Warren G. Harding Elementary School
Hammond, Indiana

This is the Warren G. Harding Elementary School prior to 1950.  It is the school that Jean Shepherd attended as a boy, growing up in Hammond, Indiana. You will even note that the street post sign reads "Cleveland Street", the street where Shepherd family lived in the Hessville neighborhood of Hammond.  This is one of the very few pictures of the school that exists. We checked unsuccessfully with The Times (newspaper), the Hammond School Board who told us that each school kept old photographs in their files; with the office of the existing Harding School who told us that all the pictures were kept in the files of the Hammond School Board. Yeah, right!

Here is the only photo that I know of that shows the infamous Flag Pole at Harding School. (It is on the very far right of the photo).  It verifies that the flag pole mentioned in Jean Shepherd's The Christmas Story, was a real flagpole! It does not appear
in the newer photo at the very top of the page perhaps suggesting that it was removed because it came to be a hazard to kids.

What happened to the old Harding School building?

Former Harding School student Ken O'Neal reports that the wooden building
 was not demolished in the 1950s as we originally thought.
  "The brick building was built as a replacement structure in 1949, but the
wooden building was not torn down until the summer of 1967.
It remained in use until the new Morton High School on Grand and 169th
 was opened in the fall of 1967 and the junior high/middle school students
 from Harding were sent to the old Morton building on Marshall Avenue.
 Beginning in the fall of 1967 all that was left of Harding
was the brick building with students from kindergarten to grade six."

Outside Harding School,  children pitch in to help the war effort by recycling
newspapers. This photo was taken on Cleveland Street during the 1940's.
Older wood frame school building is seen in the background.

Here, students inside the "new" Harding School in April 1950 monitor the Lost and Found table.
Gloves, hats and scarves are sorted for easy identification by the owners.

Had this table been in place at the old Harding School building,
no doubt Jean Shepherd and his younger brother "Randy" would have been frequent
visitors looking for lost items one more time before having to tell their
parents what happened to the new mittens they got at Christmas.


  This is the Cleveland side of Harding School with the new brick school in the background.
  Notice the tail lights of the 1962 Chevy (probably Biscayne model) in the left foreground.
  The person who posted the photo originally stated that it was taken
during the winter of 1966-67, just a few months
 before the building was torn down.