Home : Quarterly Archives : Volume 8
Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
Source: October 1955 Volume 8 Number 4, Pages 80–109
Secondary education in Tredyffrin-Easttown:
The recent opening of the new six-township Conestoga Senior High School, replacing the joint Tredyffrin-Easttown High School, the first joint high school in this State, makes a history of the latter school, and of the events and actions that led to its establishment, most pertinent and desirable. The results of my researches into this history follow.
Prior to 1890 secondary education in Pennsylvania was carried on largely by academies, and few except those who could afford to pay were fortunate enough to get a higher education.
In 1807 the Legislature passed general laws authorizing the establishment of high schools and the larger school districts began to assume responsibility for providing education at public expense. This authority was limited to cities and boroughs divided into wards for school purposes.
In 1893 this law was amended to permit the establishment of high schools in districts having at least 5,000 population. However it was not until 1895 that legal provision was made for the establishment of high schools in every district in the State. The same year school boards were authorized to form "Joint High Schools". This did not mean a joint high school such as we know today, but a high school where young folk from a nearby township or district could attend by paying tuition.
A supplement of this Act made in 1907 stated,
"The Directors of any two or more adjacent townships or school districts, who desire to establish a Joint High School under the provisions of the Act, shall have power to purchase real estate for a suitable school site at any place that may be agreed upon in either of said townships or districts and take title thereto in the corporate name of said townships or districts and to erect the necessary buildings and provide the necessary equipment for said High School, and the Directors of each of said townships or districts shall have the power to issue bonds in the manner prescribed to raise the necessary funds."(May 29th, 1907; P.L.319-S1)
In order to get a complete picture of secondary education in our vicinity I will start with a short history of the first high school classes in Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships.
EASTTOWN HIGH SCHOOL
The first meeting of the School Directors of Chester County was called for Thursday, December 2nd, 1869, at 10:30 A.M. at the Court House, West Chester. Among the topics discussed were:
"Should a High School be established in each school district containing twenty or more pupils sufficiently advanced to attend such a school? Is it best for Directors to furnish books at the expense of the District? Should the number of School Directors be reduced to three?"
We have come a long way in secondary education since that December in 1869.
The first step was taken by Easttown Township when, on April 3rd, 1893, County Superintendent Walton and Miss Nettie S. Malin, Principal of the Berwyn School, met to discuss plans for a high school in Berwyn. At this meeting the following resolutions were passed:
"RESOLVED that the Board approves of a high school for the Township to be located in Berwyn, Pa., provided that the right of all scholars of the Township for all time to a free use of the said high school shall be guaranteed by this action, even though the present village of Berwyn should ome incorporated at some future date.
"RESOLVED that an educational meeting be called to convene in the Berwyn Odd Fellows Hall on Tuesday evening, May 2nd, 1893, to bring before the parents and patrons of our schools the work now being done in our Township schools, and to give them an opportunity of expressing their views upon the high school matter, and plans for the improvement or (sic) our schools."
May 2nd, 1893, found Odd Fellows Hall crowded beyond capacity when four hundred tried to attend a meeting with reference to having a high school. Among those present were County Superintendent Walton, Professor M. G. Brumbaugh, Dr. George M. Phillips, Professor J. Alexander Clark, Professor Hunsicker, Miss Hannah Epright, and other prominent educators.
Dr. Brumbaugh gave the address on "Why a township High school is necessary. "Dr. Thomas J. Aiken, a member of the School Board, moved that a high school for all of the Township of Easttown as well as surrounding districts be considered. The motion was seconded by Mr. John Campbell and carried. Dr. Thomas J. Aiken was the uncle of the Dr. Thomas G. Aiken now on the Board.
May I pause here to pay tribute to these men for their far thinking.
The minutes of May 8th, 1893, say that a special meeting was held to take action upon a high school for said township (Easttown) as requested by the citizens meeting, Those present were Messers. Jonathan Yerkes, James O. Lockwood, J. A. Alexander, and Isaac A. Cleaver. At this meeting on May 12th, 1893, a pencil drawing from Thomas M. Rogers for adding a second story to the present Berwyn School building, then on Bridge Avenue south of Lancaster Turnpike, was presented by the Building Committee consisting of Isaac A. Cleaver, William Wayne, and J.A. Alexander and on June 13th, bids were opened.
The contract for the addition to the Berwyn School was given to W. H. Burns for $3,322.00. The time for completion was August 25th, 1894, with a forfeit of $25.00 a day thereafter. The original Easttown School was built in 1888 at a cost of $5,175.00; the land cost $775.00.
There could have been little delay, as on September 10th, 1894, the first high school opened in Easttown Township. Three rooms had been added to the grade school and two were used for the High School. Professor J. Alexander Clark was Principal and Teacher of the High School and District Supervising Principal at $80.00 per month; he also received the receipts from the outside districts until his salary reached $1,000 per term, after which but a percentage of same to be "hereinafter agreed upon." (From the minutes)
At the Annual Meeting of the Board on June 4th, 1894, the tuition for the sons of Mrs. Opdyke and of Mr. Frank Smith were set at $19.00 each. This, I am sure, was for an entire school year.
On June 30th, 1894, the School Board levied a three-mill tax for school purposes and 1 mill for building purposes. They also employed Allen Latshaw on trial at $4.00 a day beginning in October. In October, 1894, stenography and typing were introduced into the High School curriculum, and Mrs. Hattie Newton was engaged as the teacher to give two lessons a week at $l.00 per lesson.
On June 2nd, 1896, the first Annual Commencement of Easttown Public High School was held in Berwyn Trinity Church. The Salutatory Address was given by Bertha A. Rogers; Essay, "Wonderful Little Things", by Mary E. Gordon; Essay, "The Smokeless Age", by H. Oscar Broadbelt; Class History by Laura Beaumont; Valedictory address by William G. Armstrong (now living in California). The class consisted of Bertha A. Rogers, Laura Beaumont, Mary Gordon, H. Oscar Broadbelt, and William G. Armstrong.
On the School Board were Honorable William Wayne (a descendant of Anthony Wayne); Isaac Cleaver, Secretary; J.A. Alexander, Treasurer; Jonathan P. Yerkes, James O. Lockwood, and Henry O. Garber.
June 10th, 1897, we find Clarence Walton Bankard, the High School graduate, receiving the Old Eagle Prize for general scholarship, He entered Haverford College where he took honors in greek. The next year, on June 9th, 1898, Elizabeth Aiken received the Old Eagle Prize and entered Wilson College. Bessie S. Kauffman also graduated that year and entered the Senior Class at the Normal School. The class of June 13th, 1899, included Harry Baylis, Alfred Ritner (now living in St. Davids), John Campbell, and Anna Smith, June 7th, 1900, Thomas G. Aiken, now. Dr. Thomas G, Aiken, George A. Bankard, Bessie E. Seasholtz, and Mary A. Quimby graduated.
In 1902 Dr. E.E. Pawling taught in the High School and was Supervising Principal of the Township for nine and one-half months at $115.79 a month. Miss Mary Howell was Assistant Principal and taught Latin.
In 1904, science was added to the High School course with Miss Margaretta Atkinson as the teacher. She received $45.00 a month salary which was to increase until it reached $70.00 a month, Miss Atkinson came to Easttown in 1903 to teach fourth and fifth grades, but in 1904 the Principals Mr. A. N. D. Snyder, asked her to teach physics, science, civil government, and several other subjects, including history, in the High School. Mr. Snyder had been just reading from books in order to teach the subjects and felt sure Miss Atkinson would be well qualified. Miss Atkinson asked Professor E. E. Pawling what course she should teach, and he said "I don't know; just ask the children." This was certainly a different procedure from our education system of today.
It was at this time at Easttown that boys began to play football, although they played only with the Paoli High School boys. Miss Atkinson found them without a football yell and so she became a rooter as she said, "Come on, boys, Let's get together and make up a yell." Only those of us who know this very dignified person can appreciate what making up a football yell must have meant, to her.
1904 saw the first four-year High School course started in Easttown.
In 1906 a debate was held between Tredyffrin High School at Paoli and Easttown High School on the subject. "Resolved, that scientific studies do more to broaden the mind than classical ones." Superintendent MacNamee presided, and the outcome was that they wanted the town incorporated, higher taxes, better High School, and more science.
In 1907 a "Glee Club" was formed in the Easttown High School.
STRAFFORD HIGH SCHOOL
In 1897 the Tredyffrin School Board decided it was time for them to have their own high school. Mr. and Mrs. Richard MacNamee were teaching at Strafford, and Mr. MacNamee became the high school teacher and Mrs. MacNamee the grade school teacher. The High School occupied the west room on the second floor. It was a two-year high school, and the first class consisted of three students, Gertrude Davis, now Mrs. Garfield Matthews; Margaret Eves, who became a teacher and is now living near Downingtown; and Hannah McCone, still living in Devon.
The first studies consisted of one half year of geometry and one half year of bookkeeping, some Latin and quite a lot of history. The first Commencement was held at the same time as the Grammar School Commencement on June 16th, 1899.
The class coming into the High School in September, 1899, included Robert Colgan, Rena Kirkner, Clara Fisher, Sara Jackson, Anna Golder, Reta Lobb, Walter Hartley, James McCone, Katharine Harley, Jessie Tyson, Edna Peirsell, Joseph Evans, Maurice Walsh, Lizzie Detweiler, and Ethel Kirk.
The next class had to go to Paoli to finish their high school education as the Strafford High School closed when the Paoli High School opened in 1902. In that class we find Winfield Hughes, Edward Hughes, Florence Eves, Carrie Hall, John Detterline, Henry Smith, and a young girl who later became Mrs. Ralph Thomas.
PAOLI HIGH SCHOOL
A high school opened at Paoli in 1902 in the newly built school on South Valley Road. "I attended the first day", says Dr. Robert Hughes of Paoli. The course was a three-year one from 1902 to 1905. In the Senior Class were Dr. Hughes brothers Edward and Winfield, also Carrie Hall and perhaps one or two more. In the Junior Class were six-- Mable Streeter, Elma Tyson, Horace Whitworth, George Famous, John Wilson, and Robert Hughes.
There were four classrooms in the school which was located on the east side of South Valley Road about a square south of the Lincoln Highway. The first room used for the High School was the north room on the first floor. The teachers were John Bechtel, an ambitious young Dutchman, and Miss Emma Crawford; they later became man and wife.
Dr. Hughes tells of the unique record which the Class of 1905 made. That year John Bechtel, the principal of the school, urged the boys to carry on further education and very liberally gave of his time and effort in giving free tutoring to comply with the entrance requirements of the University of Pennsylvania. He took all four boys of the class and Edward Hughes with him.
I feel that here I should pause to relate what happened to this early High School Class of 1905 in Tredyffrin. John Wilson entered the Department of Electrical Engineering and has long since retired. George Famous, his interest stirred by the famous horses of Cassatt's farm, which his father managed, entered the field of veterinary medicine. Edward Hughes studied chemistry and became a chemist for the Sun Oil Company.
He was with Sun Oil for thirty-five years and developed the high octane gasoline which was so important in winning World War II; also a fine cutting oil was developed and patented in his name but used by Sun Oil. Robert Hughes entered the medical department and although he was just a boy from the country where a high school education had just been added to its schools, he was able to graduate with reasonable grades and has been serving the vicinity of Paoli as one of its medical doctors ever since. While attending high school in Paoli he had to walk back and forth from his home in the Valley.
This same class also had the distinction of starting athletics in the Tredyffrin High School. John Wilson became an athlete of good reputation on the track at the University.
The Class of 1906 had about eighteen members; Ella Dalton, (now Mrs. Rice); Marion Wilson, who after a tour of Germany served faithfully as a teacher in the Tredyffrin- Easttown High School until her retirement in 1950; Amos Eves, brother of Walter Eves; Florence Height, William Walker, and many others.
In the fall of 1908 the pupils from the Paoli High School were brought to Berwyn and studied with the Easttown School pupils until the T-E Joint High School building was finished enough to hold classes, which was in late October or early November. The Paoli School then became entirely a grammar school and remained so until the new Paoli School was built on Central Avenue.
The day of the transfer from Easttown High School to the first Joint High School in Pennsylvania was a gala day. All students collected their books and with their teachers formed a parade from the Easttown School to the New High School.
JOINT HIGH SCHOOL
"A joint meeting of the School Boards representing the townships of Tredyffrin and Easttown was held in the Easttown High School building on Bridge Avenue to consider the advisability of uniting the two townships in high school work". (From the minutes of May 23, 1907)
Those present from the Tredyffrin Board were - J. H. Dingee, President; Charles H. Charltan, Secretary; Henry R. Wilson, Treasurer; John Henry, Charles L. Thomas, Henry W. Davis, and Professor MacNamee of the Faculty. From the Easttown Board: George S. Hutton, President; George A. Johnson, Treasurer; and Joshua P. Lamborn, with Professor A. N. D. Snyder of the faculty. Members of the Devon Citizens' Association attending the meeting asked for time to hold a meeting of their own to discuss having a joint high school as they were not sure that this was the thing to do.
Mr. George Hutton was elected Temporary Chairman of this first Joint School Board in the State of Pennsylvania, and Mr. George Johnson, Secretary. A motion was passed unanimously to appoint a joint committee of four members to investigate and confer in the matter of grounds and building. The committee consisted of J. H. Dingee, J. P. Lamborn, H. R. Wilson, and George A. Johnson.
According to the minutes of the Board Meeting on June 26, 1907, D. Knickerbacker Boyd was selected as the architect. It was moved that Directors
"Dingee, Thomas, and Aiken prepare a circular letter (for adoption) to be sent to property owners who are the most interested taxpayers, requesting their presence at a town meeting at which time they will be informed of the proposed union of the two townships, the probable costs, location of buildings and the advantages obtained."
This meeting was held in the Easttown High School building on Bridge Avenue, Berwyn.
Another citizens meeting was held on July 11, 1907, but no test vote was taken. The sentiment of the meeting was for a joint high school. Such citizens attended this meeting as J. H. Dingee, William H. Doyle, George Fox, William T. Hunter, John R. Pechin, William T. Yerkes, Edward J. Beadle, Ernest Shainline, C. C. Wilson, Thomas Rogers, William Armstrong, and Ado Latch. R. S. MacNamee was Chairman and E. B. Hoge Secretary.
"Therefore Resolve that we now proceed to unite in such a movement and that we instruct our joint council to prepare an agreement covering all requirements relating to the same, and furthermore resolve that we proceed to purchase grounds, get plans and estimates of the probable cost of building." (From the minutes of July 29, 1907)
On August 3, 1907, the Boards voted to buy John Beadle's ground and moved that the Committee get a sixty-day option for $4,500. The Committee reported on August 16, that they could secure three and a quarter acres of John Beadle's ground for $5,000. All Directors except Thomas voted yes.
The first two bids were from the Media Construction Company for $34,000, and from Charles W. Denny for $53,975. Due to the high cost of living at that time the Board rejected these bids and considered revising the plans so that a building could be constructed for less cost. However, on September 22 a resolution was passed that the Board would borrow $40,000 to be divided as follows: Easttown $17,660, Tredyffrin $22,340.
New bids were therefore advertised for and received from W. H. Burns and a Mr. MeDevits. All Easttown members, together with Dingee and Wilson of the Tredyffrin Board, voted against the bid of McDevits, thus giving the contract to Mr. Burns at the sum of $27,834.50. The contract was signed on March 21, 1908, the building to be completed by October 1, 1908, with an additional cost of $3,590 for heating. It is interesting to note that when this contract was voted on, all Easttown members voted yes for Burns, who lived in Tredyffrin, and all Tredyffrin members voted no.
On May 18, 1908, Aiken and Wilson were appointed by the Board to secure the Presbyterian Church Hall in order to bring Paoli High School to Berwyn to commence school on September 1, but this was not accomplished, and Paoli students joined with Easttown High School at the Easttown School building.
And so we come to the first joint High School in this great State of Pennsylvania, a forerunner of the great movement for consolidation.
A glance at the picture will show that the original Joint High School building is constructed along the architectural lines of Carpenters' Hall, Philadelphia. When one stands on the campus in front of the High School and studies the front he observes many of the beauties of Carpenters' Hall, a classic of Colonial architecture. Notice the triangular lines and horizontal lines of the heavy cornices, the curved top of the second-floor windows and the rectangular first-floor windows, also the construction of dark and red brick, Georgian art. This is a description of the building made by Principal S. Paul Teamer.
On December 19, 1908, the building completed and equipped, the public was notified that it would be opened to them Saturday afternoons during January, 1909, from two until four P.M. The dedicatory service took place on February 9, 1909, in a snowstorm with 300 persons present.
The 1909 enrollment of the school was seventy-two students; this grew to 107 by 1920, and 330 by 1930. It closed its doors on June 15, 1955, with an enrollment of 479 in the three High School classes and 584 in the Junior High.
The first principal of the joint Tredyffrin-Easttown High School was Hayes C. Taylor of Kennett Square who came here from Abington. He served as principal until September, 1910, when he was succeeded by David Howard Robbins. Mr. Bobbins continued in this position until S. Paul Teamer's appointment in 1914.
A few years passed before it was necessary to think of expansion, but there were several things which happened during those years which may be of interest.
Samuel Toner, who lived on the Howellville Road just across from T-E High School, was elected Treasurer on December 4, 1911, at a salary of one per cent of the money paid out by him. The more money he could spend, the more he received.
On May 7, 1911, the Brotherhood of Andrew and Phillip asked permission to use the school grounds for baseball but was refused. Again in 1919 an organization asked to use the grounds for athletics, and this time it was granted, if they would deposit not less than $100.00 with the Board for damages and also secure a watchman to be approved by the Board with no expense to said Board.
In 1914 there were twenty-five in the graduating class, divided as follows: ten from Easttown, thirteen from Tredyffrin, one from Malvern and one from Willistown. There were 107 students in all four classes.
The tax rate that year was 6 1/2 mills, which brought into Tredyffrin Township for school purposes $20,556.90 with a State appropriation of $3,879.80.
From October 1, to November 1, 1918, the school was closed due to the prevailing influenza epidemic.
In 1920 the Pennsylvania State Superintendent of Education, Mr. Finnegan, recommended a four-year course in citizenship to the high schools of Pennsylvania, and Dr. O.G.L.Lewis of the School Board urged that T-E carry this four-year course. This became a required subject for all students as a social study course.
On September 5, 1923, the Districts asked that a special meeting be called on the subject of a possible Junior High School; this was five years before the Junior High came into being.
During the school year of 1926, scarlet fever broke out in the schools, and Board members were at a loss as to how to wipe out the epidemic; finally Dr. John Spangler persuaded Mrs. Arthur E. Kriebel to take up the work of School Nurse. At that time, Mrs. Kriebel could not drive a car, but her determination to wipe out scarlet fever helped her to learn to drive in a few short lessons. Visiting the homes of the students was a large part of the work and soon the disease was well under control. While Mrs. Kriebel had agreed to be the nurse only through the epidemic, she remained as School Nurse until November 14th, 1944, when she handed in her resignation as of February 1st, 1945.
During the time she was School Nurse she set up first aid rooms in all schools, assisted Mr. Rothemal (then Supervising Principal of Schools) in starting a dental clinic in the High School, and also inaugurated hot lunches in Easttown School, where she was assisted by Mrs. Thomas Bolster (mother of the present Dr. Bolster), Mrs. Jane Siner and Mrs. Martha Armstrong Burns.
Upon the resignation of Mrs. Kriebel, Mrs. Catherine Lang was appointed to take her place and has continued as the School Nurse to the present times.
The first physician to be appointed School Doctor was Dr. A.W. Baugh of Paoli; he was followed by Dr. Norman McFarland, Dr. Paul Schrode, and Dr. Thomas Bolster who is now serving.
In 1927, William Tollinger, a former graduate of T-E and President of the Class of 1918, came to T.E. as a member of the Faculty, teaching English, algebra,and history; also Miss Clara Henry, a former graduate, came to assist Miss Lehman with the commercial subjects.
A debating team under the direction of Mr. Tollinger and William Goebel met in 1929. They debated on such subjects as "Sunday baseball;" "Has the United States the right to fire on rum runners?" The subject "Resolved, that Denominationalism is a detriment to the spread of Christianity" was debated in four local churches with the T-E team defending the affirmative side. They won two of the debates and the other two were tied.
In 1929 the High School play "The Haunted House" was given in the new auditorium for the first time, and the Industrial Arts Class under Mr. Henry Potts painted and arranged the scenery for the new stage.
The band was organized on November 5th, 1930, under the leadership of Mr. Harold Brace with twenty-one members. The Band also gave its first concert that year in the new Auditorium.
About 1919 the school paper, the Eastfrin, began publication. This, a printed journal, was published four times a year. The 1926 staff, as published in the June issue (Vol. 7, No. 3) was Editor-in-chief, Vida Kinny; Associate Editors, Elwood Lewis and Ruth Bakley; School Notes, Esther Eves; Assistant Art Editor, Hugh Whitlock.
In 1929 the students began the publication of a mimeographed journal the Eastfrinette, issued between numbers of the Eastfrin.
A few notes from Volume 1, number 4, of the Eastfrinette, March 17th, 1930; are typical:
"The Senior Class is anticipating its trip to Washington, D.C, on June 4th, 5th, and 6th."
"0n Thursday night, February 20th, at the Parents' Reception, our band, under the leadership of Mr. Harold Brace, made its first public appearance."
"Coach Tollinger has had his track candidates working indoors and outdoors for several weeks. John Lyshon, one of the best mile runners in suburban schools, will captain this year's squad."
"Mr. Henry Potts inaugurated Tredyffrin-Easttown's first Industrial Arts Club. Andrew Peterson became its first President."
The Staff was Editor-in-chief - Christine Okie, Associate Editors - Frances Gamble, Charlotte DeLaRue, Frances Hamilton and Frances Baker; Business Manager - Wells Walker.
There was also a Dramatic Club, and at one of its meetings there was a reading by Miss Helen Bradley and a sketch by Miss Alleva and Mr. Knier. This issue also contained poems by Helen Hughes and Ethel Thomas, Edna Harwood and Anna May Desch.
The Eastfrinette of December l9th, 1930, tells of the annual Christmas party having become a fixed part of the activities as well as the XYZ party. (Both of these have been discontinued on account of the growth in population of the School.)
The 1930 Eastfrin says,
"The l930 Football Season at T.E. finished undefeated and retained the Powell Cup for another year."
This issue contained a poem by Helen Espenshade and reported that three new members had been added to the Band, Edwin Blair, trumpet; Alfred Dill, bass horn; and Richard Reider, clarinet.
Moving up to September, 1938, we find the following articles in the Eastfrin: " A senior's view on an important question" by Emily Nassau, "Our need for a junior high school" by Bertha Christie, "Our need for a junior high school" by Raymond Blydenburg.
The enrollment was as follows: Seniors, 108; Juniors, 140; Sophomores, 193, Freshmen, 166.
"Under the new law, all pupils who were sixteen years of age on or after enrollment day, September 7th, 1938, must attend until they reach their seventeenth birthday and all who were seventeen years of age on or after enrollment day, September, 1939, must attend until their eighteenth birthday."
Jean Lamborn now became the Editor-in-chief of the Eastfrinette.
The October 6th Eastfrinette announced the tellers for the banking system underway for 1938 and 1939, and we find such names as Mary Morelli (now Assistant Cashier of the Berwyn Bank) as one of the tellers.
However, these school papers were apparently long preceded by one apparently published in the old Easttown High School. In the Easter number of the Eastfrin, April, 1928 (Vol. 9, No. 2) an editorial from the first number of Our School Magazine for April, 1897, entitled "What We Uns Want," was reproduced, together with the Eastfrin Editor's, John McMahon's, reply, "What the Uns Are Going to Get." We quote them below:
"WHAT WE UNS WANT"
A gymnasium is a place fitted up with implements which, when used properly and not in excess, will tend to develope weak muscles and keep up the strength of those which are already strong. These gymnasiums are the most appreciated by men and boys, but ancient history states that the women of Greece were trained in these places so that their strength was equal to that of the men.
The boys of the High School would greatly appreciate a gymnasium, even if it was not so finely equipped as some. Many wet days, when it is not fit to go out on the field, could be spent with much pleasure, and besides in a way which tends to develop the person physically. It is to be hoped that the time when Berwyn High School will have at least some kind of a gymnasium is not far off.
"WHAT WE UNS ARE GOING TO GET"
Thirty-one years have quietly passed since this plea was
issued. Now we can triumphantly say: "We uns are going to have
a gymnasium." More than that, We uns are going to have two
gymnasiums -- and then some. Imagine, if you can, a new school
building, over a hundred feet square, in this building a large
auditorium seating over six hundred persons, about sixty feet
in length and width, the center of which may readily be converted
into a gymnasium forty feet wide, while a raised area
thirty-five feet wide at the western end may at will be used
as a stage, a smaller basketball floor, or a spectators'
balcony for the larger court.
By this time the registration had increased so greatly that additional facilities were vitally needed. With a Junior High School projected, the original three-and-a-quarter acres had been increased to ten. In 1924 the roofs of the east and west wings were raised in order to provide two more classrooms. In 1925 Mr. E. Nelson Edwards, architect, proposed plans for a two-story wing.
A two-room temporary building was constructed in 1927 where the present Junior High School building stands. It was used for the Commercial Department until the spring of 1929 when the new wing was completed. This wing contained a combination auditorium and gymnasium, six classrooms and locker rooms; it was a much needed addition to the old 1908 building.
Tredyffrin-Easttown now needed more room for athletics and the fields were graded and resurfaced, four tennis courts were constructed and the fields were fenced. Also included was a quarter-mile running track. Steel grandstands were placed on the field. The iron gates and fence at the front of the field were paid for by the Students Association.
June 1928 graduated the last class from the 1908 building. There were twenty-six members in this class, the officers of which were K. Paul Jones, President; John A. Zapp, Vice President; Margaret A. Tavener, Secretary; Abram T. Heibeck, Treasurer.
Time has passed since 1908, so I might mention the Board in action in 1928 Fredrick a. Armstrong, Charles S. W. Donaghy, Eric Ottey, A. W. Supplee, G. A. Whitehead represented Tredyffrin, and Thomas G. Aiken, M.D., William S. Dillon, J. H. W. McQuiston, Joseph W. Sharp, Jr., and John L. Spangler, M.D. represented Easttown.
Upon completion of the wing to the 1908 building in 1928, the school curriculum was reorganized so as to meet the needs of the pupils more adequately. The Manual Training and Mechanical Drawing classes were expanded to a full four-year Practical Arts Course. The Domestic Science Class was enlarged to a four-year Practical Arts Course. This was abandoned a short time afterward, but it was restored to the curriculum in 1937 and 1938.
The twenty-first annual commencement, the first from the 1928 addition, was held June 20, 1929, with thirty-nine graduating. Among those we find Helen M. Fees, now the wife of Royal Hintze, a former teacher of T-E. The honor roll had only two names, John F. McMahon and Clara Elizabeth Zepp. This was partly due to the fact that Commercial students were not eligible for the Honor Roll. The Class President was Harry H. Lewis, and the Vice President Leonard Rambo. Bertha Neiman was the Secretary and Samuel Blair Treasurer. Miss Neiman has been a Secretary in the High School Office ever since her graduation.
fter the 1928 expansion we all remember the great depression years, and the Board, was compelled to use every effort for economy.
1935 found the following faculty at Tredyffrin- Easttown - S. Paul Teamer, Principal and History Teacher; Wallace S. Brey, Social Studies; William Crouse and Mr. Heland, Physical Education; Mrs. Mary L. Dunlap, Commercial; Nell G. Eckert, Physical Education; Isabel J. Ellis, English and Librarian; Lillian C. Fisher, English and French; Raymond Carman, Chemistry; Stanley Gray, Music; Clara W. Henry, Typewriting; Royal H. Hentze, Science and Biology; Edward L. Hughes, Algebra and shop; Ethel E. Johnson, Art; Edwin L. Kneeland, History and Civics; Harland J. Martin, English History; Henry C. Potts, Shop; Oliver E. Robinson, Mathematics; Alger C. Whitcraft, Jr., English Junior Business; Marian D, Wilson, Latin and French; Mary E. Wingard, English and Library; and Charles H. Wise, Mathematics.
Where are some of these teachers now in 1955? Mr. Teamer has passed away. Mr. Brey is enjoying Florida as his home. Miss Ellis has married and is living near Pottstown. Miss Fisher has married. Royal Hentze is principal of a school in Flemington, New Jersey. Mr Potts, Miss Wilson and Miss Wingard have retired. Mr. Wise is Principal of Spring City High School. A number of the others are still members of the faculty.
Then came the years 1938 and 1939 when the need for more classrooms was again felt. The North Berwyn School, on the southeast corner of Conestoga and Howellville Roads, had been closed since 1932. This four-room building was renovated and placed in first-class condition by the Tredyffrin Board so that it could be used by the High School. The two first-floor rooms were shops, the second-floor front Domestic Science, and second-floor back, Art and Mechanical Drawing. With WPA resources and with a capital outlay of $3,600 all this was made possible.
Nineteen thirty nine found the Joint Board faced with many major problems. In 1912 the Showalter Act had been passed providing for State vocational aid for agriculture, home economics and industrial education. In 1917 the Pennsylvania Legislature accepted the provisions of the Federal Smith- Hughes Law granting federal aid for the promotion of vocational education.
This act stimulated and definitely inaugurated the present program of vocational training.
Agriculture was not adopted as a course at T-E until 1939 when thirty-four boys enrolled in the course to study gardening, nursery work and poultry. The classes were held in the two-room portable building which formerly stood south of the High School building, where the Junior High now stands; it had just been moved to the ground south of the North Berwyn School building, now also a part of the High School.
The course was dropped in 1943 - 44 as there was only a possible enrollment of fifteen. In 1946 the Chester Valley Grange requested that the Agricultural Course be resumed, but the Board voted no. Again in 1947 the Pomona Grange of Phoenixville asked to have agriculture taught, but this request was not granted and the course has never been returned to the curriculum.
The enrollment for the Agriculture Course follows:
We will not go into the history of the Junior High School, but on September 27, 1939, the cornerstone was laid and the Junior High School was built adjoining the Joint High School. The High School enrollment for 1939 was 466.
In 1940 Dr. O.G.L. Lewis was President of the Tredyffrin Board and Joseph W. Sharp, Jr., President of Easttown Board. Wilmer K. Groff was then Superintendent and S. Paul Teamer
Principal. On June 6 of that year 121 graduated. The Class motto was "Today We Build for Tomorrow". The officers were William Wait Ward, President; John E. Davis, Vice President; Anna June Lipp, Secretary; and Louis S. Lolli, Treasurer, On the Honor Roll we find Mary Ann Morelli, now assistant cashier of the Berwyn National Bank, Martha Dill, James B. Patton, Jr., B. Dorothy Lewis, Frank H. Markle, Jr., Walter Stull, William Wait Ward and Marie Nassau., The words of the Class Song were written by Francis Curtis Jobson, Jr., and the music by Dorothy Jane Disharoon and Sara Jane Comins. Mary Morelli read an essay using the Class motto as her theme. Mr. C.C. Wilson of the Tredyffrin Board presented the diplomas.
In the Eastfrin for September 22, 1938, Vol. V, No. 1, we find these interesting figures:
Enrollment for the Last Nine Years
In 1950 the Board gave the High School a new athletic field, and on September 15th, of that year the field was dedicated as the "Teamer Field" in honor of Mr. Teamer, former coach and principal. The Field has a capacity for seating 3,100 people, and a new electric Scoreboard and clock given by the Class of 1950 at a cost of $282.83.
It was the first school field on the Main Line with permanent lighting for night events.
At the night of dedication the Tredyffrin-Easttown football team met the Lansdale High School team and won by a score of eighteen to six, Mr. Stanley Gray had his famous Marching Band provide music on this occasion.
On June 9th, 1953, the last meeting of the Tredyffrin- Easttown Joint Board was held and the following resolution passed:
In this the last meeting of the Tredyffrin-Easttown Joint High School Board, the members desire to register with satisfaction the spirit of unanimity which has existed at our meetings and in our operations for many years. That this is due in no small measure to the efforts of our President we all are agreed.
Be It Resolved, therefore, that we extend to our President, William C. Latch, our gratitude for his long years of valuable service to this Board, our appreciation of his patience, his kindly humor and his never failing courtesy in the conduct of our meetings, and our acknowledgement of his high singleness of purpose in the government of our affairs.
Be it further Resolved that this sentiment be placed upon the minutes of this meeting for the benefit of future Boards, and that it be included in the news coverage of the meeting so that Mr. Latch's fellow citizens may know the high regard we have for him."
The School Directors of Tredyffrin
Following this date, Tredyffrin-Easttown continued to function as in the past, but with the organization meeting of the Jointure it immediately came under their jurisdiction.
And so we come to the final closing of Tredyffrin- Easttown High School and the passing of that organization which was the first Joint High School in the State of Pennsylvania.
It is time to pause and say a few words about the class of 1955 who will now enter the Tredyffrin-Easttown High School Alumni as its last members.
The officers of the class were: Charles Joseph Chiccino, President; William Garfield Matthews, Vice President; Juanita Marie Reynolds, Secretary; Gloria Donato, Treasurer. The Class motto was, "United We Stand, Divided We Fall." The words and music of the Class song were written by Alice M. Royer:
The sun has set on T-E High
Those taking part in the program were: William Garfield Matthews, Faith Alison Hurst, Cynthia Ann LaCourse, V. Monti, Vivian Jeanette Waters, Sidney L. Martin, Juanita Marie Reynolds, Richard Alan O'Connor.
A School flag for the new High School was presented by Charles Joseph Chiccino as the Memorial from the class. The exercises closed with a benediction by Rev. Charles W. Young, Jr. which followed the singing of "Fair T and E", the School song, which goes as follows:
There were 142 graduates on June 8, 1955, in comparison with the nineteen at the first graduation in 1909.
The following interesting figures were in the Eastfrin.
An interesting note on this, the last Commencement of Tredyffrin-Easttown High School, is that Mrs. Edna Matthews of Paoli was eligible to sit on the stage as a School Director. She also sat on the stage as a teacher at the first Commencement of Tredyffrin-Easttown Joint High School, having taught previous to the opening of the Joint School in the Paoli High School, and having been transferred with her students.
On June 9th, 1953, the last meeting of the Tredyffrin- Easttown High School Board was held, and from that time on the School was under the jurisdiction of the new Jointure. Therefore I believe that the early developments of the Jointure should be a part of this history.
As far back as 1950 we find East Whiteland making a request to enter their eighth grade students in the Junior High, but, due to lack of room, the request was not granted. The new Jointure made possible the use of the Tredyffrin- Easttown High School as part of the Junior High, thus accommodating the students from other townships.
For some time the Township School Boards that were sending their students to Tredyffrin-Easttown High had been getting together for dinner meetings where there were lengthy discussions about entering into negotiations with the two townships to form a Jointure. These dinner meetings were the root for the new High School which opened in 1955. Mr. Hobson C. Wagner, who was then Superintendent of Schools, laid the groundwork for the Jointure but passed away July 2, 1952, and so did not see his work completed.
The Pennsylvania Economy League was then called in to make a survey of the districts and to give its recommendations.
On November 17th, 1952, a Planning Committee met with the objective of selecting a site for the proposed Senior High School and to select an architect for further planning. The members of this Committee were George Hammond of Tredyffrin, Walter Gustafson of Charlestown, Fridtjof Tobiessen of Easttown, Harry A. Samworth of East Whiteland and Everett C. Gottier of Malvern.
A joint meeting of the Boards of Education of the School Districts of Charlestown, Easttown, East Whiteland, Malvern, Tredyffrin, and Willistown was held in the Tredyffrin-Easttown High School on May 7th, 1953. Members present were:
Also present were: Dr. J. Maurice Strattan, Superintendent of Schools;. Dr. B. Arton Hess, Principal of Tredyffrin- Easttown High School; Mr. Clyde T. Saylor, County Superintendent of Schools; Members of the firm of Howell Lewis Shay (architects); Mrs. Hobson Wagner, widow of the former Superintendent of Schools; Mrs. Edna H. Myers and Miss Winifred F. Shank, Secretaries in the District Office; Miss Bertha M. Neiman and Mrs. Philomena Vallese, Secretaries in the High School office; Mr. Raymond Shortlidge, Attorney for the Board, Mr. William H. Ashton, Chairman of the Steering Committee for the High School Jointure, presided, and Mrs. Vida K. Griffith, Secretary of the Tredyffrin-Easttown Joint Board, acted as Secretary.
At this meeting Mr. Lawrence S. Roney paid tribute to Hobson C. Wagner who four years before had started the preliminary planning for this Jointure.
The following Committee had been appointed; Walter I. Gustafson, of Charlestown, Henry W. McQuiston, of East Whiteland, Albert E. Byecroft, of Malvern, William Brosius, of Tredyffrin and William Ashton, of Willistown. They reported that the Tredyffrin and Easttown Joint High School Boards had purchased from Melvin Long 10.1067 acres of ground to the west of tho present High School for $12,128.04 of which Tredyffrin had paid 63.28 % and Easttown 36.72 % The Committee felt that this would be the proper location for a new high school building.
A recess was called to allow all the Boards to meet and consider resolutions to enter tho High School Jointure. After this recess, all Boards reported that they had passed resolutions to enter the Jointure of the six School Districts. Mr. Saylor spoke of the historic significance of this occasion, coming forty-five years after the formation of Tredyffrin- Easttown Joint High School in 1908 as the first joint high school in Pennsylvania. He said he believed that the agreement as prepared for this Jointure would set the pattern for many such agreements in the future.
After the signing of the agreements by the President and Secretary of each of the six Boards, it was agreed that the first meeting of the Operating Committee (to consist of two members from each of the six Boards) should be held May 18th, 1953. The following Operating Committee was appointed- Charlestown, Gustafson and Kummer; Easttown, Roney and Tobiessen; East Whiteland, McQuiston and Samworth; Malvern, Byecroft and Souser; Tredyffrin, Brosius and Hammond; Willistown, Ashton and Palmer.
At the Organization Meeting on June 10th, 1853, Mr. Lawrence S. Roney was elected President of the Joint Board, Mr. Gustafson Vice President, Mrs. Vida K. Griffith Secretary and Mrs. Eugenia C. Madeira Treasurer.
The name "Paoli Area School Authority" was selected to be used by the Authority Committee as a business name for the sale of bonds. Budget figures for the construction costs were given as $2,421,250.00. The annual rental would not exceed $136,584.00 based on a forty-year bond issue at 3 1/2 % but this was changed to a twenty-five-year bond issue with a rent of $156,400,00.
The breakdown of the construction budget was as follows:
1,969,000 cubic feet at $10.28 per cubic foot or 121,265 square feet at a cost of 16.66 per square foot.
Howell Lewis Shay -- Architect
The building was planned to accommodate 800 students and opened with an enrollment of about 600 and a teaching staff of seventy-four.
A number of names for the new High School were proposed from time to time, and after much discussion the Public Relations Committee presented the name "Conestoga High School," which the Joint Board voted to accept. At the same time it voted to use the name "Tredyffrin-Easttown Junior High School" for the combined Junior High School and the original Tredyffrin -Easttown High School building, as both will be used as a Junior High School.
The North Berwyn School building on the southeast corner of Conestoga and Howellville Roads had been used by the High School but owned by the Tredyffrin Board. In order to have the Junior High as a unit, Tredyffrin Board sold the North Berwyn School to the Joint Townships for $40,000. Plans were made to use the residence on the Junior High School grounds as the office building, and the offices were moved from the Easttown School in August, 1955.
On October 27th, 1954, the cornerstone of the new High School was laid. Dr. J. Maurice Strattan, Superintendent of Schools, made the opening remarks. During a slight drizzle of rain the following articles were placed in the stone: A copy of the school paper by its editor, Sallie McMillan; a copy of the 1954 Year Book by its coeditors, Faith Hurst and Mary Lynn Ward; a copy of the School System Progress Reports by Walter Gustafson, a member of the Board; a copy of the first minutes of the Joint Board of Education by Lawrence S. Roney, President of the Board; a copy of the lease to the property and an Indenture Statement by Edward Street; a brief history of secondary education in Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships, written by Mildred F. Fisher and placed in the cornerstone by the late William C. Latch, a member of the first Tredyffrin- Easttown Board; a list of the contributors to the Hobson Wagner Memorial Fund by William Pyott, Chairman of the Parent-Teachers Association Joint Council; signatures of the classes of 1955, 1956, and 1957 by their respective
class presidents; signatures of the employees of the present High School, placed by Dr. B. Anton Hess, principal; a copy of the local weekly newspaper, and a set of 1954 proof coins donated by the Paoli Bank, placed by Mr. Richard O'Connor.
A reading was given by Lillian Cordero, Class of 1955. The stone was contributed by Paul Ottey of Frazier. The invocation was given by Rev. John H. Scott of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Berwyn, and music was provided by the High School Band under their leader, Mr. Stanley Gray.
The Conestoga Senior High School was opened to instruction on September 9th, 1955. On the 24th and 25th it was opened to and admired by a large number of local residents, and at 1:30 P.M. on Sunday the 25th the Hobson C. Wagner Memorial Auditorium was formally dedicated. This was named in memory of Mr. Wagner, former Superintendent of Schools, who died July 2d, 1952. It contains a Baldwin Electric Organ, funds for the purchase of which were secured by popular subscription. An account of "The Educational Accomplishments of Hobson C. Wagner" was given by Richard Townsend, President of the Alumni Association, and William Pyott, Chairman of the Gift Committee of the Parent- Teachers Association, made the official presentation of the organ.
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