One Room Schoolhouse
Plymouth Meeting House School, HSMC Collection
Prior to the development of public schools, most Montgomery County children received their education from Sunday or Quaker schools. Using the Bible, which was one of the easiest books to acquire at the time, students were taught how to read, write, and recite.
Male Pupils Attendence December 1875, Lower School Number 6 in Gwynedd, HSMC Collection
In the 18th and 19th centuries, one room schoolhouses emerged to provide additional education for children. In these schools, one teacher taught every subject to the students. Many of these teachers were young, single, middle-class women. It was also common for older students to help the teacher by tutoring younger students.
Female Pupils Attendence May 1872, Lower School Number 6 in Gwynedd, HSMC Collection
In 1895, Pennsylvania passed a compulsory school attendance law requiring all resident children to attend school when they are between the ages of 8 and 17. This law changed recently. Starting in the school year of 2020 - 2021, all children ages 6 to 18 are required to attend school. Some exceptions, such as homeschooling, are allowed under this law.
Mont Clare School, HSMC Collection
Today, states are responsible for setting standards for most school curriculums and certain federal rules apply. Although there are no one room schoolhouses currently used in Montgomery County, some of the buildings still stand to this day.
Skippack School/Creamery School
Photograph Credit: Skippack Historical Society
In 1882, Skippack Township school district had seven schools: Cassel's, Creamery, Markley's, Meetinghouse, School's, Skippackville, and Zeigler's. Of these schools, Creamery was the largest.
The Creamery was originally a converted animal bar from Grater Farm. This building was demolished in 1912 and was replaced by a brick building in 1913. At this time, it changed its name to the Skippack School. Grades 1 through 8 were taught in the same room. By 1937, Markley, Skippackville, Cassel, Meetinghouse, School, and Zeigler schools were closed. To absorb the growing number of students, the Skippack School added more rooms to their building. It was used until 1982.
Photo Credit: Google Street View
After the Skippack School closed, the bell tower was removed. Today the building is known as the 4-H Center (Farm Home and Yought Foundation of Montgomery County).
Photo from HSMC Photographs Collection
The Franklinville School is located at 1701 Morris Road in Blue Bell. It was used from 1858 to 1916. The building was sold to Ralph B. Strassburger in 1917 as part of a larger land purhase, which included Normandy Farms.
Restored Interior c. 2000, Photo Credit: Wissahickon Valley Historical Society
In 1925, the former school became a meeting place for the 50 Year Club. This annual social club was started by Strassburger. Every member was a resident of Montgomery County for 50 years and subscribed to the Times Herald, Strassburger's newspaper.
Franklinville School c. 1990s after renovations, Photo Credit: Wissahickon Valley Historical Society
Today, this former school is maintained by the Wissahickon Valley Historical Society and Whitpain Township Historical Society. It is also on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. This building is currently used as a meeting place for clubs, events, and other functions. You can read more about this school on their website.
Other Former One Room/Small Schools:
Mentz School, HSMC Collection
Exhibit Home Page Types of Schools in PA Today