PHOTOS: Before anyone knew it, the school was engulfed in flame.
Three men driving near Center Grove High School noticed the strange, yellow glow in the late hours of Oct. 31, 1952. They found the school on fire, with both the main school building ablaze and spreading to the gymnasium. Witnesses say the flames shot 150 feet into the air. Even as firefighters worked all night long, there was not much they could do.
The fire burned the school to the ground, leaving students, teachers and the community in flux. But the tragedy proved to be a critical point in Center Grove’s history.
“The theme that developed after the fire was — how do we continue education? We have these kids without a school, how are we going to keep that going?” said John Frank, a historian who taught social studies at Center Grove High School for 29 years.