School," later renamed Thaddeus Stevens, is now Uhler Hall on the IUP campus.  The building in front of current-day Horace Mann Elementary became "East End School."


Overcrowded conditions forced the rental of one room in the Landis Building, downtown Indiana.


A second room was rented in the Progress Building.  Indiana Borough Schools' enrollment was 398 in the eight rooms of the East End School; 378 in the eight rooms of West End School; 57 in the one room rented in the Landis Building; and 33 in the one room rented in the Progress Building.  Total enrollment: 866

March 1908

The East End School building was replaced with a larger sixteen room building, now Horace Mann Elementary, at a cost of $76,539.39.  By 1914, this new building was crowded beyond capacity and a classroom was added to the basement.


A new, separate Indiana High School for grades 7-12 was built at a cost of $409,000.77 at 245 North 5th Street.


Indiana High was accredited by the Middle States Association.


The first public kindergarten began.


Land was acquired and developed as an athletic field and administrative office two blocks north of the high school.


Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, the district's largest elementary school, was built.


Eisenhower Elementary was built.


A new Senior High (grades 10-12) was built on the land two blocks north of its old site, which is now the Indiana Area Junior High School (grades 7-9).


A new wing was added to Eisenhower Elementary School.  The students who had been attending Thaddeus Stevens were split between Horace Mann Elementary and Eisenhower Elementary Schools.  The Thaddeus Stevens building was sold to IUP (then Indiana State College) for $210,000 and was renovated and renamed Uhler Hall. 


The Indiana Borough School District became the Indiana Area School District when White Township and Shelocta Borough's school districts combined.


East Pike Elementary School was completed.


Renovations to the Junior High completed.


Renovations to Horace Mann completed.


Renovations to the Senior High completed.


Renovations to East Pike completed.



Renovations to the Junior High completed.



Addition of new gymnasium and fitness facilities completed at the Senior High


Grade reconfiguration through which 6th grade students enrolled at the Junior High and 9th grade students enrolled at the Senior High. Indiana Digital Education Academy for Learning (IDEAL) cyber option first available to students for the 2011-2012 school year.


Elementary school reconfiguration under which Ben Franklin and East Pike enrolled PreK-3rd grade students and Eisenhower and Horace Mann enrolled 4th-5th grade students.



In March, schools shut down and go virtual for the remainder of the year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


There was a fire at Eisenhower Elementary School.  Students finished the school year split between Horace Mann Elementary School and the Indiana Area Junior High School. All students move to the Junior High beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.

Early history has been compiled from: "Know Your Schools", Indiana County League of Women Voters, Indiana, Pennsylvania, 1977; Getts, Paul Robert, A History of Education in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Penn State University, 1965; Perry, Edgar C., Life in Our Indiana Public Schools, Indiana, Pennsylvania, 1953; Row, George, Indiana Borough School History, Indiana, Pennsylvania, 1881. Bonnie Nesbitt provided additional information about Eisenhower and Thaddeus Stevens Schools.

Past Indiana Area School District Superintendents

? until 1901     

W.A. Trainer (first supervising principal)


James F. Chapman


Ernest Work


H.V. Herlinger (first to be designated as Superintendent)


Norman Koontz


Edgar C. Perry


Paul R. Getts


Robert P. Martin


David H. Laird


Kathleen R. Kelley, Ph.D.


Deborah M. Clawson, Ed.D.


Dale R. Kirsch


Michael J. Vuckovich


Robert J. Heinrich, Jr.