The Little Red Schoolhouse has been connecting Shippensburg University to its educational past since 1970. Located on the west edge of campus along North Earl Street, the schoolhouse is a great illustration of the history of rural education in Pennsylvania.
|This postcard from the 1970s shows the Little Red Schoolhouse in its current home along North Earl Street on the west side of campus.|
Campus leaders first proposed relocating a historical schoolhouse to campus in 1968. As the result of a successful campaign by the Shippensburg State College General Alumni Association, the 1968-1969 Legacy Fund raised $25,000 to fund the project.
A committee organized by the General Alumni Association then located the perfect schoolhouse for the project: The Mount Jackson School, known locally as the Potato Point School. The building sat on farmland located just north of Newburg, owned by Samuel Myers. Myers donated the building to the college for the project.
|The Mount Jackson School at its original location north of Newburg. Some rehabilitation work would be needed during the project to relocate it to the Shippensburg campus.|
|The schoolhouse was located on land owned by Samuel Myers of Newburg.|
Built in 1865, the one-room schoolhouse served students ages 5 through 21 continuously until it closed in 1954. The last teacher at the school was Harold Etter, a Shippensburg graduate. Subjects taught at the school included reading, grammar, arithmetic, geography, history, music and art.
|The interior of the schoolhouse before moving to the Shippensburg campus.|
Crews disassembled the school brick by brick to move it to campus in September 1969. With a new roof, refurbished interior, and a large variety of items donated through the generosity of alumni and friends of Shippensburg, the school was dedicated on May 9, 1970. Donated items included maps, bookcases, desks for students and teacher, books, primers, inkwells, a pot-bellied stove and more.
|The Mount Jackson School during reconstruction on campus.|
|After interior renovations, the schoolhouse was filled with items similar to those that would have been used daily by school students and their teachers. The items were gifts of alumni and friends of the college.|
The Shippensburg community was very excited to welcome the building to campus. It was thought that the Little Red Schoolhouse was a fitting addition to the landmarks on campus because it showcased the basic beginnings of education in Pennsylvania. For much of its history, the university has been concerned primarily with the education of teachers. Many of its graduates taught in rural schools like the Mount Jackson School at some point in their careers.
A museum was set up in the schoolhouse, and student members of the local chapter of the Pennsylvania State Educators' Association gave tours at the schoolhouse daily throughout the 1970s. Teachers at the campus lab school have also taken their elementary school students to the Little Red Schoolhouse to experience a day in the life of students of the past.
The schoolhouse joins several other buildings on campus as being listed as a historic site by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and is marked with a roadside marker.
|This model of the Little Red Schoolhouse was given to Shippensburg University in 1994. It is now housed in Archives & Special Collections.|
Today, Alumni Relations is in charge of the Little Red Schoolhouse, with events and educational programs held there periodically. Shippensburg University Archives & Special Collections has a variety of photos depicting the reconstruction process, the original school, visitors, and tours and events. To see more and schedule an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org