2454 Route 534
Albrightsville, Pennsylvania 18210
The interior of the Albrightsville, PA, schoolhouse looks similar to when it was in use 75 years ago. Built in 1855, the school served the small community of Albrightsville for many years. In 2014, Nancy Schields and Raelene Eckley decided that they were tired of looking at the old Albrightsville Schoolhouse sitting empty and in need of care. The schoolhouse, located along Route 534, shares the property with the Albrightsville Volunteer Fire Company. The two opened the schoolhouse up to the public, officially kicking off Schoolhouse Central Inc., a 501(3)(c) charitable organization under the Federal Code. As such, it will operate tax free and will be required to serve the public. They want to make the schoolhouse a hub for cultural enrichment and learning. Schields is originally from Doylestown and is a teacher by trade. Eckley is a native of the area and can trace her ancestors back to 1744. The building belongs to Kidder Township and had sat unused for many years. The township spent $10,000 renovating the building and will charge Schoolhouse Central $1 per year rent. The group plans on having a monthly Senior Saints luncheon for local senior citizens. A number of other groups interested in using the facilities include a Bible study, art classes, and other similar projects.” The school is still furnished with some of the original school items, but the group plans on moving the furnishings to storage to open up the space for its use. Under the terms of the lease, the group will be responsible for returning all items removed at the end of their lease.
The mission statement for Schoolhouse Central is: “To have a community based, cultural arts learning center. Its purpose is to serve as an enrichment hub for the community. It is a place that encourages and engages children, youth and adults to pursue education, the arts and history of the area. We are a service-oriented organization and welcome other charitable and community organizations to associate with and get involved in our events and activities. Part of our mission is to preserve and restore artifacts for the purpose of documenting and interpreting the history of the Schoolhouse building and the village of Albrightsville, Pa.” For example, in September of 2015, Schoolhouse Central Inc. presented the Simcoe Gallery at the Albrightsville one-room schoolhouse. Gerald Simcoe displayed his art and musical talents. His work featured his grandmother, Mary U. “Nana” Hahn (née Green), who enrolled in the Albrightsville School in 1921 along with her three siblings. She worked in the fields harvesting crops and also as a domestic. Hahn met her husband, Alvin, while he was working for the WPA and building a road from Jonas to Albrightsville. He asked her to accompany him to Palmerton, where she milked 21 cows each morning by 3 a.m. then drove a school bus at 6 a.m. for the Palmerton Area School District for 42 years before retiring. She founded Hahn’s Cloverleaf Dairy in 1969, which is still selling jug milk today. Hahn was awarded the Golden Book of Deeds by the Palmerton Exchange Club in 1976.