A former one-room schoolhouse near Pine Grove will host the inaugural educational program

Sept. 15—PINE GROVE — After 70 years without classes, the newly reopened Stanhope School will hold its first educational program this weekend.

Volunteers have spent the past eight years restoring the one-room schoolhouse, building an approximation of its old days as an educational facility.

Although no longer a functioning school for children in grades one through eight, the school at Pine Grove Twp. will host several educational programs highlighting its original 76-year history.

On August 13, Stanhope School held its grand opening, which was attended by over 50 people, including a few alumni.

The inaugural educational program will take place at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, focusing on the memories and reminiscences of several alumni.

“We’re going to bring in (former) students and do a program about what it was like to go to school here, what life was like, how going to school here impacted their lives “said Linda Mills, president of restoration. project.

Restoration efforts

The project, organized by the Pinegrove Historical Society, has been ongoing since 2014. When volunteers began restoration, the school was a dusty, dilapidated structure from years of disuse.

Now, with over 2,500 total volunteer hours, the school stands out as a pristine, clean and authentic interpretation of what it looked like at the turn of the 20th century.

The original hardwood floor has been restored and cleaned, and a chalkboard and belly stove sit on either side of the room. A variety of old school books can be found on the wrought iron desks and on several shelves in the girls’ locker room, which is now designated as the library.

“We try to keep it as original as possible,” Mills said. “Some things had to be replaced because of age.”

Mills points out that the school is not meant to be a replica of the historic structure, but merely provides a glimpse into the school’s past.

Due to all the school records, books, furniture, and other items that have gone missing over the years, the new school contains many items that volunteers donated to the restoration effort.

“We try to keep it as authentic as possible, but it’s not historic preservation,” Mills said.

Although it looks pristine, the school needs some touch-ups and improvements before it can be considered complete. For example, Mills said, volunteers will have to restore the school bell to its original place on the steeple. Now the bell sits in the middle of the classroom, surrounded by a few wrought iron desks.

The original Stanhope Schoolhouse was built in 1876 near its current location, but was destroyed by fire in 1923.

A year later, Charles Werner & Co. – which is now Werner Lumber in Pine Grove – rebuilt the school on its present site along Camp Road.

The school operated until 1952, when students moved to the Pine Grove School District as part of a statewide school consolidation effort.

“They started consolidating and closing one-room schools and moving everyone into a more consolidated school system,” Mills said.

The future of school

Saturday’s event at the school will feature several school alumni who still live in the area.

“We’re thrilled to have Stanhope alumni here,” Mills said. “The school has been closed for 70 years, so these people are in their late 70s and 80s at this point, and we want to make the most of their knowledge and memories, as soon as possible, because their health and memories can give way to age.”

Since the school does not have central heating, Mills plans to run the programs from May to September. During this time, there will be designated days when the school is open to the public; on others, the school will be open by appointment only.

Next year, the school will work with an intern to develop a series of educational programs for school-aged children, particularly home-schooled students.

“I’m glad we got this far,” Mills said.

The Pinegrove Historical Society welcomes new volunteers to help with restoration efforts, which include bell installation, chalkboard installation, landscaping, exterior restoration, and fundraising.

For more information about the Stanhope School, visit pghs-stanhopeschool.org or contact info@pghs-stanhopeschool.org.

Contact the author: hlee@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6085

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