One-room school days fascinate York County history students
Readers love to talk – and write – about one room schools. Here, Pat (Grove) Goodling of Dover sent this photo of her class in Chanceford Township’s Clearview School in 1951. She attended the school for seven years. Her teachers through the years were Evelyn Johnson, Lowella McLaughlin and Pauline Trout. ‘I have a lot of good memories of my school years at Clearview,’ she said. Pictured are, front row from left, Joyce Walker, Judy Runkle, Joan Waltemyer, Elaine Miller, Robert Miller, John Tallarico, David Miller, David Markle, Perry Enfield and John Walker; and back row, Goodling with Carolyn Walker, William Runkle, Frank Tallarico, Robert McDermott, Earl Miller, Max Enfield, Florence Markle and Betty Tallarico. The teacher, Lowella McLaughlin, is also pictured. Background posts: One-room memories flow from readers fingertips, West Manchester book contains valuable gold coins and York County’s, Wellsville’s one-room schools, by the numbers.
Few topics capture the interest of local history enthusiasts more than the topic of one-room schools.
In fact, the York Daily Record/Sunday News created a Web section All in one room for readers to share their stories and photographs… .
And they’re doing so in great numbers, as evidenced by the following samples:
Harmony Grove School
IVA B. NACE of Springettsbury Township attended Harmony Grove School, in the Dover School District, from 1930 to 1938.
Nace and her siblings walked about a mile to the school from their farm between Harmony Grove and Davidsburg, she said.
The school’s exterior was quite plain, she said.
Inside were desks of different sizes to fit students from first through eighth grade. There was a blackboard and a stove for heat. Across the back of the room were hooks for hanging hats and coats, and on one side of the room there was a piano or organ.
“I can’t remember which, but we did have music class several times a week,” she said.
Recess included a variety of games, and the girls sometimes crossed the road to play in the woods where a local church held picnics. “It was fun to find little novelties either lost or left behind,” she said.
As with most one-room schools, one teacher taught all eight grades, some with one or two pupils, others with as many as five or six, she said.
“I often wondered how this one person could do everything, and I mean everything, from arithmetic, geography, spelling, reading, writing and as mentioned before, music, as well as keeping the fire going, sweeping out the room and maintaining discipline as he moved from grade to grade,” Nace said.
“Life was not easy for us, but we enjoyed the pleasures we experienced in our one-room school and life, in general, was uncomplicated,” she said.
JOHN CONTINO of Dillsburg, who retired from the York City School District in 1981, started his teaching career at Mark’s School, off Camp Betty Washington Road near Fritz’s Turkey Farm in York Township.
After serving as a pilot during World War II, Contino returned home and resumed his studies at Shippensburg State Teachers College, now Shippensburg University.
He graduated in 1947, but teaching jobs were hard to come by “especially for a Catholic of Italian lineage, so I purchased a business at the intersection of Mount Rose Avenue and the Camp Betty Washington Road,” he said.
Things changed when Eli Weineke, who owned a nearby truck farm, stopped in Contino’s store and asked, in his heavy Pennsylvania Dutch accent, “Chun, you are a teacher, ain’t?”
The regular teacher, a Mr. Grim, was ill, and they needed a teacher to substitute for him. “The students at the school had ‘run off two teachers’ and he said they needed a sub to take over. Would I be interested? I accepted,” Contino said.
There were 42 students, and Contino completed the school year and returned in the fall of 1949 for a second year. The following fall, in 1950, Contino was transferred to a new, consolidated school in Spry.
Mark’s School is now a private residence, he said.
GLENN BOLL of Wyomissing attended Berkheimer’s School two miles south of Spring Grove, along with his sister, Barbara, and brother, Dean. The school was a little more than a mile away, and they walked.
His teacher was Evelyn Mosebrook, and Boll said he “loved the ground she walked on and still does.”
“She was a great teacher. If you didn’t understand a problem, she would sit with you no matter how long it took, until you understood everything. She wrote and produced plays several times a year using her students as the characters,” he said.
Mosebrook spent time after school helping Boll prepare for the eighth-grade examination, and afterward drove him home in her Model A Ford. Boll said Mosebrook pushed him hard, and he had the best mark on the test that year, beating classmate Ruby Rohrbaugh by one point. “She still hates me,” he said.
“Recess was great,” he said. He played softball and flirted with the girls outside the brick schoolhouse. It had a porch, and the inside was plain, with a big stove in the rear and rows of desks with inkwells. The wood floors were oiled every fall, and a slate blackboard with a teacher’s desk lined the front of the room.
“My first date was Rozella Wagner. She and I took a bus to York to see a movie. I think we were 12,” he said.