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Schoolhouse Symbols on Maps, Part 2; and a 1921 Brenneman’s School Photo

1921 Photo of Students in front of Brenneman’s Schoolhouse in York Township (Ted Schaefer Collection)

My original intent for Part 2 of Schoolhouse Symbols on Maps was to use various map sections focusing on the area around Brenneman’s Schoolhouse for other reasons.  Another terrific reason surfaced over the weekend when Ted Schaefer, in response to my post on Friday, supplied me with a 1921 photo of students in front of Brenneman’s Schoolhouse in York Township.

PLEASE POST A REPLY if you can identify any of the students in the photo.

Ted Schaefer’s dad Theodore H. Schaefer Sr. and his sister Violet (Schaefer) Grove are both on the photo.  Ted’s dad is the second from the right in front row.  His sister is the 3rd from right in the 4th row.  I’m in the process of verifying identities of my uncle Emory Barshinger and my aunt Virgie (Barshinger) Heindel and am checking out a lead on someone that may know the identities of some of other the students.  I’ll follow-up on this school later, once more of the students are identified.

Related Brenneman’s One-Room Schoolhouse posts include:


In previous posts I noted schoolhouse symbols on several maps are fairly complete countywide, as opposed to schoolhouse names that sporadically occur on Historical Topographic Maps.  When I use schoolhouse symbols to locate a named school, I tend to check maps from 1860, 1876, and 1915.  Today I’ll discuss schoolhouse symbols that appear on a 1941 map, however these symbols have a twist; these symbols note if the schoolhouse is occupied or unoccupied.

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.  I have been told that only when an abandoned schoolhouse is re-used as another type of dwelling or business, the flag comes off and it is mapped as a normal structure.

Legend Key for Educational Structures on 1941 York County Map prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Highways

By 1941, consolidation of one-room schools had started in a few counties in the state, as it did in a few small pockets in York County, thus the ‘double flagged school’ notations on a map legend.  In York County, consolidation really took off in the later 1940s and was rapidly completed by the early 1950s.

The following four map sections show the area surrounding Brenneman’s Schoolhouse that was located at the corner of South Queen Street and Donna Lane in York Township.  The top two maps are 1941 and 1915 York County Maps prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Highways.  The bottom two maps are from the 1876 Atlas of York County and Shearer’s 1860 Map of York County.

Four Map Sections in the Vicinity of Brenneman’s Schoolhouse in York Township

The 1941 Map has a lot of information besides the roads.  The locations of many structures, of all types, are indicated.  Because this map is so cluttered, I tend to use the 1941 map as a last resort in locating a schoolhouse, i.e. if I discover minor conflicting locations on the other three maps, this map becomes the tie-breaker.  If you want to know the 1941 status of an earlier closed schoolhouse, this would be the resource to use.

About 30% of all one-room schools in York County were at one time identified by name on what are now Historical Topographic Maps.  A very few townships had nearly 100% coverage, however most townships had a scattering to no coverage as far as having their one-room schoolhouses named on a Topographic Map.

For the other 70% of the schools I find a simple description in a township history or someone gives me a verbal description, i.e. “Brenneman’s was along South Queen Street near Tyler Run Road.”  I next tend to check maps from 1860, 1876, and 1915 for schoolhouse symbols in that general area.  The one-room schoolhouse in each example map section is encircled in yellow highlight.  From these map positions I can detail the actual corner of a crossroads, or the location along a road where the schoolhouse was located.

Why do I check all three maps?  The 1915 map is easy to check, the schoolhouses pop out at you.  The 1876 and 1860 maps many times provide a secondary verification of placement based upon school name, i.e. when the school is named after an individual that provided the land for the school.  In the case of Brenneman’s Schoolhouse, I have underlined A. Brenneman, who owned the nearby Hotel in the 1876 map.  If the school is older, many times the 1860 map will provide this secondary verification.

The 1860 map occasionally provides information pointing to an earlier school in the general area.  This is the primary reason I have selected the Brenneman Schoolhouse vicinity for my examples.  The 1860 ‘S.H.’ schoolhouse location is at a different site; it is along Springwood Road prior to the existence of Donna Lane.

One might conclude that the 1860 mapmaker simply misplaced the schoolhouse.  I’d say that was possible, however every time I have used other sources to prove that might be the case; there were in fact two completely different schoolhouses.  I’ll go through a short family history and land deeds associated with A. Brenneman this Friday to show you why I’ve reached the conclusion there was an earlier separate schoolhouse in this area.

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts