N e w s f a x H i s t o r y
The Historic 150-year old Pike County Historical Society One-room Little Red School House in Pike County, Pennsylvania. A special resource for educators, history buffs, and the general public. Open most Weekends/Holiday afternoons, except on inclement weather days from June- October. This season, the schoolhouse is temporarily closed for maintenance and reorganization.
THE SCHOCOPEE SCHOOL. by Ken Baumel
In 1996 Pike County and Milford came to the attention of the world when local historian Joe Garrera authenticated that Pike County Historical Society's flag at their Columns Museum in Milford was indeed The Lincoln Flag, one of the four great flags in American history.
The person who brought the Lincoln Flag to Pike County was Jeanie Struthers Gourlay, a Washington actress who was present at the murder of President Abraham Lincoln at Ford Theatre in Washington, D.C. in 1865. Gourlay was a star in the play Liclon was attending. HEr father recovered the flag that cradled the head of the dying president. Gourlay's son donated the flag to the society in 1954. Gourlay's sister was one of the two last teachers to teach at the Schocopee School. She lived to be over 100 years old.
The society bought the Schocopee School and discovered the connection between the flag and the school. The Historical Society acquired the school house first. Then a few years later acquired its flagship building, the Columns, a mansion that was transformed into a museum.
Although the connection between the school house and the flag was most fortunate bonus, the school house itself represents more than the connection with the Lincoln Flag. The Schocopee School is a window into the history of Pike County and into rural American education. In an age before electronics, calculators, telephones, radio, television, movies, video, and computers, people needed even more than today the skills of reading and writing. The basic art of communication between people to people depended heavily on the art of letter writing rather than the telephone.
It was in the one-room school house that the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic were instilled. Text books and new educational ideas were developed to meet the need to teach students the basic skills. Out of this pioneering effort, mostly in the one-room school houses across rural America, developed the modern education methodology, theories and curriculae.
Educational concepts tested in the one-room school houses were perfected in the universities and led to 20th century advances in education.
The Schocopee School House, one of the few remaining one-room school houses in Pike County, which in the 1800's had as many as 50 such schools. The one-room school house was the foundation of the modern American education system throughout ist early history, especially on the westward moving frontier and the rural communities, such as Pike County, which was stioll a frontier in the late 1700s and early 1800s..
Out of this pioneer education in the one-room school houses across rural America, developed the modern education methodology, theories and curriculae. Educational concepts tested in the one-room school houses were perfected in the universities and led to 20th century advances in education.
The institution of the one-room school house with one teacher and small class sizes was a lab that helped Americans in the 19th century develop its identity. The very fact that such schools were small and class sizes were small helped foster discipline and teachers could devote more individual attention to each student. Despite the crudity and simplicity of the one-room school house, students entered life no less prepared than today's students, and perhaps more prepared, though the technological demands and knowledge base were less than today's needs.
The Pike County Historical Society committed to acquire the school when the building was rediscovered after a decades of neglect. In the summer of 1998, one visitor to the school commented that he owned the property on which the school was located, less than a mile from its location today, but was unaware that it was a historic structure. The society moved the school to Apple Valley Village from it's original location on Schocopee Road . The school was dismantled plank by plank, reconstructed, and renovated at Apple Valley, preserving its structure in the 1980s. The society gathered documentation and artifacts from the school and opened the facility as a public resource.
The Schocopee School was first constructed and opened from the early 1860s and remained a one-room school until 1907, when the population growth and increasing school enrollment forced a reorganization and expansion plan. Students were moved to a consolidated and larger school nearby. The school continued as a municipal office and voting polling station until 1947, when the space again was insufficient for the growing population. The school was closed. Prior to its closing, Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot, who helped found the modern world-wide forestry and conservation movement, and was one of its leading theoreticians, was one of the prominent local people to vote at the school house when it was the local voting station
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