Wheeler School, Evansville's first public school, served the downtown residents for over 100 years.
Canal Street School, as it was originally called, was the city's first public school building. The three-story, brick school was erected in 1855 on Canal St between 3rd and 4th, just below where the Wabash and Erie Canal turned towards downtown. The high school met in the top floor of the original building from 1858 until it moved in July 1863 to the old Baptist church at 2nd and Clark. As a side note, Evansville High School would later acquire its own building in 1868 that many will remember as Old Central.
Canal Street School became known as Upper School once Carpenter School was built in 1859. The schools were nicknamed based on their location to the Ohio River (Carpenter was Lower School).
The schoolhouse soon became too small for the growing city so another building was put up fronting 3rd St in 1871. Similarly a new wing was built in 1874 fronting 4th St.
As more than just the two schools served the city, the school was again referred to as Canal St School c1879.
In 1884 the original building was torn down for a more substantial building
Sometime around 1890 "Street" was dropped and the name was shortened to Canal School
Around 1900 the 3rd St School was torn down but reassembled on the West Side as the 12th Ave Colored School. It was around this time that the lower portion of Canal St (from 5th to 2nd) was eliminated so the school was called Mulberry St School.
In 1915 the 4th St School was replaced with the neoclassical building that most will identify as the school.
Around this time the school was renamed Wheeler School after Horatio Q. Wheeler who spearheaded the movement to set up public school system.
After a century of educating Evansville's youth, Wheeler School was closed in 1972. In 1974 the buildings were demolished for a for Welborn Hospital. Today, little remains of the school that started education in the city except for a parking lot.