OLD SCHOOL OF THE DAY
Mooresburg One Room Schoolhouse
Route 642-45 east
The Mooresburg One-Room Schoolhouse stands as the only remaining one-room school building in Montour County, PA. It is a one-story brick vernacular building measuring thirty-five feet by twenty-eight feet on a fieldstone foundation. Surviving records say that more than 90 such schools once existed in the county. These same records indicate the students who passed grades one through eight went on to higher education and were well-versed in geography, history and the humanities. For a lot of the students, these schools often provided the only source of actual book learning a child received. The old one-room school was erected in 1875 by Liberty Township and was rebuilt in 1891. The Valley Township School closed in 1964, the last of these schools in Montour County. The teachers that taught in one-room, rural schools were very special people. During the winter months they would get to the school early to get a fire started in the potbelly stove, so the building would be warm for the students. On many occasions they would prepare a hot, noon meal on top of the stove, usually consisting of soup or stew of some kind. They took care of their students like a mother hen would care for her chicks; always looking out for their health and welfare.
A typical school day was 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with morning and afternoon recesses of 15 minutes each and an hour period for lunch. The older students were given the responsibility of bringing in water, carrying in coal or wood for the stove. The younger students would be given responsibilities according to their size and gender such as cleaning the blackboard, taking the erasers outside for dusting plus other duties that they were capable of doing. Transportation for children who lived too far to walk was often provided by horse-drawn wagons which could only travel a limited distance in a reasonable amount of time each morning and evening, or students might ride a horse, these being put out to pasture in an adjoining paddock during the day. In more recent times, students rode bicycles and took buses. The vast majority of one-room schools in the United States are no longer used as schools and have either been torn down or converted for other purposes. Soon after the Mooresburg School closed it was taken over by the Montour County Historical Society and is now the Mooresburg One-Room Schoolhouse Museum. The museum houses some of the original furniture, school books, and the still operable school bell. Many items were donated by the Danville Area School District. The old room heater, a Beaver Furnace manufactured by the Danville Stove and Manufacturing Company still sits in the corner.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, the schoolhouse, flanked immediately to the south by two outhouses and a coal shed, depicts the history of education not only in Montour County, but even in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition to the school items on display, there are many photographs and other pieces of interest pertaining to the community of Mooresburg. Included is the pottery wheel of John Ack whose father, Daniel, established a pottery business in 1875. Ack crocks and jugs, bearing the name Ack are collector’s items. Also on display is a wealth of memorabilia on Christopher Latham Sholes, the father of the modern typewriter, who once lived in the area. A Stecker Rocker made by Moses Stecker, manufacturer of fine furniture in the Mooresburg area, can be seen at the schoolhouse. A collection of Indian arrowheads, gathered on nearby farms, a bearskin coat and several area maps are all on display in the museum. In 1993 a Carriage House was added to the original schoolhouse building. The Carriage House also contains displays of Montour County History, including; military uniforms worn by area residents, children’s clothing from the early years of school operations, old class photos, props from school plays, and school books. The Mooresburg One Room School stands out as the least altered survivor and the best preserved example of the small nineteenth and early twentieth century rural schools in Montour County.