The Milton Schoolhouse was constructed in 1904 as a limestone and brick four-classroom school. The structure was expanded on three occasions as the surrounding area blossomed.
Over a dozen classrooms were added after the first world war to accommodate the area's population growth. The final addition of a full gymnasium and stage in 1937 brought the total square footage of the structure to 55,000 sq ft. As the Milton Heights’ neighborhood was annexed into Alton, The Milton Schoolhouse became Alton’s primary elementary and middle school.
One of the schoolhouse’s most notable students was Robert Wadlow; the tallest man to have ever lived for which there is irrefutable evidence. Shown here is Robert Wadlow in 1926, where he attended third grade in the classroom that now hosts Maeva’s Coffee House.
Alton’s population outgrew the structure in the 1980s and the building was retired in favor of several smaller, modern, and more efficient elementary and middle schools. Much of our community support comes from the fond childhood memories our friends and neighbors still carry of playing, learning, and growing up in and around the giant schoolhouse.
After closing as a school, the structure was bought privately by Gary Levi of Intaglio Designs. Mr. Levi relocated his manufacturing business to the schoolhouse where he built and expanded into a 10,000 sq ft modern industrial warehouse now attached to the original building. Operating through the late 1990s, Mr. Levi employed dozens of workers who crafted mass giftware decoratives and art glass objects.
In the midst of legal and financials troubles, Mr. Levi’s operation was forced to close. Anticipating its reopening once these challenges were resolved, he closed the doors on the factory without removing its operation. The factory never reopened. The building sat in neglect and vacancy for the decade following.
It was during this time we believe rumors of the structure’s haunted nature began to develop. This empty 65,000 sq foot structure loomed vacant and dark in the center of a residential area with no traffic. A generation of children grew up around the schoolhouse where their memories would not be ones of sunny classrooms but thrilling experiences in illegal adventure-seeking and vandalism.
It was during this period a local haunted tour company "psychically divined" a story involving a janitor and a murder from the basement of the school. Coupled with the ongoing decay and uninviting atmosphere, the story took hold. Haunted tours were lead through the hallways during the autumn months for curious tourists and more legal-adventure seeking locals.
The story has no documentation. After three days of filming at the schoolhouse in 2010, the TAPS team from Syfy's Ghost Hunters issued a statement revealing no evidence for this story's validity had been found. However, many paranormal investigative teams, included TAPS, do believe they have sufficient evidence to deem the property as a haunted location.
Joel and Meredith Elliott formed a partnership to buy the condemned schoolhouse in 2009. Mr. Elliott had spent over a year assisting Mr. Levi in property maintenance and recommended it as a possible location for the start up as a business incubator in the community.
The schoolhouse has been under constant renovation and now hosts twelve independent service based and brick-and-mortar businesses. Read more about upcoming projects at the schoolhouse here.