Friday, July 10, 2009

Downtown Mystery

Several years ago, I worked in an office at the corner of Maxwell and Main. I loved it- my desk was in the front corner, surrounded by windows, and I enjoyed gazing at the beauty of Twin Springs park and also watching the town go by on Main Street.

Next door to that office, tucked away in a small alcove, is something that I've always been curious about. It's a dusty door, labeled "The Downtown School." It seems to have seen little action in recent years. I thought I'd see if anyone out there can shed some light on this for me. What was this place?

I'd like to picture this so-called "school" as a place that was operational in the late fifties, perhaps, providing progressive enlightenment to all. Maybe people would sit around on a summer's evening, with a breeze blowing into the second floor windows, discussing philosophy. Perhaps transient beat poets and artists would stop in on their way through town and give lectures on the changing world at large. It's possible, right?

Although the truth may not be quite so romantic, I would like to solve this little mystery. So, the first person to comment with details about "The Downtown School" will receive their very own "Siloam's Got It!" bumper sticker from the 1980's.
I hope to hear from you soon!


  1. I don't believe the "school" was there when I was a student of JBU, 1961-65. So either it closed in the late 50's or came after '65. Of course I could have totally missed it, but loving old buildings I did wander the streets in between classes quite a bit.

    Frank A. Mills

  2. Hello Frank,
    Thanks for your comment! I would have loved to have seen downtown Siloam in the 1960's. I'm sure it has changed quite a bit. Since you're the only person that's commented on this entry, I'd be happy to send you a "Siloam's Got It!" bumper sticker if you would like one. Feel free to contact me at with your mailing address.
    Thanks for reading!

  3. Heidi!!
    I am just NOW discovering your blog, and I am soooo impressed!! I cannot believe I didn't know about this place! I really do love it!

    My uncle, Rick Allen, owns the building this "Downtown School" is located in. From my recollection, I believe he told me that, quite a number of years ago, Kathy Turner (wife of board member John Turner) had set up this art school on the second floor of the old SPOT movie theater (you are aware that the main floor was an old cinema, correct?). Back in my teens, working for Allens in the 70's, I was cleaning up there, and moving some files, when I got curious about the sign. The stairway behind the door is super steep!
    I may be wrong, but I think that she confirmed it to me one time in the 80's when she helped me with a poster for a production I directed at the Arts Center. Anyway, I'm not sure, you may be able to reach her at home, but I'm sure you could call John Turner who works at Allen Canning. But if I'm wrong, I'm sure if you ever see Rick, he could give you the scoop!
    Again, great job here!
    I'm bookmarking it now!
    David Allen