Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Historical Summary

The Rock Hill School At Linden Hall
Historical Summary
The Rock Hill School at Linden Hall served the east precinct of Harris Township and overlooks the church and cemetery across Brush Valley Road. The present school building dates from 1893 and is the last one-room school established at Rock Hill (Harris Township).The earliest of these schools established around 1802 was the first in western Penns Valley. A second school building on property deeded to the school board in 1850 by Moses Thompson was located in front of the cemetery. An old postcard photo of it appears in the booklet "Sketches of Linden Hall" published by the Linden Hall Garden Club in 1980.The Rock Hill School drew from an area about a mile in diameter, and children came from as far away as the Rufus Sharer farm near Galbraith Gap. Many inscribed their names in the siding of the building, some of which are still legible.
The 1893 building is typical of schools of the time consisting of an entrance vestibule and a large single room in which eight grades were taught. The vestibule had a coal bin on one side and a coat closet on the other. The teacher taught from a raised platform and lectern in the front. Heat was supplied by an iron "Buffalo" stove that was fired each morning and maintained by the teacher. Teachers were paid about $30 per month and in the 19th century, often boarded with local families.Facilities were sparse and early on, drinking water was stored in a bucket with a common dipper. Later, a larger tub with a spigot was used and each student supplied his/her own cup. A dual privy with separate girls’ and boys’ sides stood about 100 feet from the door. A school bell, which is still in the bell tower at the north end of the building, was used to call students to class and signal lunch and recess times. A long succession of teachers taught at the Rock Hill School. Their names reflect several of the established local families such as Campbell, Potter, Gingrich, Mothersbaugh, Coble, Ripka, Ross, Ishler, and Stover. Notable among these was William G. Waring who taught in 1846 and was the great grandfather of Fred Waring of Pennsylvanians fame. Members of the Waring family are buried in the Rock Hill cemetery across the road. Sam Ross, a life long resident of the village taught there at the beginning of his career in 1919 and went on to a 42-year career (1922 - 64) with the Harris Township and State College Schools. Upon retiring, Sam opened the last general store in Linden Hall, which he operated until his death in 1977. Sam and Irene Ross lived in the house behind the school and when it closed, they purchased and annexed the school property. It has been in the family ever since.
The end of the Harris township one-room schools occurred when the Harris Township school board voted to consolidate the Rock Hill and Shingletown schools with Boalsburg in the spring of 1937. Subsequently, all of the students were sent to Boalsburg. After the school closed, the desks were moved out and the building became a community center. Elections and social events were held there into the 1980's. The building is now used for storage and while basically sound, it is in need of restoration.

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