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Thursday, 19 August 2021 18:22

The Audubon Schools

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This week we have a guest blogger: our own trustee and regular volunteer, George Detwiler!

Jacks

 Jack's School

If you grew up in Audubon you may have attended Audubon Elementary on Egypt Road. This was actually the fourth school to serve the children of Audubon. The first was a one-room schoolhouse built in 1807 on a small plot of land located diagonally across from The Union Chapel on Pawlings Road. The area was known then as “Wetherill’s Corner” because the family owned so much of the surrounding land. This was “Jack’s School”, named after Andrew Jack, a local landowner and first Constable of Lower Providence Township who sold the ¼ acre piece of ground to the township. He was also the owner of “Jack’s Tavern”, later Bud’s Bar. The school was 26’ x 40’ with a round coal stove in the middle of the room with the desks fastened to the walls around the room. In addition to school the community used the building for concerts, lectures and other gatherings and entertainment. There was an active debate society that held their meetings there as well as a Sunday School organized by Mrs. Sarah Rogers. Thomas Highley led the singing.

Audubon Sunday School 1878

Audubon Sunday School, 1878

In the 1850’s, George Corson wrote a poem which he called simply “Jack’s School”. In the Winter of 1872, Howard Rhodes recited it as part of the entertainment during a get together at the school. The first verse was:

Jack’s School is a humble hall

It has no brick or marble wall

No costly bannister or aisles

Bedecked in ornamental style

In all, it contained seven verses but the rest have been lost.

When Jack’s School became too small to accommodate all of the students in the area, a second school, The Beech Tree School, was built in 1852 on land purchased from Albert DeHaven. This property later became part of the Buckwalter Farm on Eagleville Road. It was similar in construction to Jack’s School.

Shannonville

Shannonville Union Public School

These two schools served Shannonville until 1873 when a new two-room schoolhouse replaced them on land purchased from Aaron Weikle. This was called The Shannonville Union Public School and is still standing a short distance off of Pawlings Road behind the David Hagner home. Its first teachers were Miss Sarah Chafin and Miss Elizabeth Gotwals. Chafin spent her first year teaching at Jack’s School. It has been enlarged over the years and eventually became a family residence . Religious services were held here for the Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists until 1878 when the little Baptist chapel on Egypt road near Brewsters Ice Cream was built. This also served as a classroom for overflow students from the school. Miss Cassel, who many of us remember from first grade, taught there early in her career. It served Shannonville and then Audubon until 1929 when the Audubon School on Egypt Road was built.

Audubon

Audubon Elementary, dedication, 1928

 

Audubon Elementary served the children of Audubon almost continually for 90 years after it’s opening in 1929. It opened with only four classrooms. Entrance was through the large front door facing Egypt Road, and the first thing you saw when you entered was a large Marble bust of John James Audubon sitting on a wooden pedestal. Numerous additions were made over the decades. First were additional classrooms added behind the original building on both the upper and lower levels. Then, in 1955, a wing on the right when facing the school from Egypt Road added several more. In 1958 a new combination cafeteria, auditorium and gym was added out the back along with a new kitchen. More additions followed as the building of housing developments by George Custer, Mr. Middleton and especially Joe D’s Apple Valley neighborhoods greatly increased the student population. It was permanently closed in 2018 with students now attending either Woodland or Arrowhead (K-4) or Skyview (5-6) Elementary.

Read 2509 times Last modified on Thursday, 19 August 2021 18:45