Ghost mystery of Longstown Schoolhouse solved
Readers provided some neat reactions to my posts about the Longstown One-Room Schoolhouse in Springettsbury Township. Ted Fauth suggested, “A pictures is worth a thousand words. Why not show the 1938 aerial image of the schoolhouse?” Good suggestion Ted; for comparison, I’ve inserted the 3/19/1938 Historic Aerial Photo, from the Penn Pilot web site, in the upper right corner of the previously posted York County Property Viewer’s 2016 Aerial Photo.
Linda Long provided enlightening comments about the ghost mystery of that schoolhouse. Bob Taylor was very observant in questioning the schoolhouse symbol on the 1941 map. Bob’s question puzzled me, until Brenda Knaub came to the rescue with her memories of a schoolhouse fire. Thanks to all these readers for their feedback.
First some further background to the Ted Fauth comment. Benjamin Horn and Sarah J. Horn, his wife, sold a lot to The Independent School District of Springettsbury Township in 1912 for $150 (Deed Book 18O, Page 155); upon which the Longstown One-Room Schoolhouse was built. That school lot was along the public road leading from York to Longstown and the deed string originated from the present large lot at 2655 Mount Rose Avenue. On the revised illustration, per Ted Fauth’s suggestion, you can now see how I used the 1938 historic aerial photo of this same piece of ground, to pinpoint where the Longstown schoolhouse stood on that lot.
In 1941, The Independent School District of Springettsbury Township sold the school lot to Luther P. Marks and Thelma E. Marks, husband and wife, for $1,500 (Deed Book 28S, Page 696). The present deed for the large lot at 2655 Mount Rose Avenue contains two tracts. Tract 1, to the west side, is noted as the school lot and Tract 2, to the east side, is where the present buildings stand. Accordingly, per the 1938 aerial photo, I’ve pointed to where the schoolhouse stood on, what is known today as, Tract 1 and one can see the present buildings were already built on the Tract 2 property in 1938. After the school district sold the schoolhouse lot and presumably after the schoolhouse was torn down, the school lot acreage was added to acreage of the adjoining property on the east side, thus forming the large lot at 2655 Mount Rose Avenue that exists today.
Bob Taylor was very observant in questioning the schoolhouse symbol on the 1941 map. He referenced my post were I explained that symbol: Schoolhouse Symbols on Maps, Part 2; and asked “If the schoolhouse was last used in 1934, why is the symbol solid, as if it was still being occupied by school students in 1941?”
The 1941 York County Map prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Highways uses a square with a little flag to indicate the location of schoolhouses. If the square is filled in solid, the schoolhouse is occupied; i.e. the building is still used as a schoolhouse. If the square is not filled in, the schoolhouse is unoccupied; i.e. building is no longer used as a school however it is still owned by a school district. I have been told that only when a schoolhouse is sold and re-used as another type of dwelling or business, the flag comes off and it is mapped as a normal structure. Here is the legend key taken directly from the 1941 York County Map prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Highways.
I initially answered Bob Taylor, explaining information about the symbols on the 1941 map was collected a few years earlier, i.e. in the late 1930s. However with a schoolhouse closing in 1934, it does seem like an unoccupied school symbol should have been used.
On Sunday, Brenda Knaub came to the rescue with these memories of a schoolhouse fire, which resulted in the Longstown One-Room Schoolhouse being occupied by students in the late 1930s.
Uncle Bert always talked about being bused to the Longstown schoolhouse after their Locust Grove schoolhouse burnt down following the great Thanksgiving snowstorm of 1938. Bert always claimed he was amongst the first students bused to school in the county.
I located an article in the December 19, 1938 issue of The Gazette and Daily, with the headline “Locust Grove Pupils Are Now Attending School At Longstown.” Quoting from the article:
Students of the Locust Grove School, which was leveled by flames recently, are attending the Longstown School, which was closed several years ago. The Locust Grove School was located in Windsor Township, while the Longstown School is in the Springettsbury Independent District. This means that the Windsor Township Board must rent the Longstown School from the Independent District until a new building is erected for the Locust Grove pupils. The students are transported to and from the school in one of the buses of the York-East Prospect Line.
Linda Long provided these enlightening comments about the ghost mystery of the Longstown One-Room Schoolhouse.
It is my understanding the so-called weird happenings in the Longstown schoolhouse grew out of an “observation lesson” taught by an early teacher at that school. At the end of each school day, the teacher would ask the kids to observe the placement of items in the room. Before the start of the next school day, the teacher would move one item. After opening exercises, the kids were given an opportunity to see if they could identify the moved item.
The arrival of a new teacher did not stop a few older kids from secretly pulling the same stunt. The exception, these kids moved items, so that they could fabricate stories for the younger kids about a ghost haunting the schoolhouse. My mother was one of the many kids on the receiving end of those stories, however she was lucky to have an older sister who shared what the older kids were doing. If you ever discover a photo of Longstown schoolhouse, please contact me. I’d love to have a copy.
Links to related posts include:
- Rocky start for Longstown One-Room Schoolhouse
- Longstown One-Room Haunted Schoolhouse
- Upheaval at the One-Room Schoolhouse
- Schoolhouse Symbols on Maps, Part 2
- Locations of five One-Room Schoolhouses that closed in 1952; and The Avalong Connection
- Stony Brook One-Room Schoolhouse (1913-1952)
- Photo of Students that attended Stony Brook One-Room School in 1949