This Google Street View image from 2012 shows the former Wilson Elementary School in North York, part of the Central York School District.
Diving deeper on some former local schools
Today, I’d like to share a handful of reader memories and questions about former York County schools. If you’ve been reading for a while, you probably know that I get a lot of mail on that topic, and also that it’s one of my favorites to discuss.
I had a letter from Dale Greenholt after I last wrote about Wilson School in York. The one I was writing about was Wilson Elementary School on the very western side of the city, on Carlisle Avenue across from the fairgrounds.
Dale wrote, “I am confused but maybe there were two Wilson schools in York. I went to Wilson Elementary School in North York uphill from about Fifth Street (West) of North George Street. I only went there for first grade as my parents decided to send my sister and I to York Christian Day School located on the Susquehanna Trail my first year of school there. They were in the process of building a permanent building.”
He noted, “I can’t remember much of Wilson School except that I climbed steps and the classroom was on the southeast corner of the building. Our room windows overlooked North George Street.”
I was happy upon reading Dale’s note for one reason: “His” Wilson was in Central York School District, and they are noted for keeping a very good history!
From their website, I learned:
- Wilson Elementary School in North York was built in 1911 and closed in 1981.
- An addition was put on in 1959.
- After closing, the school building was sold to Yorktowne Business Institute.
Today, the building’s address is 20 Sigsbee Ave., North York. It’s right in front of Prospect Hill Cemetery and, I think, would be recognizable to most people driving by. It’s been recently renovated into high-end apartments known as “Flats on Sigsbee.” Some sources I found suggested it might have been used by WellSpan after YBI closed, but I can’t confirm that for sure.
So, Dale, you were absolutely right on the multiplicity of elementaries named Wilson – and I am grateful to you for bringing this one to our attention!
Arch Street School
Another letter came from Ron Ellis, who wrote after seeing a letter from Walter “Will” Williams about the former Arch Street School.
Ron wrote, “I have known Walter for over 50 years. My parents owned and operated a service station at the corner of North George and Arch streets. My first home I owned was on Arch Street, across the street and up the block from the school.”
Ron shared a photo of Arch Street School taken in the 1970s. He noted, “The gray building behind the school was a business called Auto Color, which sold automotive paint.”
The Arch Street School was torn down around 2006 when the York Revolution stadium was built, so photos like Ron’s are a great way to keep it preserved!
And finally for today:
Not too long ago, I heard from reader – and friend! – Audrey (Kornbau) Lerew, who can normally be found doing research to help me answer other people’s questions. This time, though, she is looking for some info of her own. Her father’s job application for York Bus Co. said he want to Hengst Schooh in York Township from 1912 to 1922, and she’s never been able to turn up much information on Hengst’s.
“I was wondering if you had anything in your files for the school,” Audrey wrote. She also checked in with fellow blogger Stephen H. Smith of Yorkspast and tried the York County History Center archives, but that and my own searching didn’t turn up much.
Stephen did have the following info for Audrey: “Hengst’s One-Room Schoolhouse was a frame structure. It still stands, as a private home, at 2829 Vireo Road; with an addition to the south end and the main entrance shifted to the west side.”
He shared the photo you see with today’s column; I thought that might be good at jogging some memories to see who reading might be able to tell us more. It’s hard because of the years it seems like this school was in existence, but I am hoping some other families may have documented some of their parents’ or grandparents’ memories of attending or teaching there, or of the structure itself.